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Charity looking for 50 ‘Literacy Champions’ from across Bradford’s communities

BRADFORD residents from all the district’s diverse communities have been asked to volunteer to help boost young people’s literacy levels.

The National Literacy Trust is looking for 50 Literary Champions who will help deliver literacy activities in their local communities.

The charity is hoping to find volunteers who reflect Bradford’s diverse communities – a new focus for the Trust’s work in Bradford. They also want people from as many different areas of the district as possible.

It is part of the charity’s Bradford Stories campaign, supported by Bradford Council, and aims to raise literacy levels through a range of projects and activities to promote reading, writing and storytelling.

A recent study from the Trust and Experian found that Bradford was a “high risk” area for literacy issues.

Bradford East is ranked 36 out of 533 constituencies in England for “literacy vulnerability”, where 1 is the most in need of literacy support. Bradford East, South and West constituencies are in the top 15 per cent of greatest literacy vulnerability in the country.

Last year, 43 per cent of children in Bradford left primary school unable to read at the expected level for their age.

The volunteers will be given training and support to help them create and deliver activities to boost literacy in their communities.

Projects that could be taken up by the Literacy Champions include setting up reading groups for adults or children, planning literacy-based outings or competitions, or helping families get involved with their local library or children’s centre.

Imran Hafeez, manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford, said: “Local people know their community and the issues facing it better than anyone.

“We need your help to reach the people in Bradford who need help the most. Anyone can be a Literacy Champion – whether you’re a parent, business professional, teacher, student, sports coach or just passionate about making a difference in your local area.

“We want to hear from you.”

The Trust set up its Bradford Hub in 2014 with a view to improving the district’s lower-than-average literacy levels.

Initially the hub was set up for three years, but in November a £197,000 grant from Bradford-based supermarket Morrisons secured the scheme’s future for at least another year.

The Bradford scheme has recently been relaunched at Bradford Stories with an increased focus on the district’s heritage and communities.

Schemes carried out by the Trust in the district in recent years have included events at the Bradford Literature Festival, campaigns to get more fathers reading to their children and high-profile writing contests.

There have also been projects aimed at getting more boys reading.

To get more information about becoming a Literacy Champion, or to sign up to become one, visit literacytrust.org.uk/literacychampions or email bradford@literacytrust.org.uk.

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Charity looking for 50 ‘Literary Champions’ from across Bradford’s communities

BRADFORD residents from all the district’s diverse communities have been asked to volunteer to help boost young people’s literacy levels.

The National Literacy Trust is looking for 50 Literary Champions who will help deliver literacy activities in their local communities.

The charity is hoping to find volunteers who reflect Bradford’s diverse communities – a new focus for the Trust’s work in Bradford. They also want people from as many different areas of the district as possible.

It is part of the charity’s Bradford Stories campaign, supported by Bradford Council, and aims to raise literacy levels through a range of projects and activities to promote reading, writing and storytelling.

A recent study from the Trust and Experian found that Bradford was a “high risk” area for literacy issues.

Bradford East is ranked 36 out of 533 constituencies in England for “literacy vulnerability”, where 1 is the most in need of literacy support. Bradford East, South and West constituencies are in the top 15 per cent of greatest literacy vulnerability in the country.

Last year, 43 per cent of children in Bradford left primary school unable to read at the expected level for their age.

The volunteers will be given training and support to help them create and deliver activities to boost literacy in their communities.

Projects that could be taken up by the Literacy Champions include setting up reading groups for adults or children, planning literacy-based outings or competitions, or helping families get involved with their local library or children’s centre.

Imran Hafeez, manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford, said: “Local people know their community and the issues facing it better than anyone.

“We need your help to reach the people in Bradford who need help the most. Anyone can be a Literacy Champion – whether you’re a parent, business professional, teacher, student, sports coach or just passionate about making a difference in your local area.

“We want to hear from you.”

The Trust set up its Bradford Hub in 2014 with a view to improving the district’s lower-than-average literacy levels.

Initially the hub was set up for three years, but in November a £197,000 grant from Bradford-based supermarket Morrisons secured the scheme’s future for at least another year.

The Bradford scheme has recently been relaunched at Bradford Stories with an increased focus on the district’s heritage and communities.

Schemes carried out by the Trust in the district in recent years have included events at the Bradford Literature Festival, campaigns to get more fathers reading to their children and high-profile writing contests.

There have also been projects aimed at getting more boys reading.

To get more information about becoming a Literacy Champion, or to sign up to become one, visit literacytrust.org.uk/literacychampions or email bradford@literacytrust.org.uk.

£350,000 refurb pins hope of successful strike on bowling centre

BRADFORD’S Hollywood Bowl has undergone a £350,000 refurbishment.

The redesigned “new generation” centre based at the Leisure Exchange, in Vicar Lane, includes a new Hollywood Diner, where customers are able to choose from a menu of American classics such as gourmet burgers and hotdogs, and freshly-made shakes served in retro milk bottles.

The diner sits alongside a brand new American-style bar serving house speciality cocktails.

The centre’s amusement area has also been transformed and features the latest industry leading games such as Jurassic Park, MOTO GP Bikes, Space Invaders and Grand Piano, alongside retro games like Crossy Road and traditional crane games.

There is now the opportunity to ‘Play for Prizes’, where customers can collect tickets won on their favourite games and exchange them for goodies.

The refurbishment has led to the creation of 10 new roles.

Shabana Saddiqu, centre manager of Hollywood Bowl Bradford, said: “This is a massively exciting time.

“We’ve had a makeover that befits our glamorous name. With the arrival of a brand-new diner and updated amusements, Hollywood Bowl Bradford is a whole new entertainment haven, and the perfect place for the entire family to enjoy together.

“We can’t wait for both old and new customers to see the new-look centre.”

Any of the centre’s 28 additional lanes can also be pre-booked, with lots of different areas to hang out in the diner and bar area, before or after bowling.

Adults can bowl in their own shoes providing they are flat and soled.

The refurbishment has also brought the arrival of three new pool tables.

The centre will be holding its official VIP opening night celebrations on Thursday, January 25.

Hollywood Bowl is part of The Hollywood Bowl Group with 58 centres operating under the Hollywood Bowl, AMF Bowling and Bowlplex brands.

Teen trapped under bike in Cleckheaton crash

Woman seen walking along hard shoulder of the M62

Brexit: UK in Erasmus student scheme until at least 2020

University graduatesImage copyright PA

The UK will continue to take part in the Erasmus student exchange programme until at least the end of 2020, the prime minister has said.

Theresa May praised Erasmus+ and confirmed the UK would still be involved after Brexit in March 2019.

Whether it is involved long term is among issues likely to be discussed during the next stage of negotiations.

Erasmus+ sees students study in another European country for between three and 12 months as part of their degree.

The prime minister is in Brussels where she will have dinner with EU leaders on Thursday.

On Friday, without Mrs May, they are expected to formally approve a recommendation that “sufficient progress” has been made in Brexit negotiations so far to move them onto the next stage.

Mrs May agreed a draft deal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last week which would mean the UK would continue its funding of EU projects, including Erasmus, until the end of this EU budget period in 2020.

If EU leaders approve the draft deal, Brexit negotiations can begin on the next phase, covering the future relationship between the UK and EU and a two-year transition or implementation deal from March 2019. It is not clear whether this would include Erasmus+.

Mrs May said that British students benefitted from studying in the EU while UK universities were a popular choice for European students.

Speaking during a discussion on education and culture at the summit in Brussels, she added: “I welcome the opportunity to provide clarity to young people and the education sector and reaffirm our commitment to the deep and special relationship we want to build with the EU.”

Son murdered mother and set her on fire

William KellyImage copyright Spindrift
Image caption William Kelly murdered his mother at their home in Kilmarnock after she embarrassed him at a family party.

A son has been found guilty of murdering his 71-year-old mother by dousing her in petrol and setting her on fire.

William Kelly, 42, shouted “die, die” as his mother Cathy Kelly was engulfed in flames at their home last February.

During the brutal attack he answered a call in a silly voice pretending to be a worker in an Indian restaurant.

After the blaze Kelly’s only concern was the safety of his West Highland terrier Poppy.

He is now facing a life sentence when he hears his fate next month.

Throughout his trial Kelly denied murdering his mother at the home they shared at Kilmaurs Road, Kilmarnock, on 11 February.

He said he had never hit his mother and claimed she had been set on fire by accident.

He told the court he was cleaning a car part in the garage and spilt petrol on his trousers and trainers. Kelly claimed that as he bent over his mother as she lay on the living room floor he lit a cigarette and there was a blue flash.

But the jury heard that there was no trail of petrol from the garage into the living room.

Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Eleanor Banks saw Kelly pour petrol on his mother

They were also told by a fire expert that if the fire had happened as Kelly claimed he would have been much more badly injured.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow was told that minutes before the fire Kelly had violently punched and kicked his mother leaving her lying face down on the living room floor.

After finishing the call Kelly went back and further assaulted his defenceless mother – who always referred to him as “ma boy”.

‘Distressing and sad’

Yesterday after deliberating for 90 minutes the jury unanimously convicted Kelly of murdering his mother.

He showed no emotion as he was led away to the cells.

Judge Lady Stacey told the jurors: “What you have had to listen to has been distressing and sad.”

The court heard that Kelly was raging because his mother had embarrassed him at a 21st birthday party by drinking too much.

He ordered his mother and his then partner Eleanor Banks to leave and called a taxi.

When they returned home around 11pm he dragged his mother by the arms into the house after she fell as she got out the taxi.

Kelly then punched and kicked the helpless OAP on the head and body in the living room of their home.

Image caption Catherine Kelly died in the fire at her Kilmarnock home

Mrs Banks, 44, told prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC: “William was emptying a petrol can onto his mum – all over her – and I couldn’t stop him.

“I was standing screaming ‘You’re going to kill your mum’ and he was saying ‘die’ The liquid smelled like petrol.

“He went down and he set fire at the bottom of her legs.

“She just went up like an inferno. I’ve never seen anything like it. In the blink of an eye she was on fire.”

‘Two black eyes for Christmas’

A pathologist said that Cathy suffered bruising, broken ribs and second degree burns to 45% to her body. She also had a cut to her tongue and bruised lips.

Forensic scientists revealed that the top Cathy was wearing that night was saturated in petrol.

Jurors heard that Cathy was recovering from a brain haemorrhage which she suffered in December 2016 and it was alleged that this was caused by beatings inflicted by Kelly.

Kelly boasted in a text sent in early December 2016 of wanting to give his mother “two black eyes for Christmas.”

Det Ch Insp Allan Burton of Police Scotland‘s Major Investigation Team said: “This was a challenging case involving several emergency services and agencies working together to establish and interpret the facts from what was a very complex crime scene.

“My thoughts today are with the family and I would particularly like to recognise the bravery of those family members who had to stand up and provide testimony in court.

“It has been a very difficult time for them over the past few months and I hope they can find some comfort in the verdict today.

“I would also like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the officers involved in this investigation as well as the Scottish Fire Service’s Investigation Officers, whose reports and testimony greatly assisted in this case.”

Dick Whittington panto jokes ‘too smutty’ for children

Panto posterImage copyright Manchester Opera House
Image caption The theatre said there was no intention to offend

A mum has called for a “lewd and offensive” pantomime starring the Krankies and former Doctor Who star John Barrowman to be axed.

Natalie Wood has made an official complaint about Dick Whittington at Manchester Opera House, saying it was “too smutty” for children.

During the show, she said, Barrowman fondled co-star Janette Krankie’s breasts, and also invited audience members to chant “Alice loves Dick”.

The venue said no offence was intended.

‘Finger through flies’

Ms Wood, who attended the show with 10 family members – including six children aged three to 12 – told the BBC the show crossed the line from innuendo to “raw” vulgarity.

Among the moments she took issue with was one where Wee Jimmy Krankie, played by Janette Krankie, poked her finger out of her trousers, emulating a penis.

“The main issue for us was the actual fondling of Jimmy Krankie’s breasts and all the different cheap smutty jokes,” she said.

“Normally we share the jokes from the show afterwards – these kind of jokes you would have to discourage the children from repeating and or acting out,” she said.

In her letter, she said her children had copied some of the jokes in the show.

“My children were repeating Alice loves Dick and sticking their fingers out of their trousers for a pretend penis throughout the evening.

“This is not acceptable and my children required far too much explaining about adult humour for a family show.”

Image caption Natalie Wood said the panto crossed the boundaries of humour
Image copyright Natalie Wood
Image caption Natalie Wood went to the show with 10 family members

Promoters Qdos Entertainment said: “In-keeping with the tradition of pantomime, the script does make use of double entendre and part of that is a play on the names of the characters.

“None of the humour within the show is intended to cause offence of any kind.”

Pantomime authority Roy Hudd, who has starred, written or directed in more than 50 festive productions, said there was a place for innuendo but they “should be aimed at the children”.

“You cannot do rude jokes, my yardstick for writing gags is Laurel and Hardy or Dad’s Army who made adults and children laugh,” he said.

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The Krankies – husband and wife team Ian and Janette Tough – made their name as children’s TV stars in the 80s on BBC TV‘s Crackerjack.

Now semi-retired, the pair still appear in pantomimes, and have previously joined Barrowman, who came to fame in Doctor Who as Captain Jack Harkness and spin-off series Torchwood, on stage.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption John Barrowman’s show was said to be in keeping with the panto tradition by the theatre

Britain First’s Jayda Fransen in court over Belfast speech

Jayda Fransen ARRIVES AT COURTImage copyright Press Eye
Image caption Jayda Fransen, 31, arrives at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning

The deputy leader of far-right group Britain First has appeared in a Belfast court over a speech she gave in the city.

Jayda Fransen, 31, of Beeches Close, Anerly in London, faces two charges relating to behaviour that is intended to or likely to stir up hatred.

The charges stem from a speech made in August. Her defence lawyer indicated she will plead not guilty.

Earlier, the leader of Britain First was arrested outside the courtroom.

Paul Golding, 35, was accompanying Ms Fransen to her court appearance when he was arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The police confirmed that they had arrested a 35-year-old man as part of their investigation into the “Northern Ireland Against Terrorism” rally in August.

Ms Fransen appeared in the dock at Belfast Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and spoke only to confirm that she understood the charges.

She was due to return to court on 9 January, but, before she left to return to London, police and prosecutors sought to have her banned from taking part in public rallies.

A detective told the court that a “Free Speech for Jayda” rally was planned to take place last weekend and was postponed because of snow.

“We have concerns there would be further offences and also concerns about public order,” the detective said.

The judge adjourned the case until later on Thursday in order to hear more information before imposing any bail conditions.

Concern over ‘remote supervision’ of offenders by phone

The inside of a prisonImage copyright PA

Thousands of offenders given community sentences are being supervised via a phone call every six weeks, the chief probation inspector has said.

In a report, Dame Glenys Stacey said widespread use of the practice in England and Wales was “not acceptable”.

The findings also revealed some junior probation officers had 200 cases at once. Dame Glenys said poor supervision was “a risk to the public”.

The government said supervision by phone was only for low-risk cases.

But it acknowledged that improvements were needed to raise the standard of probation services.

The government’s probation reforms, known as Transforming Rehabilitation, launched three years ago and split offender supervision between a state-run service and 21 privately-operated companies.

It created the National Probation Service (NPS) to deal with high-risk offenders, while Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) were assigned low and medium-risk cases.

‘Two-tier system’

An offender given a community sentence may be required to undertake unpaid work or attend a government-sanctioned programme.

In her annual report, Dame Glenys said the government’s probation reforms had created a “two-tier and fragmented” system in which the private companies were “struggling” and she questioned whether the probation system could “deliver sufficiently well”.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dame Glenys Stacey became the chief probation inspector in March 2016

It revealed some offenders were only met once before being placed on “remote supervision” by private probation providers.

That could amount to no more than a telephone call every six weeks, with no further face-to-face meetings taking place.

Inspectors said the calls were little more than “checking in” and made it difficult to assess any change in the risk posed to the public.

These arrangements are allowed under the terms of the contracts, but the report emphasised that face-to-face work was vital.

It also found that inexperienced probation staff were responsible for monitoring 200 offenders each, when the recommended maximum number is 60.

Dame Glenys said: “I find it inexplicable that, under the banner of innovation, these developments were allowed.

“We should all be concerned, given the rehabilitation opportunities missed, and the risks to the public if individuals are not supervised well.”

Jacob Tas, chief executive of social justice charity Nacro, said there had been almost daily reports of problems and called for the government to act “urgently” to address failings.

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Analysis

Image copyright Getty Images

By BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw

It is hard to see this report as anything other than a damning indictment of the probation reforms introduced in 2014, by Chris Grayling, when he was justice secretary.

The 113-page document details how the privatised part of the new system simply is not functioning properly, with unmanageable caseloads and supervision-by-phone the most glaring examples.

The significance of these failings should not be under-estimated.

Successful rehabilitation hinges on having a relationship of trust between offender and probation officer. That is exceptionally difficult if they are not in regular face-to-face contact.

The findings will also do little to inspire confidence in community sentences at a time when the government is encouraging judges and magistrates to consider non-custodial alternatives to the more costly option of imprisonment.

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