Threads of survival at Halifax Central Library

A powerful and moving collection of textiles and handmade quilts documenting the COVID-19 pandemic, is now on display at Halifax Central Library.

The Threads of Survival exhibition features a selection of quilts and textile pieces produced during the COVID lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.

The project began in August 2020, where people were invited to sew their stories and experiences of pandemic life and to reflect on the importance of the NHS in our lives. In the true tradition of community quilting the exhibition features work from both professional artists and first-time quilters.

The project is led by national campaign organisation, 999 Call for the NHS, and features 28 quilts made by 140 people from West and South Yorkshire, as well as Birmingham, County Durham, East Anglia, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Somerset and Surrey.

The exhibition comes to Halifax as part of a nationwide tour that has seen the quilts visiting locations across the country, including Gawthorpe Hall in Burnley, the Royal Museum in Truro and Dewsbury Minster. After Halifax it will be moving to Rotherham Minster, in April.

More than two years after the start of the Threads of Survival project, 999 Call for the NHS is still facilitating the creation of powerful textile pieces and quilts which tell people’s stories of life during COVID and their feelings about the NHS. The latest quilts respond to the question, “Where are we at now?”’

Threads of Survival is available to view during library opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10am to 5.30pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm. It will be on display until Friday 14 April 2023.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Councillor Jenny Lynn, said: “The COVID pandemic and associated lockdowns affected everyone in different ways, and this innovative project documents the experiences of people around the country during this moment in history.”

“We’re pleased to be able to bring the exhibition to the Central Library in Halifax. Each panel of the colourful quilts tells a different story and it’s fascinating to view the artwork and technical skills which are contained in the quilts.”

Steven Carne, Chair of 999 Call for the NHS who led the development of the project said:

“We’ve had a fantastic response from our first exhibitions and the collection is growing every month. We think people will be blown away with the diverse themes and images. Our month at the British Textile Biennial in 2021 resulted in tears, laughter and even arguments in front of the quilts. It’s not for the faint-hearted.”

Historic Scunthorpe Chapel Goes Under The Hammer

The former Methodist chapel in Ealand near Scunthorpe is to go under the hammer next month as part of an online property auction held by Sheffield firm Mark Jenkinson, which is now part of the Eddisons property group.

The chapel, which was built in 1882 and was a place of worship for over 130 years, has been given a £200,000 guide price in the 4 April auction.

Standing on a 0.3 acre site, the 1,600 sq ft building is a landmark property in the village and has potential for conversion into residential or other uses according to the auctioneer.

Mark Jenkinson director, Adrian Little, said: “This is such an attractive building which carries with it a lot of history, making it a unique property in the village. Planning consent would of course need to be gained by any prospective buyer but there are multiple imaginative new uses the chapel could be put to and it would be great to see it gain a new lease of life.”

He added: “Ealand is a sought-after location, set in the North Lincolnshire countryside, close to both Scunthorpe and Doncaster and with Crowle train station on the doorstep as well as superb motorway links. Not surprisingly our team have already had significant interest in this historic property.”

University Appoints New Chair Of Council

The University has announced that Dr Alice Maynard CBE will be the new Chair of its governing body.

The University’s Council is responsible for the development and overall performance of the University, with the Chair setting out a challenging but supportive environment to enable senior leadership teams to deliver against its institutional strategy.


Alice brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in senior leadership positions in both the public and private sectors.

An experienced non-executive director and trustee, Alice is currently a Non-Executive Director at the Financial Conduct Authority and until recently, held similar roles at the HMRC as well as Transport for London, where she was also Chair of its Independent Disability Advisory Group.

In addition to her extensive experience in leadership and governance, Alice is also a highly regarded expert in the field of disability rights, having been recognised with a CBE for her services to disabled people.


She is founder and Director of Future Inclusion, an organisation working to encourage good governance, inclusive practice and ethical business. Prior to this, Alice forged a career in IT and was also Head of Disability Strategy for Network Rail. She was also Chair of the UK’s leading disability equality charity, Scope, from 2008 – 2014.

Alice graduated from the University of York with a BA in Languages, and also holds an MBA and a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA).

Since graduating, she continues to support York’s fundraising efforts and received an honorary degree from the University in 2014 for her role in championing inclusivity and access. Until recently, Alice also served on the advisory board of the University’s new School for Business and Society.


Alice said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to contribute to an organisation that has a really strong sense of ambition and purpose.”

“For anyone choosing to pursue higher education, it can be truly transformational, with university research and education helping build a society that is strong, resilient and innovative in its thinking.”

“Taking on the role of Chair of Council – and working in higher education – will be a new experience for me, but one which I will relish with York.”

Public Good

The Chair of Council does not become involved in the day-to-day executive management of the University, which is the responsibility of the Vice-Chancellor.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Charlie Jeffery, said: “We welcome Alice to York to be our new Chair of Council. The appointment panel identified her as being highly personable, pragmatic and passionate about the role universities can play.”

“This certainly resonates with York’s public good mission, through her unstinting commitment to inclusion and how she has championed this for the benefit of others.”

“With Alice’s experience, expertise and values, she is an ideal leader for the Council as our governing body and trustee board.”


Alice begins her tenure as Chair of Council on 1 August 2023, and joined Council as an independent member in the first instance in early March 2023.

The University has also expressed its gratitude to outgoing Chair, Denise Jagger, for her invaluable contribution to the University’s governance over the past 10 years, including the last five years as Chair of Council.

Fostering Mother Provides A Home For Life

Debbie Pike has been fostering for more than 10 years, and this Mother’s Day she wants to educate more people about fostering in the hope that others will consider stepping forward to change a child’s life.

Alongside husband Nick, Debbie is currently caring for two young people, both in their teens, who have been in the couple’s care for more than 10 years.

The couple’s own children fled the nest, Debbie sold her business, and they decided to start fostering with the help of a little bit of encouragement from two friends who were already foster parents.

One of the young people Debbie cares for, Ellie, is now 18. Debbie said: “I genuinely believe in ‘nurture over nature’. It’s completely true in Ellie’s case. You can make all the difference in their outlook on life.”

Debbie and Nick have been supported every step of the way on her fostering journey, and her foster children really are now just like her own.

Debbie said: “My birth daughter has always accepted Ellie and her brother as siblings. Even though there’s a massive age gap – because my daughter’s forty this year – she thinks of Ellie as her little sister. She never refers to her as her ‘foster sister’ – it’s always ‘my sister’.”

One of the things that Debbie has noticed is that although there are similarities to raising her own children, fostering has presented different challenges due to the history of the children she cares for.

Debbie said: “I’m quite protective and I’ve been called a lioness because I will fight for my children. It was obviously different in the beginning because I knew my children from birth and I knew what they’d been through.”

Debbie acknowledges that fostering doesn’t come without its difficulties, but she fully believes that ‘nurture over nature’ can transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

She said: “I could sit and cry for both of them having learnt about what they have been through, and sometimes I do.”

“I feel so privileged that they have been able to open up and disclose some of the things that they went through.”

Debbie believes there is work to be done in educating people about what foster care involves and how rewarding it can be, she said: “Campaigns like the John Lewis Christmas one which really celebrate foster care are just wonderful. We need more people to welcome these vulnerable children and young people into their homes.”

“Since we started fostering all those years ago, while there can be difficult days, we honestly haven’t looked back since.”

If you would like to find out more about Orange Grove Foster Care or how to become a foster parent, visit the website here.

Live Theatre To The Yorkshire Wolds

An East brewery is bringing live theatre to the Yorkshire Wolds with an alternative take on Shakespeare.

Touring company 440 Theatre will visit Wold Newton based Wold Top Brewery on 28th July to deliver a performance of Shakespeare with a difference.

As part of a double bill, the troupe of four actors will be performing Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet in one evening. Act One sees the 440 team wrestle with a side-splitting Macbeth, followed by an outrageous take on Rot in Act Two.

“We can’t wait to see two of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies transformed into comedies. 440 have been delighting audiences up and down the country with their fast-paced, in-your-face productions that offer an alternative take on some of the world’s most famous plays,” said Wold Top director Kate Balchin.

440 director Dom Gee-Burch said: “Stripping the narrative to its core, we keep the essence of Shakespeare’s words alive to help his magnificent stories shine at the heart of our shows. Anarchy is equally balanced with a safe and family-friendly environment.”

“Our Shakespeare Double Bills are quintessentially British in their style of comedy. It’s pantomime meets theatre in the park, and we can’t wait to bring it to the Yorkshire Wolds for our first performance at a brewery!”

The performance will take place outdoors, with a contingency of bringing it indoors in case of inclement weather.

The live theatre night is one of a series of events throughout the year, including a charity quiz, a beer festival and an open day to celebrate the brewery’s 20th anniversary.

Wold Top was founded in 2003 and is located on the Mellor family farm at Hunmanby Grange near Filey. The team uses home-grown barley and water from the farm’s borehole to produce a range of award-winning cask, keg and bottled beers available throughout Yorkshire and nationwide.

440 Theatre was formed to provide live-action Shakespeare that educates and entertains in as little as 40 minutes. In 2021 they received Arts Council England support to help develop their production of Macbeth that toured nationally and inspired the Shakespeare Double Bills.

Driffield Singer To Perform At Whisky Distillery

Driffield singer, songwriter and guitarist Andy Stones has been wooed out of semi-retirement to perform at Spirit of Yorkshire’s next Distillery Session on 29th April.

“Back out of ‘retirement’, we’re extremely excited to welcome the wonderful Andy Stones back to the Pot Still Coffee Shop stage. Writing and playing on and off for 20 years, he’s picked up varied influences along the way from people such as Paul Simon, John Martyn and Clive Gregson, but his style is very much his own. He’ll be playing a mix of covers and his own writing, and we can’t wait to be singing along again,” said Spirit of Yorkshire marketing director Jenni Ashwood.

Spirit of Yorkshire co-founders Tom Mellor and David Thompson share a love of live music and designed the Pot Still Coffee Shop to accommodate a live band without overpowering the room.

Seating just 40, the Pot Still Coffee Shop at the Spirit of Yorkshire is a small, intimate venue that attracts lovers of live music and good food.

Forthcoming events at the Pot Still Coffee Shop at The Spirit of Yorkshire include more Distillery Sessions and the annual Distillery Open Day on 29th July.

Tours of the Distillery, home to Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky, Filey Bay, are available seven days a week. Home-made refreshments are served in the Pot Still Coffee Shop that overlooks the stills from 9.30 am – 4 pm Monday – Saturday and 10 am – 3 pm Sundays.

Underpin Sports Secures Deal With Clutch Pro Tour

Leeds-based golf mental performance coaching company Underpin Sports has signed an exclusive partnership with the international Clutch Pro Tour – a feeder to both the Challenge and DP World Tours.

The partnership highlights the growing importance of mental strength within golf at the highest level and will ensure an increasing number of elite amateur and professional golfers competing on this season’s tour will access mental performance coaching through Underpin Sports.

Several rising stars, competing on this year’s Clutch Tour, are already benefitting from the firm’s mental performance coaching with improved results, including Ben Rhodes from Leeds who turned professional early last year and is a member of Headingley Golf Club.

Underpin Sports’ team of mental performance coaches, led by Greg Robertson, work with players beneath the surface, challenging them to learn and understand how to get the best out of themselves and their game.

The partnership is in response to the growing pressures and expectations on players competing on the Clutch Tour, which showcases up-and-coming talent across the golfing world and provides playing opportunities for the next generation of professional golfers. It attracts some of Europe’s best players with guaranteed £15,000 winner cheques and prize pots totalling £100,000.

Tom Hayward, director of the Clutch Tour, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Underpin, as mental performance coaching support is key to the development of players on the tour and vital to helping them reach their full potential.”

“Competing in any sport at the top level not only requires skill, but it also relies on strong mental focus to perform consistently against the best players in the world. The partnership is integral to the future of the tour in helping players cope with very high-pressure situations, particularly those in the early stages of their career.”

Greg Robertson, founder and mental performance coach at Underpin Sports, said: “We see this unique partnership as an excellent opportunity to help even more Clutch Tour players become calmer and more focused in competitive environments and allow their best performances to come through.”

“By teaming up with the tour, we’re raising the profile of mental performance coaching amongst players who may not have considered such support before or known where to turn for it. This presents a chance for us to collaborate with them on a one-to-one bespoke basis and also provide access to group introductory online sessions exclusively for Clutch Tour members. Both designed to help them to develop the mental strength and resilience needed to succeed at the highest levels of the sport.”

US Investment For Harrison Spinks

Luxury British bedmaker Harrison Spinks has invested in a new distribution centre in Los Angeles – its first ever US facility – which will stock four of its most popular British-made mattresses for clients across North America.

The 180-year-old, fifth-generation family business, which manufactures all its handmade 100% natural mattresses and beds in Yorkshire, England, has made a significant six-figure investment in the LA facility to benefit customers in the United States.

Harrison Spinks, UK Bed Manufacturer of the Year at the 2022 National Bed Federation Awards, has made the investment following growth in the region, and the new facility will significantly reduce delivery lead times from three months to around two weeks.

It is a significant milestone for the brand which first launched into the North American market in 2021.

This distribution centre will facilitate an upgraded US stocking programme which will hold its Euston, Northumberland, Leicester and Strand mattresses, luxury enhancers and divan beds.

The British family bedmaker offers handmade mattresses that are 100% recyclable and free from harmful chemicals while being naturally fire retardant, and include a glue-free spring system made with ultra-fine wire pocket springs for superior comfort. Products start life on the company’s 300-acre farm in the English countryside, where sheep are reared on rich, untreated pastures and hemp and flax crops are grown on fertile fields without pesticides.

Scott Hollis, North America Sales Manager at Harrison Spinks, said: “When we launched into the market here in North America, our aim was to grow and expand across the country. Now we have achieved growth and brand awareness, we’re now doubling-down on distribution times so that our US customers can enjoy a better night’s sleep much faster than before.”

“This facility is incredibly significant within our business plan, as it ensures our brand is much stronger within the country and more competitive, as customers can now have premium comfort with less wait times.”

“It also greatly benefits our stockists along the West Coast of the United States, as we can now offer our beds to them with an extremely competitive lead time. We have plans to open more distribution centres as we continue to grow our independent retailer offering within the USA and Canada.”

The facility is leased in partnership with logistics specialists, Rhenus Group, which Harrison Spinks is working with to provide this brand-new distribution service to its US customers.

Oak National Academy Award To Develop Science In Schools

Researchers at the University of York have been awarded £1.4 million to develop online science materials for schools.

The University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) and the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC), part of the Department of Chemistry at York, will work together to develop lesson resources for teachers and pupils covering the primary and secondary science curriculum in England, age 5-16.

Working with the Oak National Academy, the curriculum resources will draw on the expertise and work of both groups and will be developed by members of UYSEG’s Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST) project team and CIEC, working with expert science teachers across the country.


The materials will support teachers to engage in evidence-informed practice, to improve and develop resources, a current key Government initiative in education.

Professor Judith Bennett, Department of Education and part of UYSEG, at the University of York, said: “The provision of high-quality digital resources, built around a well-structured curriculum, and underpinned by the best educational research, will be an invaluable resource for use in science classrooms.”

UYSEG aims to support science education through the development and evaluation of curriculum resources that translate science education research into practical classroom resources, as well as producing research that influences policy and improves training and support for education practitioners.

Knowledge and skills

Joy Parvin, Director of CIEC said: ”As well as developing a full suite of resources for Key Stages 1 and 2, we will be collaborating with our secondary colleagues to smooth transition from Key Stage 2 to 3, thus building on the knowledge and skills children have gained during their primary years.”

The CIEC team of six primary science specialists and dedicated science education researchers, engage in a wide range of primary science initiatives, nationally and internationally, focusing on the development of primary science resources and the delivery of continuing professional development.


Professor Paul Wakeling, Head of the Department of Education, said “The project builds on a long and distinguished tradition of research and curriculum-focussed work in science education at York which helps science teachers to improve pupils’ learning”

Matt Hood, Chief Executive of Oak National Academy, said: “Every part of the education sector – from trusts to publishers to subject associations – are part of this collaboration, forming a coalition of top-tier expertise. It means teachers will have access to some of the smartest curriculum thinking and resource design on tap, something they have told us they want.”

“Our subject expert groups are a truly diverse mix of classroom teachers and subject experts from across the sector and have a vital role in providing feedback on our curricula and resources as they are developed to make sure they meet the needs of teachers whatever their school and context.”

New Maritime Themes Added To The Awakening Programme

This weekend The Awakening returns to Hull, lighting up our heritage-rich streets ready to say goodbye to winter and welcome in spring.

On 17 and 18 March, Hull city centre will come alive with work and performances from local, national and international artists.

For those travelling into the city centre, you can expect areas around Queens Gardens, Whitefriargate, Trinity Square and Zebedee’s Yard to be illuminated with wondrous installations and performance.

You can also explore the indoors through Ferens Art Gallery which will be open 6pm – 10pm both evenings for their permanent exhibitions and for an Awakening exclusive installation, and Trinity Market will also be open both nights for special editions of Trinity Live from 6pm – 9pm.

There have been some exciting new additions to the programme since the last update, with a further focus on Hull’s maritime connections both past and present. The Awakening is presented by Freedom Festival Arts Trust with one of the key partnerships being Hull Maritime who help shape how the producers plan to spotlight Hull’s maritime connections.

Local favourite, Andy Train will be taking to the streets as The Docker, which featured as part of the World Champion Living Statue trio ‘Three in a Boat’ as part of the Awakening in 2022. The characters represented some of the seafaring industries that shaped the city over the centuries and were a favourite with families and passers-by.

Another iconic Hull landmark will be joining in the activities. As Hull’s historical floating lightship, the Spurn Lightship has returned to its rightful place on Hull Marina and its new lighting will shine light on Hull’s current connection to our rivers and sea during The Awakening.

Organisers Freedom Festival Arts Trust encourage visitors to make use of their website for any travel and access information before the event.

On-site Guides are available at community centres and local businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire, and are also available at Central Library, Hull Station’s Info Pod and the Back To Ours Bransholme Chat at Northpoint Shopping Centre.

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