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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds community testing programme



A major new testing programme has been launched for residents in Leeds in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Around one in three people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and will spread it without realising.

Now, to stop this risk by finding new cases, Leeds City Council is offering a number of options across the city for residents to take part in community testing. These are as follows:

• A home ordering service - https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.
• Collection at a local test site during specific test collection time windows - https://www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site.
• Pharmacies offering home test collection - https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/.
• Community testing sites at Armley Community Hub & Library, 2 Stocks Hill, Armley, LS12 1UQ; City Centre Community Hub, Woodhouse Lane, LS2 8LX; Deacon House Centre, Seacroft Avenue, Leeds, LS14 6JD; Dewsbury Road Community Hub & Library, 190 Dewsbury Road, LS11 6PF; Halton Library, 273 Selby Road, LS15 7JR; The Compton Centre Community Hub & Library, Harehills Lane, Harehills, LS9 7BG; and The Reginald Centre, Chapeltown Road, Leeds, LS7 3EX. Opening hours 10am to 4pm Mon to Fri and 10am to 1pm Saturday except City Centre Community Hub which doesn’t open Saturdays.
• Testing on-site at Leeds Beckett University - City Campus LS1 3HE (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 2pm) Headingley Campus LS6 3QS (Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm).

Residents should have two tests during a week-long period. Please note this community testing is only for people with NO SYMPTOMS. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and book a test.

Public health leaders in the city hope as many residents as possible will take part in the new initiative to protect both themselves and others.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health, said: “We’ve launched this initiative to help drive down transmission rates. Increased community testing is a vital additional tool at our disposal to help identify those who are infected and infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and breaking chains of transmission.

“I’d encourage as many asymptomatic residents as possible to take advantage of this new service. By doing so, they’ll not only be protecting themselves, but also all those around them.”

For full details of all COVID-19 testing options in Leeds please visit https://www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-where-to-go-for-testing/.



A dad-of-two who beat cancer as a teen has landed a job at the hospital which saved his life - and is raising thousands of pounds to treat poorly kids.

Tom Benton, 37, was forced to learn to walk again after spending years of his teenage life in hospital fighting a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

He began his two-year stay on the ward at Sheffield Children's Hospital aged 14 - before undergoing three years further treatment for his acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

After five years of hospital visits - including intense bouts of chemotherapy - Tom went into remission and has gone on to live a full life.

Now he has landed himself a job at the hospital he thanks for saving him.

He has also pledged to run for 1,400 minutes - one minute for every child diagnosed with the cancer in the UK each year - to raise money for a new cancer ward at the hospital.

Tom, from Sheffield, said: "I’m always wanting to better myself and do the best for my family.

"But I can’t say I wasn’t a little emotional and reflective of the time I spent there as a child and how working there would let me pay the trust back a little for the amazing work they do today and the amazing treatment they gave to me and my family."

In October 1998, Tom's mum Liz, 62, and dad Glyn, 64, were told the devastating news their 14-year-old son had leukaemia.

It is caused by a genetic mutation which releases immature white blood cells into the blood stream. It progresses with speed and aggression, requiring immediate treatment.

Until the 1960s childhood leukaemia was incurable.

The family spent the next five years in and out of hospital before Tom entered remission in 2001.

Recalling his diagnosis Tom said: “I was very tired. I had aches, pains and a platelet rash all over my body.

"The treatment involved large doses of chemotherapy, which made me really sick.

“I was very down so I wouldn’t get out of bed or see anyone. This led to my leg muscle wasting away and I had to build it back up to walk again.

“I remember a Sheffield Wednesday player visited the ward and sat with me for ages. It brought me around and gave me the urge to kick on.

“The staff on the ward were amazing too and very accommodating, allowing one of my parents to stay with me for most of the time.

"Although it was a hospital ward and a really sad time in my life, I remember feeling calm and at ease whenever I was there."

Tom was eventually discharged in 2001 and has gone on start a life wife Kelly, 34, and kids Rose, five, and one-year-old Joni.

Now, 22 years later, Tom has landed himself a job at the hospital in e-systems - monitoring data and administration.

Tom added: “I’ve always liked the idea of raising money for the cancer and leukaemia ward and then I saw a post on social media about the new ward, so I jumped at the thought.

“The ward was very basic, but we did have the playroom as well as books and games consoles for the older children.

"There weren’t many single rooms, I always tried to get one but was rarely successful because other patients needed them more.

"It’s a sense of satisfaction, to know that I can support Sheffield Children’s in some way by devoting my working life to help the treatment and rehabilitation of others.

"Although I am not on the frontline treating patients, e-Systems are a vital cog in the administration and management of systems throughout the trust."

To donate to Tom's cause contact; www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tom-benton2

(SWNS | By Olive Loveridge-Greene)

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