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NEWS ROUNDUP: New Leeds COVID-19 testing system and 200,000 new trees



A major new testing programme has been launched for workers 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, Leeds City Council has opened three testing stations across the city for asymptomatic people who can’t work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are located as follows:

• Headingley Campus, Leeds Beckett University, LS6 3QS (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm).
• City Campus, Leeds Beckett University, LS1 3HE (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm).
• The Old Fire Station, Gipton, LS9 6NL (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 3.30pm; Wednesday 2pm to 8pm; Saturday 9am to 3pm).

Public health chiefs in the city hope as many workers 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 people as possible who can’t work from home 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 tree-mendous total of 200,000 saplings has been planted in Leeds over the past year as part of Leeds City Council’s climate change ambition.
To mark the International Day of Forests on Sunday 21st March, Leeds City Council is sharing its recent contribution towards the regional White Rose Forest.

Launched last year, the Woodland Creation Initiative will see 5.8 million trees planted on council land over the next 25 years. Tree planting is proven to benefit the wellbeing of communities, support wildlife, and help tackle the climate emergency.

The council has recently committed to increasing tree cover in Leeds from 17% to 33% by working with landowners, businesses, communities and volunteers as well as the White Rose Forest partnership – a local authority-based joint venture working to increase tree cover across West and North Yorkshire.

Although Covid-19 restrictions have limited the opportunity for volunteering, hundreds of volunteers were still able to take part between lockdowns. Parks and Countryside staff have worked hard throughout lockdown to ensure that tree planting could go ahead as planned.

A total of 66 sites have been planted over the past year including East End Park, Stanningley Park, Nunroyd Park and Kippax Common, all contributing to combatting the climate emergency.



A father-of-four who used to eat five bags of crisps a day and tipped the scales at 31 and a half stone has lost a staggering 10 stone during lockdown - in just six months.

Matthew Howe, 41, would munch on two large breakfast butties from a greasy spoon cafe in the morning and order a takeaway after eating his dinner at night.

He could also polish off two 200g bars of chocolate a day and would eat bigger meal portions than the rest of the family.

He would wash it all down with a two litre bottle of Coca Cola each day and his weight ballooned over the years.

But in September, he ditched the fatty foods and sugary drinks and started walking his pet puppy Boris every day and the weight dropped off him.

Six foot two Matthew now weighs 21st 3lb and has gone from a 6XL shirt to a XXL and a 54 inch waist to 40inch.

Matthew, of Sheffield, South Yorks., said: “I feel like a different person. I look in the mirror and I can feel a massive difference.

“My family can see such a big difference, they’re all proud of me. My children have got their dad back in a way.

“I’ve always been a massive family man, but if we went to the park or anywhere, we’d drive. Now we’re walking everywhere and it’s brilliant.”

Matthew’s weight began to balloon over the last seven years, but he ignored his family’s pleas for him to lose the timber.

The message finally hit home in September and he totally changed his lifestyle overnight.

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