My Column in the Morley Observer

Local families lucky enough to be getting away for a summer holiday this year will probably spend the flight wondering whether they’ve packed everything or looking forward to a nap on the beach. But anyone flying on Ryan-Air will also jet off on their holidays sitting on seats made right here in Morley.

Yarwood Leather off Gelderd Road in Morley is a small local firm who manufacture and distribute leather for aeroplanes seats as well as for the automotive and marine sectors. It’s a competitive industry but the company are doing really well, exploring new markets in the Far East and winning new contracts – as well as fitting out Ryan-Air’s Bargain seats. That’s all great news back home in Morley as it means new jobs and investment.

Managing Director John Nicholls contacted me because the firm were expanding and wanted to take on young people in apprenticeship roles. As well as taking up their case I wanted to see for myself what goes on at their Morley headquarters.

As readers can probably imagine, the health and safety standards for seats on aeroplanes are high – and the leather and fabrics used have to go through a rigorous testing process – all of which can be done right here in Morley. Once tested, leather is then cut and packaged for delivery to fitters. And it’s not just manufacturing either. Because they want to stay at the top of the game, Yarwood Leather also invests in research and development so that their products can be constantly refined to meet the latest standards of safety and performance.

It’s good to see a local firm doing so well. And because they’re expanding, Yarwood are also actively taking on and training young people which is brilliant news. The last few years have been tough with long-term youth unemployment rocketing and thousands of local young people not getting the chances they need to get on and do well. Thanks to companies like Yarwood, opportunities are now coming through.

As young people complete their exams and make decisions about their futures, I’ve contacted all our local schools to make sure they’re aware of companies like Yarwood who want increase the number of young people they take on with apprenticeships

Of course, for many families getting away this summer just isn’t an option. I know from my casework how difficult things still are for very many local families with many jobs still under threat and prices for many everyday essentials still high.

Local agencies tell a similar story. I called into the Children’s Centre in Gildersome on Friday, Centre Manager Bernard told me how tough it is for many local families and how the centre is doing what it can, despite big cuts in its budget. As well as regular activities and drop in sessions for parents of under 5s, the centre also now offers fresh fruit and veg at cost price to help families struggling with the cost of their weekly shop.

Of course with less money around, there is less support for families via our children’s centres. But I know that over the summer the Gildersome Centre, along with Morley South Children’s Centre at Sevenhills and the Morley North Children’s Centre from its new home in Morley Town Hall will all be offering as much support and activities for families as they can.

And as usual, I’ll be compiling my annual families’ summer newsletter and survey with details of all the events and activities taking place at Children’s Centres and elsewhere over the long summer holidays. Please email me at or contact my office on 0113 253 9466 to reserve your copy.

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Posted June 18th, 2014 by Ed