Raise the Roof at Swarthmore

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Swarthmore Education Centre has been running courses for 104 years from the little terrace in Woodhouse Square just round the corner from Joseph’s Well. It’s amazing what you can do there. Over the last 30 years I’ve started courses in classical guitar (the short-lived ‘Segovia’ phase), mime (the even shorter ‘Bowie’ period). radical psychology (the noisy ‘Reichian’ year), and British Sign Language (beginners – even that was a bit too advanced). In truth the only thing I really stuck at was the People’s Choir, a weekly gathering of about 50 of us, which I had great fun at for several years. Ok I wasn’t a great student, but the fact was I was able to have a go at all those things, and learned some interesting stuff.

In the Summer Leeds Wellbeing Web had our 2nd set of training at Swarthmore and as the course tutor I loved the relaxed atmosphere and the general friendliness. Staff seemed quite happy to be confronted by enthusiastic community journalists eager to try out their interviewing and camera skills. One particular piece of footage never quite made it to the blog at the time but it was about Swarthmore’s roof fund – here it is for the first time:


After 150 years the old roof was getting a bit leaky, so this year has seen the replacement of 4 of the rooves of the historic pre-Victorian buildings that make up Swarthmore. That still leaves 2 to do and it’s massively expensive, so more funds are needed, and the lovely people at Swarthmore are having a party – and you’re invited! Maggie says “Everyone is welcome to attend ‘Raise the Roof’, Swarthmore’s Christmas Reggae Party with reggae music from DJ Peter James and reggae band Mojah. This takes place on Friday 14th December from 7.30pm – midnight. There’s a licensed bar, and food to share (free).

Tickets £5 in advance or on the door – available from Swarthmore’s café or reception. All funds raised will go towards Swarthmore’s Roof Appeal.

See http://www.swarthmore.org.uk for more details or about any of the amazing things you can do at Swarthmore. (There’s an open day on 3rd January, 10.30 – 1.30 and 5 -7 p.m. if you want a look around). You can always just send them a cheque to them at 2-7 Woodhouse Square, Leeds LS3 1AD, or drop in and check out the good, cheap community cafe, and free craft cafe every Wednesday.

4 thoughts on “Raise the Roof at Swarthmore

    • Yes, it seems to keep cropping up! Actually I once supported their fiddle group too (Get Reel?) when they played at a ceilidh. They wanted a guitar to back them up, and somehow I got involved. They decided to play one of the tunes in a different key and omitted to tell me – it was very exciting! Bit like stepping into a lift shaft (as John Coltrane once said about playing with Theolonious Monk).


  1. i have been attensding swarthmore since age 16 – 33 years. i strted with radical psychology on jung reich, who wrote characfter analysis containg a great essay written wuith passion and fervour and love.
    about he emotional plague, whereby in most cultures those who show the best in humanity, like jesus buddha etc have been persecuted abnd even cruicified or mudered
    it is one of the best things i have ever read
    wilhelm reich also wrote listen little man, bout the petty uhappiness of the neurotic man, blind to freeedom and locve, and thus sharing his neurotric miseries.
    this litle wo/man is our dark side we are all small petty but we can change to joy and wisdom , if we contmplate and mediate, and do the right thing for the truth of love compassion nurturing and tolernce.

    , erich fromm, who wrote the insane siciety, and the fear of freedom

    swarthmiore has nurtured me, let it nurture you.
    i have friends who have done poetry music drumming IT skills, training to do the leeds wellbeing blog as a community reporter, in a way.

    there is no scarcity of opportunity in life actually, we can be our best , there is life and love but particpation, in life eg in courses offered by the WEA such as the Swarthjmore sitem, is necessary

    in the very deopths of our being so despairing is the kernasl of healing joy and liberastion, this is the ternal truth i live ebveryday
    i am humbled by the sheer varity of course, with their hard workers, and volunteers who volunteer their time and compassiion for you.

    fior eveeryones good, as you mayu have done.
    see compassinate abundance for education and awareness of compassion is the key.
    dont let life pass you by.
    life is a special dianmond jewel;, not a dual; anyone can be hurt bitter or angry

    if one takes only 5 minutes to copntempl;ate hopw many want to help us in the community as part of leedswellbeing blogs or swarthmore or other places one is much more likely tio be hasppy – i am
    and thus people are good to me, because i am full of grattitude a others are.
    tis is the virtue of patience with our demn sufferings and asking for hel[p
    love milan ghosh.
    i have discovered joy beyond belief and it is not manic. i breathe depply and relaxedly
    with calmness we can see The Good.


    • Thanks Milan, Lovely reflective comments and on self and others, life AND Swarthmore, a centre of importance for many for learning, sharing; a spiritual and physical home for some!… well worthy of an extension into a blog piece?
      Cheers Su


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