Community Planters and Painters in Holbeck

three outside chapel studios
Ian Pickup, Phuong Abdul Ed Carlisle

The saying many hands make light work was an understatement yesterday (Sunday 1 February 2015) as 15 volunteers took to a planting and painting task in Holbeck.

Before daylight left Leeds, ten fruit trees had been planted on the moor and outside Old Chapel Studios in Holbeck. Flower beds had been lovingly arranged in Sweet Street and the railway footbridge from Princes Street had been painted yellow and black. Ian Pickup from Holbeck in Bloom had arranged all the tools, trees  and bedding flowers to be ready the day before and kept everyone updated on the meeting place and time.

The project had been jointly arranged between Holbeck in Bloom and ward councilors Angela Gabriel and Adam Ogilvie. Funding from Area Committee funds and Community First made it possible to buy all the materials and trees. The tools were lent to them by Groundwork.

family painting
Steve, Sally and family

The councils’ customer service manager Robert Wilson was also part of this venture too. I learned that the council are helping to motivate their staff by offering one day a year to volunteer and see the difference they can make in the community. One family came from Cross Gates to paint the bridge yellow and a council worker came to help plant trees. This was an opportunity for the Holbeck volunteers to meet other volunteers from across Leeds.

Everyone met outside the Holbeck Working Men’s Club. Angela organised everyone within two minutes, getting the right amount of people to do the right job. Then three sets of teams dispersed in different directions. I made my way with super volunteer Dave Murrel from Beeston, to the Old Chapel Studios just next to the viaduct. Ian Pickup was already there sawing bit of stake and deciding where the trees were going to go. I was still digging my bit when I turned round and saw two trees already planted. It would have taken me all day to plant one. Thanks to Old Chapel Studios who made us drinks of tea.

I then walked along to see how the other group were getting on painting the footbridge yellow and black. This took a bit more effort than preparing your walls for painting at home. Each panel had to be scrubbed with a wire brush and all the old flaking paint to be constantly swept up. I left them with Adam just about to start the first panel. I got to see the end product four hours later on Facebook.

Ed Carlisle, Dave Murrel, Lucy Potter, Ian Pickup, Phuong Abdul

After we’d planted five more trees opposite the new Brown Lane East flats on the moor we headed back to the club. Angela had laid on the most amazing homemade vegetable  soup, (and bread from Venus supermarket). There was coffee already in a flask, but as the place was buzzing with families for a Sunday social, Ed, Dave and I felt more like a pint of Hobgoblin Ale.

Thanks to everyone for making it such a fun day. It’s amazing what can get done with a few people and lots of motivation!

2 Replies to “Community Planters and Painters in Holbeck”

  1. To Friends of South Leeds

    I’m making general enquiry if Leeds South life, Friends of Cross Flatts Park would support a Initiative/ project by Leeds Friends of Earth. Across the UK there is continue decline in Bees, notably honey bees, they have faced rapid decline through industrial farming and loss of habitat, plus increase in use of Pesticides on British farmes since the end of world war II.

    Friends of Earth and their local groups are creating beeworlds across hundreds of urban areas of the UK. AT Leeds FoE we intend to create as many Beeworlds as possible. Mainly in urban centres and parks across the city. We would like to know if Friends of Cross Flatts park and other Parks in Beeston/ South Leeds Area would like to establish a bee world in their parks?

    You can find me information on Friends of Earth’s web site and clicking on Bee world icon. please contact me if you would like to carry this proposal foward. I look forward to your reply

    1. Thanks Mark, sounds good. Is it this section of the FOE website: I think Friends of Cross Flatts Park might certainly be interested. They’ve a meeting on Tue 24th Feb, that I’m going to – would be good to talk before then, or you’d probably be welcome at it. I’m mates with people like Carla D and Rachel H (FOE staff in Leeds) if that helps for tracking me down. I could also put you in touch with Friends of Middleton Park and others. Cheers.

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