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.
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.
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!