Holbeck benefits from a neighbourhood approach

Intensive work in the Recreations and Cleveleys area of Holbeck has brought 61 empty homes back into use and helped seven residents into work.

Pictured left to right: Bryce Sweeney (West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service), Wayne Ranby (LCC Dewsbury Road Hub), PCSO Nick Smith, Paul Broadhurst (LCC Private Sector Housing), Liz lawrence (LCC Jobs & Skills) Dave Paul (Groundwork Leeds) and Cllr Angela Gabriel

One male resident from the Recreations found a job in healthcare after being helped with job searches and his CV. Whilst a single parent, who was juggling home life with 2 part time jobs, has found work in a primary school. She now only works during school hours so no longer has to pay for childcare.

Leeds City Council’s ‘Neighbourhood Approach’ focuses the work of various departments and partner agencies such as West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and works with private landlords.

To date 261 properties in the area have been visited and inspected. 450 health and safety hazards have been dealt with in rented houses. Whilst most related to fire safety and falls, other issues including food safety, excess cold and over-crowding have been dealt with.

Now a ‘Group Repair Scheme’ offering low cost external improvements is to be rolled out across the area. Properties will be inspected individually and owners will be able to choose from a menu of improvements including new roofs, replacement guttering and downpipes, new double glazed windows, highly secure thermally efficient external doors and brick effect external wall insulation.

Works are subsidised with landlords expected to pay up to 25% of the costs, owner occupiers can get up to 100% subsidy. By organising the works centrally, the Council is able to achieve economies of scale making it a very affordable option.

The Council has also brought a range of services to the area via the Pop Up Hub. Staff from the Dewsbury Road One Stop Centre are available every fortnight on Crosby Road together with Neighbourhood Police, Employment & Skills, Connect for Health and Forward Leeds. This month the Hub will be on site between 10am and 3pm on Tuesday 10 and 24 January.

In a pilot project led by the council’s Waste Management Service and Localities a communal waste and recycling collection facility was provided to five bin yards on Recreation Grove and Recreation Mount. Initial results are promising – recycling has increased whilst fly tipping in these areas has decreased.

Regular Area Walkabouts are organised with Councillors and housing providers to identify housing, highways, environmental and other issues. The next walkabout will be on Thursday 19 January, meeting at St Matthew’s community centre at 9:45am. Residents are welcome.