Report praises work of Beeston Community Project

Beeston & Holbeck Ward Councillors Angela Gabriel, Andrew Scopes and Gohar Almass have praised local project ‘Better Action for Families’ after a Leeds Beckett University study highlighted them as a shining example of Asset Based Community Development, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Leeds and bring neighbourhoods together.

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a community building approach which Leeds City Council has developed into a pioneering programme in the city. Third sector organisations, funded by Leeds City Council, employ community builders who work with neighbourhoods to uncover and develop pre-existing assets, strengths and connections between people. The Leeds Beckett research has highlighted the social value this brings through supporting people having good friends, individuals and organisations becoming better connected, and communities identifying and working together to bring about the changes they want to see.

Ward Councillors have supported the work of Better Action for Families (BAFF) who were commissioned in Beeston, employing Lynn Bailey and Alia Nessa as Community Builders. Through discussion with local people, they help people realise their skills and passions, connecting like-minded people together and giving them ownership of their projects.

A local craft market was developed this way, with interest from a BAFF stall at the 2019 Beeston Festival leading to a skills event at Beeston library where local people signed up to share their gardening, needle crafts and creative writing skills.  A crochet group now sees local people meeting each week for tea and biscuits, whilst socialising and producing their hand-crafted designs and ultimately leading to the creation of a craft market for members to sell their work.

With BAFF support, The Bridge Café in Beeston was secured for the venue, and Cllr Angela Gabriel came along to support the first market in February 2020. Although the pandemic and the impact of government guidance has meant that the market was unable to run for the rest of the year, stallholders were able to hold their second market in June 2021, with support from Lynn and new Community Builder, Gayle Graham.

Once again this was a great success and was supported by local councillors Angela Gabriel and Gohar Almass who visited the stalls. The next market is to be held on Saturday (31 July 2021) between 9:30am and 12:30pm at the Bridge Café in Cross Flatts Park, Beeston and then every last Saturday of each month. Please check Better Action for Families on Twitter @BAFFLeeds or Facebook page for up to date details.

As one stall holder said:

“We don’t do this for the money, we just love meeting people & being able to share what we do.”

Councillor Angela Gabriel (Beeston and Holbeck) said:

“My colleagues and I are delighted to see the brilliant work of Better Action for Families recognised.

“Asset Based Community Development is a fantastic way for people to get involved locally whilst improving their health and wellbeing.

“This craft market is great as it enables local people to socialise, share their skills and sell their produce to others.”


This post is based on a press release issued by Beeston & Holbeck Ward Councillors

Photo: Alia Nessa, Lynn Bailey, Sid Mahiuddin and Cllr Angela Gabriel at the market in February 2020 before social distancing measures were intoduced.