WHAT I DO
I’m passionate about Leeds and its communities, and about bringing different people together to make good things happen for the city. So, over the past 15+ years, I’ve developed or supported a wide range of projects, organisations and events – always in partnership with others – around central Leeds. They include the following. (Please follow the links or be in touch to get involved.)
- I’m helping to lead on the Holbeck viaduct project, an innovative new scheme to open up an amazing unused Victorian rail viaduct as a public walkway and more. Join the FB group (here) for all the latest news and updates, or check out the website (here) – where you can also sign up for e-bulletins.
- I’ve helped launch and lead a Repair Cafe in Leeds, featuring regular free events for people to gather and fix stuff together. We held events throughout 2016, and are growing and expanding in 2017. Full info here.
- Since 2006, I’ve been one of the lead organisers for Beeston Festival, an acclaimed community gala attracting 5,000+ people each year; I also volunteer most years at Hunslet Gala and Holbeck Gala.
- In June 2015 and again in 2016, I oversaw the Leeds Junk Boat Challenge events at the Leeds Waterfront Festival. We’re currently working on the 2017 event (get in touch to find out more and/or get involved).
- I helped set up Cross Flatts Park Run in Beeston, and have supported other local groups and charities to organise their own fundraising races.
- I’m a board member and volunteer for the South Leeds Life community news blog and newspaper (although always step back at election time, to avoid a conflict of interest).
- I do a bit of volunteering at the Hunslet Club, eg helping backstage with their recent Peter Pan panto.
- I’m the chair of governors at Park View Primary School, just round the corner from my house.
- I’m on the board of trustees/directors for the fantastic Leeds charity, SLATE.
- I’ve been helping to launch the new Friends of Hunslet Moor community action group since 2015. Action days for 2017 are: Sat 14th Jan, Sat 15th April, Sat 1st July, Sat 29th July, Sat 7th Oct – all starting at 10am. Click here.
- Since 2002, I’ve been involved in leading various youthwork programmes around Leeds (sometimes paid but often voluntary), especially the long-established Space project. I’ve also supported their sister project Kidz Klub since it started in south Leeds in 2003.
- I’ve worked with Rugby League clubs and bodies like the Hunslet Hawks to develop events (eg the RL World Cup family gala back in 2013), and support them (eg fundraising for their charitable foundation, recruiting volunteers, etc).
- I’ve worked (sometimes paid, normally not) in the South Leeds Academy (formerly High School) since it opened in 2005, developing events and programmes with them (eg their school leadership programme), linking them into opportunities and external initiatives, and more.
- Since summer 2014, I’ve co-organised the annual family-friendly Middleton Community Camps.
- I’ve helped lead several popular community hiking trips, to Snowdon in 2013 and 2015, to the Yorkshire Three Peaks in 2014, to Ben Nevis in 2015, and to the Lake District in 2016. Further trips are in the pipeline for 2017 – and the Alps, and Kilimanjaro are in our sights too..!
- I’m leading on a scheme to open up a massive unused church building in Beeston Hill (Holy Spirit, on Tempest Road) as a low-cost events, sports and arts venue for the local community.
- I volunteered with each of the Samara’s Aid Appeals (formerly Leeds2Iraq), each winter since early 2015 – charity convoys of donations from Leeds people, to those trapped in arctic conditions in northern Iraq.
- Since 2012, I’ve helped organise the annual Christmas Lantern Festival in Cross Flatts Park (and previously at the Holy Spirit church) in Beeston.
- Through my work with Together for Peace, I’ve helped coordinate major projects including the Planet Leeds city centre street festivals, the major Leeds Summat gatherings in 2009 and 2011, the Leeds Den Festivals in 2014-2016, and the epic Leeds to London WALKTALK inter-community walk in 2008. Full info here.
- And I’ve developed a bunch of neighbourhood community events and projects, including a scheme to turn the infamous ‘binyards’ into positive spaces (a hen-run in one, a greenhouse in another, murals, etc), a hanging basket scheme, community BBQs and bonfires, and more.
So I keep myself out of mischief. Most of the time.
(Top image from one of our community hiking trips to Wales.)