News article created on 10 February 2020

Volunteers help us to reclaim community space

A group of our volunteers will be transforming a neglected piece of land besides the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to create a new community space

Sheffield Street Art Sheffield Street Art

Skinners Yard is an area just off Viaduct Road in Armley, Leeds. Over the years it has become overgrown, with vegetation obscuring the archways under the bridge as well as accumulating litter.

The clean-up will start on Tuesday, February 18th, with a team of adult volunteers and our staff safely clearing the area of litter and vegetation, as well as boarding up the archways.

We will be working alongside our volunteers to make the site accessible and more welcoming for all.

Areas needing love and care

Sophie Peel, youth and community events coordinator for the Trust, said: "The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is one of the most beautiful canals in the country and was given a Green Flag Award last year – meaning that it is a quality green space. However, with 316 miles of waterways to care for across Yorkshire and the North East, we are aware there are some areas that need a bit of love and care, and Skinners Yard is one of these.

"It’s a great bit of land which we hope is set to become a real asset for the community, and fortunately we have a passionate team of local volunteers who are keen to help reclaim the site. We also want to install a refurbished shipping container to create a meeting place for year-round engagement.

"We know that being by water can be good for mental and physical wellbeing, so we want to make our canals as accessible as possible for the community to enjoy even in the winter months."

The street art project

A group from West Leeds Youth Service will be helping clear plastics and other rubbish from the water via canoes, and after the archways are secured and sealed, the youth service will be invited to get involved in a street art project to paint them with the support of a local artist.

Stephen Harper, team leader at Leeds Youth Service, said: "We are delighted to be part of a project that inspires young people to engage with their natural environment.

"It is hoped that young people will gain an understanding of the canal, how it works, and how they can look after it. Hopefully young people will see the benefits of accessing the nearby green space and have an increased sense of ownership."

Sophie added: “We want the community to take part in the planning and creation of these spaces, giving them ownership of the site. We’re really keen to get younger people involved too, so with the support of a local artist, we will create four stunning pieces of artwork for everyone to enjoy.”