With the Bank Holiday quickly approaching, and summer not very far afterwards, there are a number of community events coming up in the Kirkstall area, writes James Corah.
Kirkstall in Bloom
Kirkstall in Bloom will be gardening over the Bank Holiday weekend, tending and readying the Drink and Be Grateful Fountain Garden for summer.
The Saturday and Sunday sessions are some of our most enjoyable events, for not only are we making Kirkstall look blooming marvellous, we have a lot of fun, and volunteers will spend the rest of Summer marvelling at what they helped achieve.
And they will have achieved a great deal. We do not expect volunteers to stay for every minute, though if you’re free for an hour or two you can help make a massive impact.
As secretary I have a number of duties, though this year most of my gardening has been digging up roots in the ‘bottle bed’ area of the Garden.
Here we’ve cleared away ivy to reveal the bed underneath, and are working on new additions to our plants. We are also installing a water butt and a community composter.
Personally I underestimated the amount of time clearing out the roots would take, though I don’t think I can overestimate how good this area will look.
It will look awesome through the work of our volunteers, and we’d encourage more to join. No experience is necessary, will help you with tools, gloves, and knowledge, and there are lot if tasks to be done, something for everyone.
Another area Kirkstall in Bloom are working on is helping facilitate fortnightly litter picks. Though the event on Monday 29 May will only be our third we are already seeing a considerable difference in the area.
Like before, we’ll meet at the Cenotaph around 7pm on Bank Holiday Monday, and see which area of Kirkstall takes our fancy.
‘Burley in Bloom’
In June the second meeting for Burley in Bloom will also take place. While this will be part of the Burley Top Community Association meeting, interested volunteers should come and help shape a new public garden in Burley.
Further details will appear on the Burley Top Community Association facebook page.
There are two types of people in the world, those who go to Kirkstall Festival and those who do not. There are also dancers and singers, and this year’s festival is all singing and all dancing.
The free festival, which takes place on the second Saturday of July every year, is run by volunteers and supported through the sales of £2 programmes. There will be the usual activities, caterers, and performers, though there are two things of note.
Firstly, we have Vikings joining us. Secondly, the dog show is on. This is the most world-famous dog show based in Kirkstall, and the contenders are like our theme and volunteers and visitors: all singing, all dancing.
Last year’s event attracted rain and a fantastic crowd of 15,000, this year with a bit of sun who knows, 27,000 visitors came in 2015. Personally I’m looking forward to Festival Chair John performing the Watusi.
Wide range of community activities
There is still time to help out at the Festival, with Kirkstall in Bloom or at the litter pick. Follow the links provided and see what happens.
There are many reasons for get involved in community groups. I approached them because I wanted to get involved and to meet like minded people. Aside from gardening and Kirkstall Festival, I am a Kirkstall Harrier (who are very welcoming to runners and volunteers) and run with Hyde Park Harriers.
Through volunteering one can find other people to talk too. Hyde Park Harriers have a session every month called runandtalk, where runners of all abilities can meet and chat about whatever is on their mind.
The reasoning behind the sessions is to strengthen the link between mental health and exercise. The sessions are fun, all sorts of conversations are had, and no-one minds the pace we achieve.