Five months after the Boxing Day floods devastated parts of Kirkstall, the role of volunteers who gave up so much of their time to lead the clean-up is to be celebrated.
A riverbank clean-up is taking place on Saturday 28th May from 10am, with volunteers meeting at Open Source Arts.
And from 2pm, the volunteers will be downing tools, with a celebration event at TCV Hollybush. With children’s activities starting at 2pm, a café, barbeque, bar and soft drinks and music in the barn from 6pm onwards, the event will be a great way for volunteers to get a great big thankyou.
Volunteer Phil Marken, from Open Source Arts, was one of the community leaders behind the floods clean-up. He said:
“The Boxing Day floods are a vivid memory for everybody who lives or has their livelihood in Kirkstall. The effects still resonate.
“But rather than seeing the flooding as a catastrophic event I’d like to view it as a shocking start to a new wave of exciting events and togetherness in this community – a start to realising that we are all residents of this riverbank and our stewardship will make it a great place to live and work.
“I’d love if everybody who was affected came to the party on Sat 28th May at TCV Hollybush so we can meet each other, residents and businesses can mingle and thank each other and we can plan the next steps and get strong, connected, well networked and ready for anything.”
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon (Labour, Kirkstall) said:
“When the floods came it would have been easy to be despondent. But that melted as soon as it became clear how many people were willing to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. This includes people who saw it on the news and were moved to join us and staff from the Council who gave up their own time to help clean Kirkstall up.
“We want to say a great big thankyou to all those people, organisations and companies and the celebration event is a great way to do this. If you helped at all over the floods, make sure you get yourself there, you deserve a huge thank you!
“The work is not over yet, but we hope those people who can will continue to volunteer and work with us to clean the riverbank up.”
Jonathan Moxon, Environment Agency Upper Aire Catchment Director, said the volunteers’ actions had helped Kirkstall ‘take big steps along the road to recovery’. He said:
“There is still lots to do and alongside the development of flood defence schemes the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council are working closely with a range of partners and organisations in the affected areas to clean up the rivers, provide training, knowledge and support to ensure these are communities are better protected and more resilient in future as well as creating better places to live and work.”
The Dispatch originally reported on the clean-up and celebration two weeks ago.