New Wortley: “In the end they did put a crossing in, but it shouldn’t have taken the sacrifice that it did”

6 January 2019

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“We recognised that there was a need for a community centre. I’m proud to be have been part of its history…” says Bob, from Armley.

This is Bob’s story about community activism and making a difference in inner city west Leeds.

This is how funding from Leeds Community Foundation and the work of people at New Wortley Community Centre are making a difference to local people’s lives every day…

new wortley community centre

“I’ve always been a campaigner. Before this community centre was here, I was fighting for road safety. There had been a series of accidents on the main road [Tong Road] here.

“The community association had written to everybody but nobody paid any notice. I remember getting off the bus on my way home one time, seeing this little boy’s body by the side of the road – he had been hit by a coming truck.

“A public meeting was held and we decided to block the road off until someone put a pelican crossing there. The community here was solid and united in their cause. So we blocked the road off and the police arrived in riot gear.

“Four of us got arrested, including me. In the end they did put a crossing in, but it shouldn’t have taken the sacrifice that it did.

“A lot of the people have lived around here for many years. We recognised that there was a need for a community centre. So we raised the money and through a government scheme we started this place.

“The association morphed from a campaigning group into managing a community centre, which is an entirely different animal.

“A lot of the people drifted away while the various clubs and activities were established. I always knew it was here and surviving and I was even able to help it out once or twice as my role as an environmental officer. It’s a great space – and I’m proud to be have been part of its history.”

New Wortley Community Centre is a vibrant community space for local people, providing much needed educational, social and support opportunities in the area.

Having received a Leeds Fund Strategic Grant from the Foundation, they were able to engage local people struggling with mental health issues and social isolation with counselling services, group therapy and home support.

Having received a Leeds Fund Strategic Grant from the Foundation, they were able to engage local people struggling with mental health issues and social isolation with counselling services, group therapy and home support.

This article first appeared on Leeds Community Foundation’s website.
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