Comment: Armley Park playground campaign shows people power at its finest

The finished play park in Armley Park this week. Photo: Friends of Armley and Gotts Park

By WLD editor John Baron

It’s been a joy to see so many families using the new playground in Armley/Gotts Park in its first few days of opening.

What people may not realise is the work for this playground didn’t just start last October when the first spade entered the ground – initial ideas to improve the existing dilapidated playpark were actually floated a good decade ago.

It’s taken the hard work, dedication and commitment from volunteers on the Friends of Armley and Gotts Park group to get this over the line. A fine example of people power winning the day!

Replaced: The existing playground in Armley Park.

The volunteers joined together in 2016 with aims to make Armley Park and Gotts Park a more fun, interesting, playful, amenable, safe, active, inspiring, creative and community space for the people of Armley and surrounding areas.

WLD has followed the Friends since the first advert to form the group through to the first public meeting in September 2016 (I remember attending the meeting to this day – and the inspiring rallying cry of ‘It’s time to reclaim our park’ which came out of it) through to events and action days and public consultations. Inspiring stuff.

The volunteers have gone from strength to strength, reducing anti-social behaviour in the park as they go along. And we now have a lovely play area with zip wires, a slide, swings etc.

As founder member Cat Hyde said this week:

“We were told that to get a playground we needed to establish a friends of group and encourage folk back into the park and prove that it was well used.

“Setting up a group is never easy and takes a lot of hard work and dedication but we have achieved and brought brilliant events and at last a new playground to the residents of Armley.”

And the Friends aren’t resting on their laurels. There are plans for a second phase of the playground and a raft of events throughout the year.

Proof, if any were needed, that a small group of residents coming together can make a massive difference.

I can’t wait to report on the official opening of the playground. Genuinely, what an awesome achievement.


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