Tim Barber reports on how Wade’s Charity is helping 98% of Leeds residents to live within a 10-minute walk of a green space…
During the last eight months of the Coronavirus pandemic, especially with the initial lockdowns, parks and open spaces have come into their own as places to exercise, meet, play and generally relax to gain some valuable headspace from constant zoom calls or the growing stresses of everyday life. With stricter lockdowns forecast it is likely their importance will continue.
With more people working from home and many residents not having a garden, access to green spaces has been a lifesaver for many.
In Leeds we are blessed with our parks. Across the UK many people live without access to green spaces but Leeds is lucky in that respect with 98% of people living within a 10 minute walk of a park.
The Green Space Index is a national barometer of publicly accessible park and green space provision in Great Britain. Their index shows a national average index of 0.94 and Yorkshire and Humberside as a whole is well down with a score of 0.76, but Leeds has a score of 1.02 and a total provision of 35 square meters per person – well above the national average.
Leeds City Council actually manages over 4,000 hectares of green space across Leeds making it actually one of the greenest places to live in Europe.
Wade’s Charity plays a big part in the provision of these valuable open space assets within the city owning 213 hectares of parkland which is let on long leases to Leeds City Council.
As Leeds’ oldest independent charitable trust, Wade’s has been helping the lives of residents of Leeds since it was founded in 1530. Providing large areas of parkland, city centre and community open spaces, recreation grounds and sports fields across the old pre-1974 Leeds City.
Wade’s parkland such as Middleton Park, Gotts Park in Armley and Beckett Park in Headingley are vital “lungs” where inner city residents can enjoy both relaxation and amusement.
Playing fields and recreations grounds owned by Wade’s are to be found throughout its territory including: Rodley, Adel, Osmondthorpe, East Leeds, Cross Green, Hunslet and Burmantofts. These spaces provide vital venues for scores of local sports clubs and teams as well as places for residents to keep fit, unwind, relax and simply have fun.
Working with Leeds City Council and community groups Wade’s has contributed financially to the improvement and upgrading of these facilities. The charity also has substantial areas of communal open space where local groups help in their care such as woodland at Gledhow and an orchard in Far Headingley.
On this basis Wade’s land can truly be considered a key part of “Leeds Natural Health Service” and contribute massively to helping Leeds residents have such a vast amount of parks and open spaces on their doorsteps.
Many Leeds residents have never heard of Wade’s Charity but do know of the open spaces they own or the grants provided to local community projects.
But whilst Wade’s Charity remain one of Leeds best kept secrets – the benefits they provide to Leeds residents during these unprecedented time through their landownership cannot be underestimated.
For more information about Wade’s Charity and their lands visit www.wadescharity.org.