A community project to make Armley Town Street safer and more integrated has unveiled ambitious plans for new community facilities – and help breathe new life into a parade of shops at the same time.
Ali Ward, from Armley Action Team, told last night’s Armley Forum meeting the project will soon be running a number of different community resources from units on Gelder Road, which runs along the back of Armley Town Street, behind The Royal public house.
The organisation will take over two units left empty by the Howarth Foundation and its Hidden Owls shop, which closed last year. The first unit will be used as an office for the action team to work out of. It will also house a community development worker from New Wortley Community Centre and the new Armley Climate Action Group will be based from there.
In another unit Ms Ward said they are aiming to set up a food bank in response to the current cost of living crisis and are meeting with the Trussell Trust to make this happen. There are also plans for a community room for local groups and the public to hire and to have a shop selling children’s clothing and toys.
Armley Action Team is currently run by volunteers but is shortly due to become a social enterprise and it’s hoped that the facilities will help take its work to the next level.
Ms Ward told the meeting: “Our aim is for Armley Town Street and beyond to be a safer and family friendly shopping experience for all who live and work here. We also run lots of community events.”
Next up for the action team is Armley Festival at the start of September and the switch on of festive lights on December 3.
The team is also hoping to re-start the Armley Ambassadors project, which saw three people based in the Town Street area helping and supporting shoppers, shopkeepers and liaising with authorities over issues such as anti-social behaviour.
The scheme ran from late autumn into early spring and the team are hoping that the scheme will be part-funded by the potential introduction of a Business improvement District (BID) in Armley.
A BID is an extra levy, on top of business rates, paid for by local businesses and used to benefit businesses within a specified area. The Armley BID was first mooted before lockdown – and received seed funding from the Government – but stalled due to the pandemic.