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Three initiatives which have helped revive community spirit in Bramley

By Paul Abraham

Before the Bramley Shopping Centre was built in the early 1970s, Bramley was a village of stone buildings and had a really proud community spirit.

Eeven the semi-professional Bramley Rugby League team (formed in 1879) had the nickname “The Villagers”. Sadly after the village was demolished, the area of LS13 started to lose its identity and the new housing developments were mainly built for people with no connection with the area.

However over the past couple of years there has been the feeling of a community spirit returning and while the Covid-19 virus has resulted in so much negativity and distress, one thing that has emerged through it, is the renewed community spirit and pride of being a “Bramleyite”.

I often write about positivity and how you as an individual can enhance yours and other peoples lives and so it’s so encouraging to see the following three initiatives which have flourished during 2020.

Bramley Look for a Book

Looking for a book in Bramley.

Bramley Look for a Book is a creative way for children and adults to enjoy books donated by Bramley residents who want others to enjoy the books they have read.

The activity was set up in August 2019 and the local community are invited to join the Facebook group (which now has over 1,200 members) so they can share the joy of finding and reading books.

After locating a book, people are asked to post their finds with a photo on the group’s Facebook page for all to share.

The group would like others to get involved in collecting donated books and hiding them. People are asked to put the books in a zip lock bag to protect against the weather and add a note to invite people to take the book, enjoy reading it and re-hide once they have finished.

If you would like to hide a book of your own, just place it in a clear waterproof bag and hide it in a safe place with the following message:

“What a surprise, you found a book,
there’s fun inside – just take a look.
Once you have read it, you get to decide
wherein BRAMLEY this book you will re-hide.
The bag will protect it and keep it dry
if rain or snow should fall from the sky.”

Bramley Tate

“Bramley Tate” are committed to brightening up Bramley by painting one junction box at a time.

Many boxes are themed on “children’s books” brightly coloured art, various good causes (charities based in Bramley) or with the environment.

Having required the legal permission to replace the graffiti with bright and uplifting images, the group now boasts over 300 volunteers.

If anyone in Bramley would like to put forward a design and paint a box locally to them then please get in contact with Dawn Marie at Bramley Tate and she will let you know what subjects the boxes have to cover. Please be aware that if you do not have the legal permission to paint a junction box then you could face a fine of up to £1000!

Bramley Wombles

Wombling free in Bramley. Photo: Simon Cullingworth

The wonderfully named Bramley Wombles are working together to keep Bramley, Stanningley and Rodley clean and tidy.

They have litter pickers and bags available on request for individual volunteers as well as future plans to organise community litter picks. The group work in partnership with LCC Cleaner Neighbourhood Team and now boast over 250 amazing volunteers.

The Bramley Wombles would love to hear from anyone who wishes to get involved and keep an eye out for community litter issue. No training is required, you pick it up as you go along.

When you have filled and tied your bag, you then leave it next to a street bin if possible, or a significant landmark and email WNWaction@leeds.gov.uk with the location so the Cleaner Neighbourhoods team can collect it.

The driving force behind the amazing Look for a Book and Bramley Tate groups is Dawn Fletcher, a Bramley resident who works the twilight shift in Tesco so she can spend quality time with her children.

Dawn has shown what can be achieved with passion for creating a better local community and teaching children from any early age on how to take pride in wherever you live. Bramley councillor Kevin Ritchie deserves much credit too, as he set up the Bramley Wombles group.

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