Young people invited to get involved at Armley Park in bid to beat arsonists

Arson attack in Armley Park playground two weeks ago. Photo: FoAP

By John Baron

Young people are being encouraged to have more of a say on Armley Park – and have closer ties with a ‘Friends’ group of volunteers.

Youngsters attending Leeds City Council youth services sessions attended last night’s inner west community committee meeting to talk to local councillors about the work they’d been doing in the area and their ideas for improving it.

The council committee, meeting at New Wortley Community Centre, heard one of its co-optees, Cat Hyde, say she wanted to forge closer relationships with young people after the third arson attack on the new playground in Armley Park during the past 12 months.

Ms Hyde is also one of the leading lights of the Friends of Armley and Gotts Park group, which is a group of volunteers who help with litter picks, activities and fundraising to improve the park.

Ms Hyde said she would like to involve youngsters who are part of the Inner West Youth Committee after a climbing frame was torched by arsonists a couple weeks ago – the previous frame was also destroyed last year.

The play equipment in Armley Park was only replaced last November after a previous arson attack. Photo: Friends of Armley and Gotts Park

The playground only opened last year following a fundraising effort by volunteers on the Friends group.

Ms Hyde said: “The playground is being targeted by vandals and I’d love to get more young people interested in the Friends, shaping our future activities and would like to get together to make that happen.

“The Friends of Armley Park would love to come and talk to you to hear your views.”

Meeting chair Cllr Alice Smart (Lab, Armley) said: “As councillors we make lots of decisions about our community, many of which have an impact on young people. It is important that they have a say on issues which affect them.”

Councillor Caroline Gruen (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) told the young people attending the meeting: “This is a great opportunity to work together on a variety of issues.”

Councillors also agreed to attend youth forum meetings.

Community projects in ‘inner’ west Leeds were also granted council funding by ward councillors last night.

Applications they approved included:

Bramley Lantern Parade – £1,600

The grant will be used to support the Lantern Parade in Bramley, run by Creative Communities CIC. The funds will be spent on materials, facilitators and refreshments.

Discover Wellbeing – £10,000

The money would help pilot a new community based emotional health and wellbeing offer for children, young people and their families run by Barca-Leeds in Bramley & Stanningley.

Inner West Youth Summit – £2,250

The grant awarded will fund the council-run Inner West Youth Summit 2023.

Bramley Falls Park playground painting – £2,880

The funding will be used to repaint the playground at Bramley Falls Park.

Bramley Basketball at Leeds West Academy – £1,330 

Weekly term time basketball sessions with the aim of engaging positively with the young people who attend Leeds West Academy. An opportunity for professional coaching for free within the community. It will be afters chool on Wednesdays in term time, 3pm till 4pm.

LS12 Creative, Armley – £5,847

This funding will support Interplay in the expansion of their existing free to access LS12 Creative project. The grant will increase the number of young people reached, and offer holiday as well as term time activities.

The inner west community committee is made up of nine councillors (all Labour) from Armley, Bramley & Stanningley and Kirkstall wards. It is also made up of community co-optees from each ward. 

The agenda can be read in full here.

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