Leeds Parks Forum awarded “Local Legends” Plaque

The enormous value of parks and open spaces, which have provided life-affirming beauty, greenery, opportunity for exercise and space for quiet reflection throughout the lock-down, along with Forum members who work so hard to help keep them in great shape, has been recognised in the award of a ‘Local Legends’ virtual blue plaque by Leeds Civic Trust.

Blue Plaque

Chair of Leeds Parks & Green Spaces Forum, Lynda Kitching, says:

It is so heartening that the work of volunteers across the city is being appreciated. Many groups are emerging as restrictions are lifted, having figured out new ways of working safely, just glad to be together again. I must pay tribute to Leeds City Council’s Parks dept staff who are working at 65% capacity right now, but still managing to cut grass and do other essential work in our parks and green spaces.

We hope that people will continue to appreciate those green spaces of Leeds – perhaps join a Friends group in their area, or form a new group to help keep a piece of green space tidy and loved.

The Forum was nominated for a plaque by Garance Rawinski, who lives close to Leeds city centre: 

I have been out and about on my bike checking out our parks – really good for those endorphins: Roundhay Park, Temple Newsam, Potternewton and Meanwood parks, Woodhouse Moor and Holbeck Moor. It’s been great since,  although I knew of them, I’d never spent time in any of them on my own, able to snoop around and see more. What struck me most was what great condition almost all were in (mowed grass, bins emptied, beds tended). A joy actually, – it could have been a disaster with all the other things going on at the moment. So a virtual plaque was a suggestion from the heart. The wonderful parks and green spaces have kept me going over the past few weeks, and from what I see, many others have also been thankful for the care and attention given to them.

Leeds Parks Fund opens for applications


Deadline for applications: 12 noon, Tuesday 8 October 2019

Leeds Community Foundation is pleased to announce the first round of funding from Leeds Parks Fund. Developed in partnership with Leeds City Council and Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum, the Fund has been possible thanks to the generous support of individual and business donors.

Good quality parks and other public green spaces are essential for making cities great places to visit, work and live in. The many benefits of parks include improving health and wellbeing, providing places for children to play and homes for wildlife, bringing communities together and beautifying the city. They also make a positive contribution to the environment by helping to keep the air clean and mitigating the growing impact of climate change.

This first round is focused on the environment. As a result, we are particularly keen to receive applications that demonstrate at least one of the following:

•           Benefit to local environment

•           Improved access to natural environment

•           Increased use of natural environment

•           Education about the environment

For more details about the Fund and how to apply please visit our Grants Page here.

Applicant Briefing Session

Friday 13 September 2019, 10.00-11.30am

Squire Patton Boggs, 6 Wellington Place, Leeds, LS1 4AP

If you’re interested in learning more about the Leeds Parks Fund then please join our briefing session. This will include a presentation explaining the grant programme, the application process and Q&A session. To reserve a place, please book here

If you wish to attend this event and have any personal requirements in order to fully enjoy your event, then please let us know at the earliest date possible. We have an inclusive approach and wish to ensure that everyone who wants to attend our events is able to do so and obtain full benefit from being our guest.

First i-Tree Report Published

The UBoC / LEAF team at the University of Leeds have published the first and largest of three reports which aim to provide financial values for Leeds trees in by measuring the work they do as carbon stores, pollution removers, flood protectors and more.

i-Tree-Report-2019-v1.4_1-768x543The primary tool used was i-Tree Eco, with other similar tools employed to measure additional functions.

The first report values the trees on the university campus. Future reports, which use slightly different surveying methods because the team are as interested in the effectiveness of these tools as they are in the values the trees, will measure the highly wooded Middleton ward in south Leeds, and then the whole city, ward by ward.

UBoC hope to develop tools which could potentially be used by Friends groups to easily and quickly measure ‘ecosystem services’ in a park or green space (i-Tree is very time-consuming and requires expert data processing), but these lie some time in the future.

The report can be read here.


Leeds Parks Fund is out and about

Leeds Parks Fund are going on a Summer Roadshow! Come and see us to chat about our amazing parks.

Passionate about parks? Have some spare time this August? Email leedsparksfund@leeds.gov.uk or message us to find out more about volunteering with us.

Locations and dates:

3rd August, 12pm: Hyde Park Unity Day

7th August, 1pm: Cross Flatts Breeze

9th August, 1pm: Farnley Hall Breeze

11th August, 2pm: Golden Acre Park

21st August, 1pm: Lovell Park Breeze

31st August: Chapel Allerton Festival


Leeds Parks Fund, Rethinking Parks project research launch

We’d love it if residents of Leeds would help out by filling in this survey before 31 December 2018And we’d also love to hear from people with businesses based in Leeds; you can help out by filling in this survey before 31 December 2018.

Enter our free prize draw for a chance to win £100 Love2Shop voucher.

We need as many local people and business managers as possible to respond to our surveys at https://bit.ly/2PZJdvC (residents survey) and https://bit.ly/2PNrk3c (business survey) so that we can understand the variety of perspectives on Leeds’ parks and potential funding opportunities for them.

Leeds project helps re-think parks.


A research project to explore the idea of charitable giving to public parks was launched today in Leeds.

The project considers the role local people and businesses can play in improving and sustaining public parks for future generations.

The University of Leeds and partners from local charity, community and public sectors have developed an online survey to find out what individuals and businesses think about charitable giving to improve their parks and green spaces.

The project is part of a national scheme called Rethinking Parks that aims to develop promising and innovative new operating models for parks across the country.  The scheme is funded by Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Nesta.

The research follows growing concerns over the future of public parks across the UK, particularly at a time when local councils face ongoing budget reductions from central government.

In 2016, 322,000 people signed a petition calling for legal protection for parks and the following year the government launched a new Parks Action Group to help green spaces meet the needs of communities now and into the future.

The Leeds project is based around Leeds Parks Fund, a charitable initiative hosted by Leeds Community Foundation that provides an opportunity for people to make charitable donations to fund community led initiatives that will improve access and engagement as well as facilities in parks.

Money raised through the Fund will go towards improving parks and other public green spaces in Leeds, providing grants to communities for restoration of historic features such as bandstands, planting new floral displays, providing wildlife habitats and improving playgrounds, paths, sports facilities and much more.

Lynda Kitching, Chair of Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum said; “The Forum is delighted to be involved with this national project to investigate new ways to generate funds for public green space. If Leeds Parks Fund is successful, community groups will be able to apply for a grant to improve their local park or green space.  Evidence shows that the natural environment has many benefits, including for peoples’ mental and physical health, so any opportunity to make them more attractive to visitors is to be applauded”

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Executive Member for Environment and Active Lifestyles said; “Leeds parks are used by 91% of the city’s residents, and are essential for making Leeds a great city for visitors and residents.  I think it’s a great idea to offer people the opportunity to give something back through charitable giving, and make them even better!  If charitable giving is not an option, people can still help support the scheme by filling out the online survey”

Pip Goff, Partnerships Director of Leeds Community Foundation, said: “We are excited to be at the forefront of innovative new thinking on ways to sustain parks. Parks are vitally important for communities, providing opportunities for people to come together, relax, play and exercise for free.  If successful, the Leeds Parks Fund model will be used as a template for similar initiatives around the UK, hopefully leading to greener, healthier communities right across the country.”

Dr Anna Barker of the University of Leeds, said: “Various public-spirited efforts played a role in acquiring and improving parks during the Victorian era, including public donations, philanthropic activity and local authority investment.  Given the ongoing cuts to local council budgets, it is important to investigate the future potential of charitable schemes for parks.  Lots of people volunteer in public green spaces, but for those that don’t have the time, the option of donating to an independent charity for parks instead may be of interest.

“We need as many local people and business managers as possible to respond to our surveys at https://bit.ly/2PZJdvC (residents survey) and https://bit.ly/2PNrk3c (business survey) so that we can understand the variety of perspectives on Leeds’ parks and potential funding opportunities for them.  



Leeds Rethinking Parks survey: Leeds residents are invited to fill in this simple questionnaire between 29 Oct – 31 December 2018. It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Leeds Parks Fund: More information about Leeds Parks Fund is available here: http://leedsparksfund.org/

Rethinking Parks: More information about the national Rethinking Parks scheme is available here: https://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/meet-rethinking-parks-innovators/

The partners involved in the Leeds Rethinking Parks project are:

 Key facts about parks and other public green spaces in Leeds:

Leeds parks are used by 91% of the city’s residents.

Roundhay park is Leeds most popular park hosting 8 million visits every year.

After Roundhay park, the four most popular parks in Leeds are:

  • Temple Newsam
  • Golden Acre
  • Kirkstall Abbey
  • Woodhouse Moor

The many benefits of parks include; improving health and reducing obesity; reducing stress, depression and anxiety; providing homes for wildlife and places for children to play, bringing communities together and beautifying the city.   They also make a positive contribution to the environment by helping to keep the air clean and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

There are 70 formal parks in Leeds ranging from the city parks like Roundhay and Golden Acre to community parks like Springhead in Rothwell or Cross Flatts in Beeston.

Public green Spaces:

Other public green spaces that Leeds Parks Fund will raise money for include: Nature areas, Footpaths, bridleways and green cycling routes, Sports pitches, Flower beds, Cemeteries, Woodlands and Village greens.