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Seacroft Forest Garden officially opened by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire

Local volunteers have transformed the previously derelict site into a working green space for the community Seacroft Forest Garden, a new urban green space in the heart of south Seacroft, was officially opened in July by Zulfiqar Ali Karim, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.


Work began in July 2021 to transform the previously derelict 0.62 acres of land between South Parkway and St James Approach into a working green space. Over 1400 community volunteer hours have been spent on the site over the last two years. The site has also benefited from five corporate volunteering days, equating to 372 volunteer hours by staff from Lloyds Banking Group, RSK Group, the NHS Development team, Leeds City Council Engagement Officers and EDF Energy.


John and Linda Otley who both live in Seacroft, pioneered the idea. John Otley said: “We have lived in the area for many years and always dreamed of what could be done on this piece of land. It’s been transformed, thanks to the commitment of local volunteers, into an oasis of tranquility. It is an ideal way to use an otherwise redundant area of land, to increase access to green space for local residents and improve local biodiversity.”


The land is owned by Leeds City Council Housing department, who have been supportive of the initiative from the outset. Leeds City Council executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, Councillor Mohammed Rafique, said: “We are happy to support this local community project, as part of the council’s commitment to improving access to green space, promoting biodiversity and achieving net zero. We look forward to seeing Seacroft Forest Garden become a popular and well-visited attraction enjoyed by people of all ages in the months to come.”


There are many benefits to forest gardens, for people, wildlife and the planet as a whole. People can enjoy the food grown in the space - the first strawberries at the Seacroft Forest Garden have already been harvested – and shade from the trees, as well as enjoying peace and a sense of community as they meet others coming to experience or work in the space.


Other benefits of forest gardens include providing refuge for wildlife - examples of this at the Seacroft site include beetle-friendly log seats or the tree canopy for birds to nest. The planet as a whole benefits by more trees being planted, which store carbon, and by helping to protect local species.


Seacroft Forest Garden is an initiative of Climate Action Seacroft, a group of local residents working towards a happier, healthier, greener Seacroft. They received funding from the National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund as part of the Climate Action Leeds programme. the citywide, community-led movement working for a zero carbon, nature friendly, socially just Leeds by the 2030s.


Linda Otley said: “We are delighted with how the Seacroft Forest Garden has developed and are delighted that it has now been officially opened by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant. It has been very hard work, with just a handful of regular helpers and we would love more volunteers to get involved. We encourage people to come and visit, it is a special spot and deserves to be enjoyed.”


To find out more about the Seacroft Forest Garden email climateactionseacroft@gmail.com, get in touch via the Climate Action Seacroft Facebook group or follow @climateseacroft on Twitter and Instagram. The Seacroft Forest Garden is located between South Parkway and St James Approach and can be found using the what3words reference: tins.eagle.asking.


To find out more about Climate Action Leeds visit www.climateactionleeds.org.uk










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