Although it still faces certain problems, Seacroft has slowly overcome many of the challenges which face similar suburbs in cities up and down the country.
The solution has, partly, been a combination of public and private investment in facilities, from the local authority to private businesses such as Tesco who have created a focal point for the area.
Unfortunately there’s a lingering feeling that in neighbouring Whinmoor they have many of the same challenges, but haven’t had quite the same opportunities to overcome them.
Sue Gumbs is chairman of Whinmoor Warriors, a rugby league club based in the suburb with junior and adult teams (of both sexes).
She said: “We’ve been asking the council for help for years. For example, our pitch is currently waterlogged because we can’t afford the drainage which is required. So we’re now going to have to go to Seacroft where they have some really well kept pitches – and we’re going to have to rent those so we can play.
“Yet we are taking hundreds of kids off the streets, doing good. So where is our help? We’d like to help more as well, but we can’t afford to at the moment. The irony of it is that we actually take some kids from Seacroft, yet we don’t always have the facilities here in Whinmoor.”
So why can’t organisations access the funding which is out there? The Rev Mike Benwell is rector of the parish taking in Seacroft and Whinmoor.
“The problems are quite long-standing and complex,” he says. “For a start the centre of Seacroft is easily identifiable and that provides a focus for activities, whereas Whinmoor is a sort of ribbon of properties on the other side of the ring road. the council ward also groups Whinmoor and Swarcliffe in with Cross Gates rather than Seacroft which causes it’s own difficulties.
“Plus, up until recently, Whinmoor was actually in the more wealthy Elmet constituency rather than Leeds North East.”
But the Reverend is hopeful that plans to build 10,000 houses may improve the lot of Whinmoor and help level out the playing field.
Local councillor Pauline Graham, who grew up in Whinmoor, also believes housing is key.
“We’ve just had the PFI initiative upgrading hundreds of properties in the area and we’ve just had a new Co-op supermarket and two new shops coming online,” she says.
“Plus, we’re in the process of creating a new medical centre in the area, but the overriding concern of residents in this area is roads.”
Which, for the majority of residents of Whinmoor, seems to characterise their lives: a dual carriageway seems to separate the lives of people in Seacroft and those north of the ring road. Whether or not the gap between them narrows remains to be seen.