A rugby league star has popped by to boost a series of green community events in south Leeds.
More than 100 residents from the John O’Gaunts estate, in Rothwell, were visited by Leeds Rhinos winger Ben Jones-Bishop during environmental events including food growing, herb planting, litter clearance and weed removal.
The activities formed part of Marks & Spencer’s @myurbangreen initiative, which aims to teach children and adults new skills and recruit volunteers to make sure community projects are maintained.
Leeds City Council’s housing organisation Aire Valley Homes and the Big Lottery’s Local Food programme also played their part in funding the events, which environmental charity Groundwork organised.
Nickie Ramsden, the community co-ordinator at Groundwork Leeds, said: “The events have been a roaring success, with residents saying they feel a better sense of community as a result.”
People of all ages helped plant fruit and vegetables at the estate’s allotments, tidied up and re-planted raised beds on the estate, decorated terracotta pots, planted herbs, cleared litter, and removed weeds from the Rose Lund pencil park, before Jones-Bishop visited green-fingered residents to offer encouragement.
Mr Jones-Bishop is currently preparing to take part in the Rhinos’ Stobart Super League Grand Final appearance at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Ms Ramsden said: “Having been given this boost, I hope people will continue this great work under their own steam.”
Alongside the project, a “community summit” was held to give residents the opportunity to find out more about local groups they could get involved with, as well as services they could tap into.
Stalls were provided by local agencies such as Leeds City Council’s youth service, Skilled Up Rothwell and Aire Valley Homes, plus the local gardening group who were on the lookout for new members.
Marks & Spencer’s @myurbangreen is a nationwide campaign to deliver at least 850 community green space activities and events, motivate 135,000 people to care for their local green space and support 300 community groups to increase their capacity to support local urban green spaces.
The initiative also hopes to find more than 5,000 local volunteers to help in such projects.
For further information visit: www.groundwork.org.uk