£1m National Lottery boost for Leeds estates

FUNDING: Hawksworth Wood estate is one of the areas set to benefit from Lottery funding. PIC: Michelle Glover
FUNDING: Hawksworth Wood estate is one of the areas set to benefit from Lottery funding. PIC: Michelle Glover
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Four years after being announced, a £1 million ten-year project to help improve a group of Leeds estates is set to get underway.

The National Lottery funded ‘Big Local’ scheme selected Hawksworth Wood estate, Abbey Dales estate and the Vespers, collectively known as HAVA, as the first areas in Leeds to benefit from the funding.

Community consultation has seen residents and groups putting forward ideas about how the money should be spent.

A plan put together by the HAVA board – which was elected to manage the money – was then submitted to the Big Local charity.

Feedback suggested activities for children and support for young people getting into work were the areas that needed focus.

Ten projects were identified in total, with a ten-year roll-out plan starting this summer.

The projects scheduled to start this year include a healthy living scheme, summer activities for young people and a fund to support projects that will benefit the community on a long term basis.

Other projects to be initiated within the next year include the creation of a new community centre, improvements to the Craigside recreation ground and a project designed to help young people make the transition into further education.

Kelly Baldacchino-Steward, elected chairwoman of the HAVA board, said: “The past year has been spent getting to know the local community and getting them involved in the early stages as much as possible.

“They’ve been incredibly vocal about how the money should be spent, and it’s exciting for me to be helping bring this brilliant project to life.”

Big Local representative Steve Skinner has spent the last two years advising the board on how to get the projects up and running.

He said: “The Hawksworth Wood area is one of 150 areas identified by the Lottery as needing support and through the involvement of local people as our starting point, the project has just kept building from there.

“Even though we are still in the early stages of the ten year plan, we’re optimistic that our plans will sustain the community for the foreseeable future.”

There will also be an increased number of events to bring the community together.

The next big event will be the “Tour de HAVA”, which will see three bike ride events aimed at young children, children aged 12 and over and a third for older generations to celebrate the Tour de France Grand Depart from Leeds on July 5.

The Tour de HAVA will take place on Sunday June 8 outside the Vesper Fields Co-Op at noon.

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