Leeds park to be transformed by the sound of music

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A Leeds park is to be transformed by the sound of music thanks to a community group raising more than £100,000.

Friends of Cross Flatts Park (FOCFP) secured a total of £110,600 to spend on upgrading the Watsonia Pavilion, which will create a hub for live performances and cultural events.

The group received a grant of £60k from the Caird Peckfield Community Fund, as well as £39k from Leeds City Council and local Area Committee.

It also raised money to the tune of £11,600 through a series of fundraising initiatives.

The Beeston park’s new pavilion will feature a canopy to the front, enabling performances to take place in poor weather.

Campaigners are hoping the building’s versatility will entice artists and audiences all year round.

FOCFP has for a decade been raising funds, applying for grants and organising clean-up campaigns and activities to help improve Cross Flatts Park, resulting in extensive regeneration in recent years.

Al Garthwaite, who is the FOCFP’s secretary, said the group is ‘delighted’ to have secured so much cash: “It is very unusual for a ‘friends’ group to obtain such a significant amount of funding.

“We have been fundraising for 10 years now, as well as consulting with the local community to work out exactly what the park needs.

“Not only will this makeover offer lasting social, cultural and environmental benefits to our community, it will also make the park a sought out destination for those living further afield,” he added.

Community charity Groundwork Leeds, which focuses on regeneration and environmental initiatives, is leading the project, which should be completed by the end of April.

Work has already been undertaken on the adjacent Millennium Garden, which benefited from new paving and refurbished seating.

Councillor Angela Gabriel added: “The Councillors on the Inner South Area Committee are delighted to be contributing funds to this project.

“The refurbished Watsonia Pavilion will provide a great facility and venue in the middle of Cross Flatts Park. We hope even more local groups will use it and continue to bring the park to life.”

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