Standing up for Killingbeck and Sutton Park

The charitable arm of England’s largest housing association is flexing its muscles for the people of Leeds.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 1:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 2:02 pm
TRAILBLAZERS: Clarion Futures ambassadors scheme provides a voice for young people to help shape the communities they live in.

Clarion Housing Group has more than 360,000 residents nationwide and has properties in Killingbeck and Sutton Park.

Its charity, Clarion Futures Communities, has been helping people young and old as part of a £150 million decade-long programme across the country.

Local examples of providing support, skills and opportunities include youth sports projects and activities for the elder generation at Sutton Park, and the painting of The Pavilion community centre in Killingbeck by a group of young ambassadors.

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TRANSFORMATION: Allotments in Killingbeck have been radically improved after Clarion Futures and Hyde Park Source joined forces.

Jess Duggal, neighbourhood investment officer (North) for Clarion Futures Communities, said: “We look to provide opportunities for our residents and local community and to improve and better their lives. That can vary from younger people’s projects to older people’s projects. It can be just engaging residents or providing opportunities for volunteering and it can be providing funding too. We have community grants up to £5,000.

“We put on community projects that will better the estate where they live. We do various sports projects, we do outdoor projects, gardening, allotments and we do fundraising too.

“We also work with the Youth Association, which we commission to do the youth work on our estates. They look to try and identify the ambassadors, the young people who would like to do social action projects and make a difference. They will do youth work each week and build a positive relationship with young people and see what they would like to do on the estate and what difference they can make.

“We value young people’s voices and they are key. We need to know how young people are feeling and what their issues are.”

EYES DOWN: The community room at Sutton Park has its own bingo group.

“The Pavilion has been there for a very long time and had become quite dated. It’s a way of trying to bring that more into community use. The young people have ownership by taking part in the consultation, doing the painting so that they feel part of the project. They also feel they have done something meaningful.”

The association’s work also reflects the wide age range of people on its estates and their interests. The transformation of allotments in Killingbeck is a case in point.

Mr Duggal added: “On Killingbeck we have got an allotment area, which was derelict for a number of years. We worked with environmental charity Hype Park Source and managed to secure some funding to have it all improved. It was all overgrown for a number of years but now we have managed to transform all that.”

Other initiatives include sports project in Sutton Park, including work with Street Games. But it isn’t all about youth, Mr Duggal said: “We have got a community room at Sutton Park, we have got an active bingo group for example. We recognise that older people are just as important as the younger people.”

CHIPPING AWAY: Youngsters doing a stone carving session.

Other vital work is done through Clarion’s money section, which helps people manage their financial worries. It provides residents access to online banking, loans and savings products through national partner, Leeds Credit Union.

People are also helped into employment. Nationally, Clarion Futures’ jobs and training initiative supported 3,000 people into work between April 2017 and April 2018.