Renovating our water heritage to create a safe space for the community
Litter spilling over the banking and onto the towpath, overgrown greenery obstructing the cyclists’ routes and unsightly graffiti and tagging along the bridges – it’s time for us to take back the canal and give it a good old makeover to its former glory!
Our dedicated team are extremely passionate about Leeds' waterways, and we work hard to showcase them every year by hosting the fantastic Leeds Waterfront Festival. Our work doesn't stop there though...oh no! We create opportunities for people to engage with the waterways all year round, with free boat trips, creative projects, clothes exchanges, and an employability club as well as environmental volunteering opportunities. Our organisation, Canal Connections uses the water ways as a vehicle to engage and support businesses, families and individuals to dip their toe in the water and experience the captivating slow paced life that the canals and rivers bring.
Currently adopting and maintaining a stretch of water close to Thwaite Mills in Stourton, Canal Connections have been inspired to do the same along the Leeds & Liverpool canal in light of the 200th anniversary of its completion this year. To recognise this historic event, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society have organised an exciting journey recreation planned on 15th October. This has inspired us to try a more creative approach to tackling issues of litter and graffiti along the canal side. We're creating a beautiful colourful trail of creativity supported by clean up action to commemorate the start of the Kennet's journey and kickstart a longer term plan to create a space we can all be proud of and feel safe using.
Here are just a few examples of the work that needs to be done to spruce up the space, and we need your help to achieve it.
Armley Mills' gates
The gates at Armley Mills museum have been defaced by unsightly tagging, which will we transform with some dynamic graffiti. We’ve commissioned artist HYROGRAFF to repaint this gate and create a colourful mural inspired by the natural environment and heritage of the canal. He was an obvious person to call on after his project at Leeds Waterfront Festival, where he created an amazing graffiti boat, went down a storm with visitors, who enjoyed boat rides down the canal throughout the weekend. It was also the host of Radio Leeds’ canal stories – a week long broadcast where the host and presenter lived on the boat.
With a bit of TLC, these gates will be transformed to create a wonderful piece of art for passers-by.
Overgrow greenery leading to unsafe feeling
With this area of the canal become more and more popular with commuters making their way into the city, what better time than the upcoming bicentenary celebrations to target the area with a few renovations? Overgrown greenery, graffiti, litter and neglect are all contributing to this stretch feeling unsafe. We plan to renovate the area with our team of volunteers.
Unkempt car park
The pictured car park, located off Canal Road, Armley, is owned by Leeds City Council and has been left unkempt and unsightly. We’ll clean up and improve it before the mid-October; cutting back greenery, repainting bollards, removing litter and recovering signs.
Graffiti workshops to target anti-social behaviour
Certain areas along the canal are covered in tagging. These will be the targets of our graffiti workshops throughout September (more information on these is available here). Below is the outcome of the project from the festival in June, where local artist King Monk created a mural on a popular tagging spot on the waterways, Wellington Bridge. In September we'll finish what we started and inspire young people that are participating in the anti-social behaviour to refine their skills and become more creative!