Organisations such as businesses, charities and public sector organisations are choosing group volunteering as a team building exercise with a difference.
Leeds is one of the most vibrant cities in the UK and has been highly successful in encouraging businesses to invest here. Our parks and green spaces are a key factor in making sure Leeds is seen as an attractive place to live, visit and work.
Volunteers from businesses across Leeds have joined Parks and Countryside in helping us improve parks and green spaces in the city.
Spaces we manage
With almost 4.000 hectares of green spaces in Leeds, there are lots of opportunities for businesses to get involved and make a difference. These include:
- six city parks including Roundhay, Temple Newsam and Lotherton
- 65 community parks such as Harehills, Cross Flatts and Pudsey park
- 1,200 hectares of woodland
- 47 cemeteries and churchyards
- 180 nature areas including Otley Chevin, Middleton Woods and Meanwood Valley
- 97 allotment sites
- 500 miles of public rights of way
We also manage many more sites including golf courses, sports pitches, bowling greens, pocket parks, war memorials and a plant nursery. You can be sure there will always be something to suit your organisation.
Types of tasks
Tasks can involve:
- wildlife conservation such as tree planting, pond clearance or wildflower meadow maintenance
- parks management such as planting flowers, painting playgrounds, pruning, weeding and mulching
- rights of way maintenance such as path resurfacing, constructing steps or cutting back
- allotment clearance to enable more communities to grow food locally
We provide a professionally led, safe, flexible and highly enjoyable experience. Tools, training, and refreshments are provided on the day.
Current group opportunities
Cemeteries and Crematoria
Leeds has 24 municipal cemeteries and three crematoria, including the fascinating Lawnswood Cemetery, together with the two oldest municipal cemeteries in the country. These spaces hold special value for the people who visit to remember their loved ones.
They also provide large areas of green space with an often unique collection of wildlife and a rich architecture, and provide an insight into the fascinating cultural history of Leeds and the people that shaped the city into what it is today.
Our top priority is to increase volunteer support in our cemeteries. We are looking for teams of five or more to join us to help improve and maintain the cemeteries of Leeds.
Volunteer opportunities in local cemeteries and crematoria include:
- resurfacing and edging paths
- cutting back vegetation and over-hanging branchesing memorials
- painting benches and other site furniture
- improving floral displays
- enhancing wildlife areas
- inscribing gravestones, making it easier to find historically important memorials
We were recently awarded funding from the Wade’s Trust to improve Armley and Gotts parks and to increase the use of them by local people.
There is a large amount of work needed to improve these parks and we are looking for teams of 5 to 15 people from local businesses to help make a difference.
Volunteering opportunities include:
- helping to turn the rose garden into a community garden
- improving the paths, steps and woodland trail
- dry stone walling along Lantern Lane
- woodland management
- improving floral displays
- litter picking
We have funding for much of the work, but we would still welcome any cash contributions towards tools and equipment needed for working with large groups of volunteers.
Leeds has a wealth of rich and diverse habitats. These include the heathlands of Chevin Forest Park, the wildflower meadows of Townclose Hills, the ancient woodland of Middleton Woods and rare wetlands of Breary Marsh.
These habitats provide a refuge for a wealth of wildlife, from birds to butterflies, glow worms to newts but require a lot of management to keep them in the best condition for the animals and plants.
We are looking for teams to join us in the autumn and winter (when it would cause the least disturbance to wildlife) to help protect and enhance some of these wonderful habitats. Volunteer tasks may include:
- planting trees or wildflower plugs
- thinning woodlands to give specific trees more space to grow
- cutting grass and removing the hay to improve wildflower meadows
- clearing excessive plant growth from ponds to help the pond life
- removing non-native, invasive species that are a risk to our native wildlife
- removing encroaching scrub to protect valuable heathlands
- creating new habitats, such as digging ponds
A cash contribution would also help by allowing us to purchase trees, shrubs or wildflowers or even specialist tools, such as scythes or hay rakes, so that we can better manage meadows with large groups of people.
Big litter picks
Our green spaces suffer from littering and fly-tipping. We remove a massive amount of this litter every day, but the sites would benefit from additional help to keep the 4000 hectares of green space that we manage clean.
This litter not only makes the place look messy, places with lots of litter look uncared for and unsafe, and it puts people off using their them. It can also be hazardous to people and wildlife.
What you can achieve in a day can make a massive difference to a green space and will be a very rewarding experience for those involved.
We are looking for teams of 10 to 20 people to carry out big litter picks at the following green spaces:
- Armley Park
- Bramley Bluebell Woods
- Hunslet Moor
- Lime Pitts and Ramshead Wood
- Houghley Ghyll
- West Wood
Some green spaces will require us to hire a skip and portable toilet facilities and because of this, there may be a charge of up to £250. Please check when booking.
Rights of way
Leeds has over 500 miles of public rights of way, such as footpaths and bridleways, which can lead you through rich and varied landscapes, and from urban areas to glorious countryside.
This public rights of way network provides the key to exploring much of the countryside of Leeds, whether it be for active pursuits such as walking, cycling or horse-riding, or more leisurely strolls.
This public rights of way network also requires a lot of resources to keep it in a safe and useable condition, with tasks including cutting back encroaching vegetation and over-hanging branches in autumn and winter, scraping off grass and soil to expose the surfaced track, resurfacing and edging paths, constructing styles, gates and other access features and installing directional signage to help people navigate the network.
We are looking for teams of ten or more volunteers to help us maintain this massive network of paths.
In many cases we may need to ask for a contribution towards these projects, as directional signage and materials for access features can be expensive.
Sponsoring green spaces
As well as volunteering their time, local businesses support public open spaces through various other schemes, including Leeds in Bloom sponsorship, making charitable donations to the Leeds Parks fund and in-kind support for local community groups who dedicate their time to improve the environment of Leeds.
The Parks and Countryside service offers a wide range of sponsorship opportunities that businesses can use to promote themselves whilst helping to improve the environment of Leeds. These include:
Your organisation can support local parks through the new community park sponsorship scheme. Local community groups decide how the funds are spent on improving the park and sponsors are acknowledged on entrance signs. Corporate volunteering opportunities are also available free to park sponsors.
Roundabout sponsorship provides an excellent opportunity to promote your business in high traffic locations and support the successful Leeds in Bloom scheme.
Help beautify urban areas by sponsoring a planter, opportunities are currently available in the city centre.
If you would like to get involved, email
firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know:
- when you would like to volunteer (month, date range or a few specific dates)
- how many people would be likely to come along
- where you'd be able to get to in Leeds
- if you have a preference for a particular kind of task
You will receive an email auto-reply with information about what happens next.