Our Vision

Welcome to the Friends of Leeman Park. We are a group of volunteers started in August 2014 with a vision to smarten and enhance Leeman Park, Back Park and our overall neighbourhood.

Our achievements to date include...

  • Smartening Cinder Lane tree bases, painting the entire 1/3 mile wall and planting bulbs under all the trees
  • Creating a nature reserve at the end of Balfour Street
  • Creating a community orchard behind the war memorial
  • Creating an Edible York community allotment in Back Park
  • Many, many small improvements and fixes, graffiti removal, litter picking and general smartening.

... But most importantly we've built an engaged community that is taking the destiny of its neighbourhood in its own hands. Join us!

We Celebrate Three Months

Group social event

Fourteen members of the group met at the Leeman Pub on Tuesday 11th to celebrate all that we have achieved in our first three months.

The landlady of The Leeman, Sue, was exceptionally kind in putting on a generous buffet for the group (free of charge as a token of thanks for what we've done for our community). We also premiered our 'First Three Months' video and had a York Trivia quiz.

Phase 2 Begins

We're now a non-profit organisation!

So far we have simply been an informal group of volunteers, making improvements with just our own manpower and tools supplied by the council. This evening seventeen members of our group met to formalise ourselves into a constituted group with a committee such that we can now apply for funding and broaden our activities.

We have agreed a constitution, formed a committee, allocated leadership roles and agreed our direction for our first ward funding bid. Minutes of the meeting will be distributed to all our volunteers soon.

Autumn Leaves

We are making an effort to keep on top of leaves on the path this year. You might think this is a bit pointless, but we're not doing it to make the place look tidier. In previous years the leaves have been left to rot down on the path, making the surface exceptionally slippy for cyclists and pedestrians, especially when the icy weather follows.

We have acquired a leaf sweeper from Barnitts, which is working wonderfully to gobble up large quantities of leaves. We also intend to salt the path this winter, again to make our route in to town safer for all.

Royal Mail alley cleared

Once again, the Friends if Leeman Park group have shown that were willing and able to sort things wherever we see the need. The alley between York Station and Royal Mail was getting increasingly overgrown with vegetation growing through the fence. This was significantly narrowing the available space, causing contention between pedestrians and cyclists.

This is a piece of maintenance normally done by Network Rail, but given our excellent relationship with our contact there, we were more than happy to get this job done.

More Graffiti Gone

Many of our improvements are inspired by commitment to build our community and put our neighbourhood on an upbeat trend rather than in decline. Of all our improvements, graffiti management probably has the biggest impact on making our neighbourhood feel like a positive place to live.

The Friends of Leeman Park group is now connected with the various stakeholders in order to maintain sustainable control over graffiti, since different surfaces have responsibility with either Council, Network Rail or privately, but we are now able to react quickly and coordinate the best response.

Nature reserve created

This week the temporary fencing for the flood defence works has come down and with very kind cooperation from York Council, the Environment Agency and Balfour Beatty we have been able to retain a short section of the fence to form the boundary of a new nature reserve.

The fence will ensure the area remains a no-mow area and will give nature a chance to take over, adding extra habitat for wildlife. Our intention is to plant native hedging along the boundary and take down the fence in a few years when it is all established.

Balfour St and Swinerton Ave corner cleared

While preparing for the new nature reserve we noticed that the corner of Swinerton Avenue and Balfour Street was in need of a tidy with the vegetation from the park creeping over on to the path. As ever, wherever we see a need, we are keen to address it, and especially because we want to be sure that the new nature reserve it seen in a positive light, we were keen too smarten up the boundary fence.

Two pieces of great news!

The Leeman Park friends have received two bits of fantastic news this week...

Firstly, our contact at Network Rail has done us proud in arranging the paint so that we can smartly paint the Cinder Lane wall top to bottom, edge to edge (rather than just patches over the graffiti). A paint order has been placed so soon we will be putting away our spades and brooms and picking up brushes and rollers!

Path Progress

We are continuing to make great progress on smarting Cinder Lane cycle and foot path. This weekend we've completed the edging of the cycle path. By removing grass that was growing over the edge, drainage should hopefully be better and by taking back over a foot of impeding grass in places, adding much valued space for cyclists.

We've also continued to smarten tree bases, so with just eight trees to go, the end of that task is in sight.

York Tree Wardens free trees

Leeman Park Volunteer Jo is also a volunteer tree warden, and this afternoon she brought along two of her friends, Alison and Andy to liberate two of our trees that were imprisoned in their tree guards, having out grown them for many years.

Both an oak tree and a hornbeam were so overdue having their tree guards removed that the wire mesh had to be cut away piece by piece and in places the branches have grown with the mesh through them.


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