Leeds Learning Site

In brief

· Worked with 3 neighbourhood networks.

· Trained and mentored 3 Community Builders.

· Supported the pilot of Small Sparks / matching fund processes.

“Nurture Development have both inspired and challenged us in our attempts to take a more asset-based approach in Leeds. Their support has been invaluable in helping us to reflect on our practice and encouraging us when we have hit a stumbling block”.

“Being part of a Learning Site has taught  me not to underestimate the time that is needed to make connections. The big difference has definitely been triggered by Community Builders and Connectors having conversations. It takes time. You can’t use a conventional project management approach. There is not a way to anticipate what is going to come out of this”.

Emma Carter, Commissioning Manager – Enterprise Contracts & Business Development Adult Social Care. Leeds City Council.


· Trained 3 Neighbourhood Networks Scheme workers as Community Builders

· Recruited more than 20 Community Connectors

· 14 new groups formed

Some examples of community action in Leeds


Leeds City Council Community Builder met with Robin, member of Middleton Elderly Aid, and supported him to start a local group where he teaches others to build walking sticks.

Robin has been making walking sticks for about 30 years, and so he set up the Walking Stick group for people to have a sociable dinner and a productive time making a walking stick.

The group started small and then others joined, usually making just one stick. Now a small group of men meet regularly to make sticks and even bring their own experiences to bear. They keep receipts and balance out the expenditure within the small sparks grant that enabled them to buy the first lot of materials like glue and the antlers used for handles. They continue to make and sell walking sticks for the community at affordable knock down prices.

Hare Hills area

A local resident told a Community Builder about her passion for poetry.

As a result, poet Michelle Scally Clarke led some sessions attended by people of different ages and nationalities, including an Afghani refugee whose journey to the UK was very long and traumatic who has set up a health group. Through the poetry group she improved her public speaking and writing skills, as well as regained confidence. Michelle Scally Clarke has also helped her write a book.

Click on the video to see interviews of Leeds Community Builders, Connectors, local residents  and more.

This video is part of the evaluation of the SeNS Project to reflect the journey the people in Leeds have towards locally initiated action for the whole community and provide material for discussion and development.

The film was commissioned by Leeds City Council and was released in October 2014.

Report on our work: An evaluation of Senior Network Support (Leeds) – SeNS. November 2014. Download here.

Which of our team members was in Leeds: Sarah Frost, Associate.

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