Seeing is Believing

Canopy Housing Project is a self-help, community housing project which renovates derelict houses to create decent homes for homeless people. Volunteers work with the new tenants to decorate and furnish their new home. The project helps volunteers and tenants to learn new skills, increase their confidence and break down barriers whilst improving local neighbourhoods.

We commissioned Business in the Community (BITC) to organise a ‘Seeing is Believing’ visit to Beeston. The BITC programme engages large businesses with the issues their local communities face to encourage them to consider how they can help. The visits take small groups of business leaders to see the projects and meet the people working on them. Yorkshire Forward’s economic inclusion team co-ordinated the visit that was jointly led by BITC and Keith Froud, Senior Office Partner at Eversheds. Alan Matthews, Inclusion Manager at Yorkshire Forward, commented, “We wanted to link the people of Beeston to the opportunities created by our colleagues across Yorkshire Forward as they develop businesses and drive forward the renaissance agenda in Leeds.”
The ‘Seeing is Believing’ visit created an opportunity for businesses and communities to come together to discuss how they can help each other to the benefit of everyone.

Thriving people make thriving places

Beeston is one of the most deprived areas of Leeds facing challenges such as poor housing, low skills and aspirations and high unemployment. In stark contrast this deprivation exists in close proximity to the wealth and opportunity of the city centre.

But there’s more to Beeston. For one, it’s an amazingly diverse and vibrant place. Many nationalities and ethnicities live together. And there’s a variety of community-based organisations working to overcome the challenges Beeston face.

Increasingly, the community are driving the change taking place on Beeston Hill. Local schools, faith organisations, and voluntary and community groups develop and lead projects to achieve the change needed. But this change can’t happen in isolation; they need help to drive employment, develop business opportunities, and raise people’s aspirations.

Organisations such as Canopy benefit everyone; they’re giving homeless people the chance of a decent home they and the community can be proud of. Derelict houses are gaining a new lease of life, improving areas and making places people can be proud of. At Canopy the skills learned can be used by tenants and volunteers to help them in their future aspirations, whether they go on to employment or continue to volunteer.