Young offenders help transform wasteland into green haven - media opportunity

Young people who are involved with Leeds youth offending service and West Yorkshire probation service have worked together to create an environmental haven for pupils at a Leeds school.

The young people were joined by staff and volunteers to transform a disused area at Burley Park pupil referral unit (PRU) into a safe and peaceful garden for both staff and pupils to enjoy. The new outdoor space includes a reflective area, an outdoor learning environment, basketball and football areas, raised beds for growing fruits and veg, a wildflower border and sustainable planting.

Media opportunity:

When: Thursday 12 June at 11am

Where: Key Stage 3 PRU, Burley Park Centre, Cardigan Lane, Burley, LS4 2LE

What: Service users, staff, pupils and volunteers will be officially opening the new garden they have helped to create. Photographs and interviews will be available.

The project involved service users and staff from all organisations involved, turning a disused area into a green haven, to help promote learning around environmental issues, to create a tranquil reflective space for pupils to use for recreation and learning. Young people who attend Burley Park have also been taking part in workshops, run by Leeds City Council’s green doctors, to learn about sustainable planting and growing your own vegetables.

The garden took over five months to create and involved pupil consultation in the design process, workshops around environmental issues, art and media workshops, with pupils engaging with local media organisations to create a film and radio podcast about the project.

The initiative was organised by Leeds City Council’s youth offending service and West Yorkshire probation service and brought together a whole host of organisations including:

Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside team, environmental services and

community safety.

HMP Wetherby YOI

Leeds College of Building

East Leeds FM Radio.

Equilateral Media.

Seagulls paints

Elizabeth Daley – garden designer – Volunteer.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive member responsible for learning, who will be attending tomorrow’s opening event, said:

“Helping to create this garden has been a fantastic opportunity for young people who’ve been in trouble, to demonstrate to the community that they are willing to make amends and do something practical which will make a great difference for the pupils and staff at Burley Park.

“These youngsters are often under a lot of pressure to return to criminal behaviour, so by getting involved in positive work like this, through the youth offending service, they are provided with an opportunity to do something meaningful and also develop useful skills.”

The project received a special commendation at the Ranstaad Awards, which aims to improve educational attainment for pupils through innovative projects, and was the only school from the north of England to be shortlisted. The judges commented it was a superb example of collaborative working.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk