Skip to main content
A family from Leeds visits Malham

Community engagement in Leeds

The Learning and Engagement team is currently running a sustained period of activity and engagement within the Inner East and North East Leeds wards of Chapeltown; Burmantofts and Richmond Hill; Gipton and Harehills and Killingbeck and Seacroft.

The team is working with residents living in and around the above areas to:

  • Raise awareness of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • Build connections between community groups, families, schools and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • We have collected various baseline data before starting the project which we plan to revisit again during and after the project has finished. We want to be able to measure the impact of working with community and school groups within one Geographical area.

We hope that by working in this way we can:

  • Get to know members of the community and provide an offer that they feel able to access.
  • Promote opportunities that are in line with local health and community needs.
  • Work with more groups than we might otherwise have been able to, share our offer more widely.
  • Work in a focused way to support community groups and their leaders in the area to feel confident and able to visit the National Park and other areas of green space independently.

Why East / North-East Leeds?

All wards contain high proportions of the under-represented groups with which the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority seek to engage with. We have chosen Gipton and Harehills as our initial area of focus for the following reasons:

  • People living in socio-economic disadvantage: The Gipton and Harehills ward has a GP-registered population of 39,874.
  • Harehills falls into the HATCH Local Care Partnership (LCP). The LCP classed as the most deprived is ‘Harehills’ with 100% of its population living in the most deprived 5th of Leeds.
  • Evidence shows that being in nature can boost your well-being and people from more deprived areas are less likely to visit green spaces, therefore adding to further health conditions and complications.
  • The local population – around one in three residents belong to BME communities. In 2011 14% of the population had been living in the UK for less than 10 years.

The GP recorded ethnicity within the ward is as follows:

  • White British 23.3% of the ward
  • Pakistani or British Pakistani 18.8% of the ward
  • Other white background 18.7% of the ward
  • Black African 8.8% of the ward

Children and Young people from urban areas:

  • The age profile of this ward is quite different to the rest of Leeds, with far fewer elderly and many more children. Nearly 25% of residents are under 19.
  • Research has also shown that children from more deprived areas are much less likely to spend time outside compared with those living in affluent areas.

People living with physical and/or mental health conditions:

  • Disabled people’s average well-being ratings in the UK were poorer than those for non-disabled people for happiness, worthwhile and life satisfaction measures; average anxiety levels were also higher.
  • Above-average smoking, diabetes and obesity which are all linked to lower levels of health.
  • Supporting people in recovering and reconnecting following the pandemic:

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the closest National Parks to Harehills. A 2021 Health Watch report highlighted the connection to “nature and the environment has the potential to enhance lives” in Harehills.

Aims and objectives of the project

  • To raise awareness of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and link this learning with local green spaces.
  • Inspire people to care for and connect with the natural environment.
  • Reduce social isolation by connecting people with their local community whilst on trips to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with the hope that this connection would continue following the sustained period of engagement.
  • Support groups and families to visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • Support community groups in the area to expand their connection to nature projects into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • Support the LCP priority of Diabetes reduction and prevention (high prevalence in the area).
  • Empower and equip the community with the skills and resources needed to continue visits to the National Park.


  • Raise awareness of and educate about the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • Empower groups and families to visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • Facilitate a long-standing connection between local schools, community groups and families to the Yorkshire Dales National Park by demonstrating the importance of connecting this community to the National Park.

Proposed Activities

  • Build relationships and promote ongoing connections with local groups. Offer one-off visits linked to the Engagement and Wellbeing offer.
  • Implement regular bus routes to Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • Arts and nature connection projects with local organisations, incorporating visits to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • Community days e.g. Go Wild Days.
  • Support LCP priority of Diabetes through our offer.
  • Compliment local conservation/access to green space projects.
  • Train local community ‘champion’ walk and activity leaders.

Activities with families

  • Provide opportunities for families such as guided walks, educational sessions, days and residential.
  • Our Upland Commons and John Muir award.
  • Dark skies and well-being residential.

Activities with schools

  • Curriculum-based outdoor and environmental learning for school groups in the locality of the school and in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for pupils of all ages.
  • Support with GCSE and A level Geography and Science based fieldwork.
  • Engagement with the ‘Our Upland Commons’ project, including involvement with the John Muir Award.
  • Lessons and assemblies about National Parks and their role.
  • Supporting teachers to develop their skills and confidence to deliver outdoor learning and environmental education in their locality.

Leeds Beckett University has met with some of the people who have taken part in our first year of our work in East Leeds.

If you would like to be involved in our work in East Leeds please contact Kiri Wood, Engagement and Wellbeing Officer in the Yorkshire Dales National Park by email: