A firm belief of the Leeds Community Foundation is that everyone deserves a chance to make the most of their life and to reach their potential. The Canopy Housing Project equips local people with the practical construction skills to help them transform empty houses into much loved homes, which fully supports our ethic. At the end of each project a volunteer will move into the home.
Canopy Housing Project was first set up in 1996 when two residents decided to address the problem of the large number of empty or derelict properties in the Burley Lodge area of Leeds. They aimed to involve young and disadvantaged locals in renovating these properties and also to enable self help opportunities for the homeless. Over 500 volunteers have since been involved in the project and it has helped not only to regenerate the Burley lodge area but give the homeless opportunities to create decent homes for themselves.
A firm belief of the Leeds Community Foundation is that everyone deserves a chance to make the most of their life and to reach their potential. The Canopy Housing Project equips local people with the practical construction skills that help them to transform empty houses into much loved homes, which fully support our ethic. At the end of each project a volunteer will move into the home. Leeds Community Foundation first became involved in the project with an introductory grant that focused on a small group of 16-19 year olds. A number of the group were excluded from school or had experience of police custody but the process of engaging in problem solving and physically creating a home for one of their peers gave them a renewed attitude to their future. As a result of the project, two of them enrolled in NVQ programmes.
The Leeds Community Foundation continues to support this project with a number of grants and many inspiring stories continue to emerge. Bridget, a year long volunteer with Canopy, was unfortunately facing repossession of her home due to unemployment. Bridget became the self-helper on an empty house in Beeston and worked on it with a group of volunteers and trainees. When the bank seized Bridget’s old house, she was able to avoid homelessness by moving into the Canopy property she had helped transform into a decent home.
The project has achieved so much, and with the help of funding from Leeds Community Foundation it continues to make lasting improvements to the local environment, enable people to learn new skills, increase confidence and break down social barriers. It is a shining example of the type of regeneration LCF aims to facilitate, and Canopy has since developed partnerships with local councils and housing providers.