Each of the 15 benches created through this initiative, came with a grant to help support community groups commission artists to decorate them, and to install and maintain them.
We wanted the benches to reflect the incredible way each community has come together during the Covid-19 pandemic. Much like our Blue Plaques, we wanted to commemorate this time in our shared history by bringing a bit of colour to our streets.
As well as providing a useful place to sit, benches have also traditionally been used to commemorate people and events. However, we wanted to do something bolder than the usual brass plaque and these hand- painted benches tell their own individual stories.
We were overwhelmed with the positive response to the project. We selected 15 different groups and locations across Leeds, from Guiseley to Beeston, Horsforth to Gipton, each bench is unique and placed so that the whole community can enjoy them!
So far, we have seen the launch of 4 benches, with more being revealed any moment, so stay tuned. As soon as a bench is launched it will appear here! Below you can see the benches that have been launched and read a bit about the stories behind them.
Please also check out our Take A Seat Map below which shows you where each of the benches are or will be located. Please note that not all the benches are in situ yet so please check before you set off on the benches trail!
A BBC Leeds interview where we chat about the project with Gayle Lofthouse can be listened to here at 1:45 mins in!
Friends Of Springfield & Guiseley Wells bench is located at Guiseley Wells, and has been designed by Lucy Phillips of Codswallop CIC. The illustrations were inspired by stories told by local residents describing how they used the natural environment to cope with the negative impact on their mental health during the first lockdown.
The Old Fire Station bench is located in Gipton and was designed by Buttercrumble. Their design included the call to action ‘Get Together’ as a reminder that we are stronger together, as well as a celebration of how the community supported each other throughout the lockdowns.