Call for community volunteers in Leeds to reduce flood risk

By Emily Smith

A volunteer day to reduce the risk of flooding in and around Horsforth has been hailed a “success” by organisers who urge others to get involved.

The River Stewardship Company hosted the volunteer day in partnership with Leeds City Council to help the environment and reduce the chances of flooding.

Sarah Emberson, 47, community and education officer of the River Stewardship Company said: “It was a success, we have targeted a specific area of 15 miles from the Apperley Bridge to Thwaite Mills.

“The work volunteers do includes pulling out Himalayan Balsam which is an invasive species and cutting back small willow trees and buddleia, as well as removing litter and debris.”

Volunteers tackle weeds

Source: The River Stewardship Company

The River Stewardship Company is hoping to deliver volunteer days once a fortnight in Leeds and the surrounding area.

Sarah said: “Volunteering on the river helps the environment greatly but is also very beneficial to the volunteers who get outdoors, do some physical work and meet and work with other people.

“People can join the volunteer days and get involved in any way they can with posting on social media to spread awareness.”

Horsforth residents are enthusiastic about volunteer efforts in the community.

Sophie Sinclair, 19 of St Margaret’s Vicarage said: “As part of the church I think it’s important for people to get involved in the community and get to know everyone in the process.”

One resident, Louise Richardson, 47, said: “The situation with the environment is quite terrifying at the moment and people should start making a difference.

“Now that I know how I can make a change I definitely want to get involved and give back to the community and our planet.”

Leeds City Council established the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme to decrease the risk of flooding.

The scheme was set up in response to the devastating Leeds Boxing Day flooding in 2015, which had a damaging effect on homes and businesses.

Costs are expected to reach £50 million to increase protection for Leeds and the surrounding area, making the scheme one of the largest flood alleviation schemes in the UK.

Volunteering has been encouraged by the council to restore wildlife and reduce the flood risk.

The River Stewardship Company is a social enterprise based in Sheffield and aims to help the environment by improving waterways.

The company is involved with local communities through volunteer days to encourage residents to look after the local environment.

To find out more about The River Stewardship company visit: http://www.the-rsc.co.uk/

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