City buzzing thanks to successful Craftivism campaign

Leeds Craftivists are delighted to share that as a result of their campaign highlighting the lack of biodiversity in Leeds city centre, Leeds City Council have granted permission for wildflowers to be planted at various sites across the city centre.

As our city has developed, Leeds Craftivists (a community of Leeds Sanctuary) noticed that there was a distinct lack of biodiversity in our city centre, which can create short-term and longer-term issues for both human and ecological health. We decided to join in with the RSPB “Attack on Nature” campaign, and invited other local people to craft two bees – one to be sent to their local MP, with a letter encouraging them to take action in both nurturing and protecting biodiversity, and the second to be sent to Leeds Craftivists as part of a collective local “ask” to create a pollinator corridor in our city centre. We are so pleased to say that Leeds City Council were really receptive to the campaign, and began planting wildflower seeds in planters around the city at the beginning of June!

“We were thrilled with the response from communities across Leeds and the City Council” said Anna Bland, Team Leader of Leeds Sanctuary and Leeds Craftivists. “It will be so wonderful to see the wildflowers come up later this summer. Looking after our pollinators is vital and this feels an important step in the right direction of making Leeds City Centre the richly biodiverse place we all want it to be.”

Councillor Paul Wray of Hunslet and Riverside said “Projects like these will create vital oases and nature bridges for pollinators and other wildlife to travel across and live within the city centre. There is no reason why the city centre cannot be a vibrant hive of wildlife and human activity at the same time. For city centre residents, having nature on their doorstep is also important for their health.”

Biodiversity isn’t just about wildlife, but all life on earth. Humans, animals, plants – our entire eco-system – cannot flourish without it. Living in ecological community is essential for clean air and water, and our immediate health; as well as longer term food security and the abilities of individual species of wildlife to thrive. Wildflowers provide food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators, and so planting them in our city centre will support biodiversity across Leeds. You can listen to a discussion about the value of biodiversity on the Leeds Sanctuary Podcast.

This Leeds Craftivists campaign took place over three monthly sessions from January to March – two online and one in-person, with digital resources available for those who are not local to Leeds but share similar concerns about lack of biodiversity in their locality. The first meeting laid a foundation for the basis of the campaign, providing an opportunity to share information about the value of biodiversity, and encouragement in our activism. We provided suggestions for how to craft a bee by crocheting, knitting, drawing, stitching (any form of craft will do!) and provided a variety of resources at our in-person session, though craftivists were also welcome to bring their own projects along. We follow this same format for each of our quarterly campaigns, which in the past have included a blanket on the theme of the Cost of Living Crisis and an art installation using water droplets on the theme of Water Quality.

Head to the Leeds Craftivists page on our website, or check them out on Instagram.

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