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Generating hope in Chapeltown – is there an app for that?

By Carolyn Eden


Chapeltown might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think about going for a leisurely stroll, but organisers of a new guided walk are working to change that.

Theatre company Institute for Crazy Dancing has involved local artistes to create an interactive walk where people come together as a group to explore the Leeds suburb.

Activities on the route include following historic pathways, reading graffiti, playing a ball game, spotting squirrels, exploring community gardens and linking arms to walk with eyes closed.

Producer Jason Hird, 44, said: “The Hope Generator project was inspired by a local community dinner, where people talked about there being a lot of trouble in Chapeltown and I thought, that’s not the Chapeltown that I know.”

Mr Hird, from Potternewton Lane, worked with artistes Pauline Mayers, Zoe Parker and Vanessa Grasse, alongside students from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance on the different aspects of the walk.

“We wanted to go off the main route – because we rarely stray from the paths we know – trying to go to the different green and urban spaces,” said Mr Hird, who wants to create an app using GPS to enable the activities to be used in other areas.

Choreographer, Zoe Parker, 45, said: “We’ve spent five weeks walking around Chapeltown, where I’ve lived for 25 years – I’ve seen mosaics by Alan Pergusey I never knew existed.

“It’s interesting because I think the area has a negative history but if you walk around on foot you have the chance to talk to people and getting to know each other is what community is about.”

The route breaks half way through for homemade biscuits and tea, hosted in Ms Parker’s house on Newton Grove. She said: “It was nice to have so many people in my house and to be able to connect with the neighbourhood more.”

What do you think?