A small group of dedicated citizens in East Bierley are keen to look after a special local place. The Friends of Toftshaw Pit Hill want to give some love and attention to the woodland, grassland, hedgerows and pond of Pit Hill. They’re aiming to bring life back to this natural asset, so it can provide a habitat for wildlife and joy for local people all year round.
The group are embracing the opportunity to access the Growing Great Places crowdfunding programme, run by the Democracy Service at Kirklees Council and our partners Spacehive. They hope to get enough backers for their project to help with restoration of the pond. This will stop the pond drying out, improve access and increase people’s enjoyment of the site.
Through a labour intensive process of digging out the pond, creating reed beds to improve the water quality and constructing accessible paths, they hope to create a place that people of all ages can come to enjoy the wildlife. A dipping pond will allow safe access for exploring the pond and new benches will provide a space for quiet contemplation.
The aim isn’t just to restore and improve the use of Pit Hill itself, but to foster a stronger sense of community and sense of place amongst local people, who can become more involved in the site overall. Leading on the development of the project, Vivienne Cochrane told us how the project can benefit local people:
“The area around Toftshaw Hill Pit is very built up. The woods and pond are a natural asset that’s underused at the moment. Planting wildflowers and replacing fencing are constant little things we do that make a difference, but bringing the pond back to life and rejuvenating the paths will really transform the place.
“All of a sudden it will be somewhere the local Brownies, Scouts and Cubs groups can visit, along with local schools like East Bierley First School and Birkenshaw Primary. The pond will become an attraction for wildlife which will mean a better opportunity for these young people to learn about and enjoy the natural environment.
“But the opportunity reaches the wider community too and families will be able to walk in the woods. Maybe the young people will be able to teach their parents a thing or too.”
At the time of writing, over 30 citizens have already made pledges towards the £8,287 Toftshaw Pit Hill Pond Project’s crowdfunding target. In recognition of this local support, Kirklees Council have pledged £5,000 through our Growing Great Places programme.
This is a great start and the group hope more people, organisations or local businesses will also get involved and back the project.
Vivienne says: “It would be great if local businesses could make pledges to the fund or donate things which will help us make the most of this opportunity to bring to life a place that all the community can enjoy.”