Canopy renovates empty and derelict houses that have been standing empty
for years, and transforms them into homes through the hard work and commitment
of their volunteers and tenants.
Canopy provides decent affordable accommodation for people that are homeless
or in housing need
Our volunteers are an enthusiastic, interesting and diverse group of people
from the local community and local schools and they do the practical work
to renovate the houses, including light building work, plastering, painting,
decorating, carpeting and tiling.
Empty and derelict houses blight an area and can become sites for vandalism
and rubbish dumping. The community focus and small size of the project enables
Canopy to renovate the properties, maintain lengthy tenancies and to respond
to anti social behaviour and maintenance problems quickly. All this contributes
to quality of the local environment for residents.
Canopy provides a ‘self-help’ housing opportunity for people
that are homeless, which means they have the opportunity to participate
in the renovation and decorating of their new home alongside the volunteers
and can choose how they would like their house to look prior to moving
Canopy brings together many individuals from different communities in
the local area, including people from different age groups and with differing
abilities. Canopy facilitates an opportunity for people from different
backgrounds to interact and learn from each other’s experiences
and skills. There is a real need for projects like Canopy that can pull
different strands of the community together and overcome ignorance and
Canopy has developed partnerships with local housing providers and the
local authority and has negotiated lease arrangements on each of the properties,
allowing us to work together to overcome the problems caused by empty
and derelict housing.
If you would like more information on Canopy
Housing Project please see our Resources page which includes translated information, annual reports, leaflet and film.
Our current aims:
• To work with homeless people in the renovation of disused properties
to create homes that are secure, affordable and decent
• To ensure that those working on their future home participate
fully in all aspects of the project’s work and gain renewed confidence
in their abilities and personal satisfaction in their achievements
• To bring together local communities to contribute towards the
regeneration of inner city areas and foster a sense of community cohesion
• To support previously homeless persons to integrate into their
new communities, in maintaining their tenancies, and in their efforts
to contribute to the social and economic life of the region
• To involve and support disadvantaged local people, particularly
the young, in the work of Canopy in order to further their abilities and
help them access training and employment
• To share the experience, successes and failures, of our project
with relevant organisations and groups so that they might learn from our
experiences and the project’s model
A history of Canopy
1996 - Two local residents get together to address the
problems of the large numbers of derelict and empty properties in the
Burley Lodge area of Leeds. They want to get local people involved, particularly
those who are young and disadvantaged, in the work and create self help
opportunities for homeless people to work to create decent homes for themselves
1997 - Planning takes shape and Canopy works with Leeds City Council and
Leeds Federated Housing Association to access empty properties.
Fundraising work begins to bear fruit and renovation work starts on the
project base and resource centre at 66 Burley Lodge Road. Canopy starts
work on its first house in October
1998 - Canopy takes legal form and is officially registered as “an
Industrial and Provident Society for the benefit of the community”.
Volunteer involvement continues to grow and Canopy volunteers set up Hyde
Park Source, working to renovate bin yards in Burley Lodge area
1999 - Work is completed on the project base with kitchen, workshop, office
and meeting facilities. Canopy Apprenticeship Project scheme implemented
2000 - Development work starts for replicating Canopy’s work into
the Beeston Hill area of South Leeds
2001 - The project in South Leeds gets started, called Beecan (Beeston
Canopy) it starts work on the project resource centre at 114 Lady Pit
Lane. The window box scheme is implemented through the Burley Lodge area
2002 - Canopy expands to commence a bin yard project in East End Park,
over the next two years the project renovates 42 bin yards to create communal
areas for residents. In Hyde Park we complete our last house, our 20th,
in the area and within months the first house in Beeston is started
2004 - Canopy begins to formerly develop its work with the refugee and
asylum community, providing housing and volunteer opportunities, amongst
its existing diverse beneficiaries. We share office space with refugee
2006 - Canopy says no thanks to the Supporting People program, restructures
and refocuses on the housing renovations and volunteer program in Beeston.
We also start to take on some properties in Holbeck.
2007 - The project has now worked with over 400 volunteers and completed
a total of 36 property renovations.
Our volunteer program is awarded the Investing in Volunteers standard.
2008 - Canopy begins work in Harehills with the support of many local volunteers and organisations. ENEHL supports Canopy with the provision of empty homes, the first of which is turned into a workshop and office with facilities for volunteers, tenants and local residents.
2009 - Canopy continued renovations in Harehills and celebrated a 5 year Big Lottery grant to fund the Harehills project. 100 volunteers contributed an astonishing 1227 days in total.
Canopy’s Management Committee
Canopy is governed by a management committee made up of about six to nine
people. Together they form the legally responsible body that oversees
our work. They bring expertise from many walks of life to Canopy and are
from backgrounds which represent the kind of people we work with eg people
from other community organisations, from training provider and referral
agencies, and from the local authority and other statutory agencies, they
also represent and include the people that Canopy was set up to help,
our tenants, our volunteers and the local community.
They have a number of responsibilities to make sure the project keeps
running properly but most importantly they ensure that our work remains
focused on the people who we were set up to help: people facing homelessness,
those facing disadvantage, those in need of opportunities and support,
and as a focus for community based activity.
If you feel you may have knowledge and skills that could be useful for
managing a project like Canopy and are interested in joining the management
committee, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.