Help Shape The Aireborough Festival – February 2015

festival1In February 2015 the Neighbourhood Development Forum are planning an Aireborough Festival:  two weeks of events to explore and celebrate our area and its people   

The aim is to look at what makes our area distinctive, so that we can build that into the neighbourhood plan, so the theme will be HONOURING THE PAST, VALUING THE PRESENT AND IMAGINING THE FUTURE.

  • PAST – Aireborough has a rich and varied history which we would like to explore and share.  What made this rural area a booming manufacturing town, with 5 national brands, a wealth of talented sportspeople, musicians, and of course, Sooty.
  • PRESENT – There are things happening in the present which we don’t like or value – over-development for one, congestion for another.  But, there are also many people beavering away at ‘good things’ – Friends groups,  successful textile businesses, and clubs to develop new skills – we should value this enterprise, promote it , and help to support it through local facilities.
  • FUTURE – We can let the future happen to us, or we can take control and shape it ourselves through the neighbourhood plan.  Leeds plans for extensive house building (and little else) but we know that local people have bigger, better, and more ingenious ideas.  From science parks, to well designed houses for life, to innovative transport solutions.  The Festival is the place to come and bring your ideas and explore potential.

The Festival will be held at Guiseley Theatre,  in the newly refurbished Offenbach room, (which is part of a project that will see the Theatre revamped and upgraded).  And,  if successful, we will roll it out to other locations eg Yeadon Town Hall.

We Now Need You

So,  the idea is to put together a programme of events covering afternoons and / or evenings for two weeks and get as many local organisations, businesses, local experts and speakers on the area and related topics as we possibly can.

The ideas we have had so far include:

  • A themed evening on aviation and the airport past, present and future. The airport is a major employer and has plans for the future for a local visitor economy.
  • As wool has played an enormous part in the history of the area, a presentation on the woollen industry and the part it has played in the economy, with perhaps, a workshop for children and their parents to have a go at carding, spinning and weaving/knitting using hand tools.
  • A history of one of our lost employers, Crompton Parkinson and the legacy they have left in local philanthropy.
  • Themed walks to examine architecture, shopping facilities, venues for adults and young people, traffic flow, pedestrian safety etc etc with workshops held to discuss findings and share photographs.
  • Films made in Aireborough by local enthusiasts.
  • Art, poetry, writing competitions for schoolchildren.
  • An arts fair to showcase local craftspeople
  • Informative talks about Neighbourhood Forums and their purpose.
  • A workshop to exchange ideas on how you would create a centre for Guiseley as it sadly lacks one at the moment.
  • Information on greenspaces and Leeds new plans to link these by footways.
  • Talks by localism experts.
  • Workshops on marketing and business perhaps linked with a jobs fair.

These are some of the ideas, but we are sure you could think of more. In fact we are asking you what would you like to see in this “Festival of Aireborough.   Guiseley, Hawksworth, High Royds, Rawdon and Yeadon.

Could you, or do you know of someone who could help with a talk or presentation about people, places, organisations or businesses in the area? Could you help with any of the ideas above? There is a wealth of knowledge and expertise out there and we would like to give you a showcase to demonstrate it.

As you can see this will involve a fair amount of man and woman power behind the scenes, so apart from looking for presenters and ideas we would be grateful for volunteers to help by manning the room while these activities are taking place.

So, if you can help in any way, with ideas, or volunteering your time, please email us at