Silsden firefighters help community to connect

Firefighters in Silsden have created several new initiatives to help make their community feel more connected, after the Coronavirus pandemic led to residents reporting feelings of loneliness.

Photograph of Firefighters and Volunteers in the Silsden Community garden.

A community garden and a series of wellbeing and connectivity events are now launching after locals chatted to firefighters and spoke about their difficulties during the last 18 months. The beautiful new garden, which features plants and flowers as well as two benches to rest on came after speaking to those who would walk up Elliot Street past the fire station and sit on the railing for a break.

When firefighters took them out a soft drink while they got their breath back, they chatted and became inspired by the idea of a community garden – somewhere to rest and chat to others, while enjoying the plants and flowers. All of the crew were really keen to get involved, and such was the enthusiasm the garden was created in just one month. This was done in their own time, the firefighters met on a weekend to create it.

Crews were assisted in their endeavour by others, including a generous donation from a local trust fund the Tillotson Trust, a wellbeing grant from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, and a local café, called Crumbs, who did a fundraiser. In addition to this two benches were donated and the Friends of Silsden Green Places assisted firefighters with the planting and selection of plants.

The garden officially opened today (Wednesday 1st September).

In addition to the garden project crews are also holding sessions every other Wednesday to connect those in the area who are feeling isolated or lonely.

Watch Commander Dom Creed has been leading on the team project.

He said: “During our work we encounter people from all different backgrounds, and we’re sad to see some people feeling isolated and lonely. Our message to anyone feeling like that is to come enjoy the garden,or if you prefer come on Wednesdays to the sessions to meet others. We are a friendly bunch and love connecting with our local community.

“The garden has been a project we’ve been really passionate about here at the fire station. The area before was just grass before so we really wanted to brighten it up and make it something the community could enjoy.

“We know the last 18 months have been really difficult for a lot of people, so this is just our small way of giving back.”

Locals can come along for a coffee/tea morning every other Wednesday, between 9.30 am and 11.30 am, at Silsden Fire Station. There will be refreshments and a chance for people that are feeling socially isolated to meet others including the firefighters.

Silsden fire station is an on-call fire station – meaning it is staffed by on-call firefighters. If you want to be an on-call firefighter and help protect your community then visit – we’re recruiting at several stations across West Yorkshire.