We are calling on the spirit of community in our search for talented locals as our new housing development in Bramley, Leeds, celebrates its official opening on Friday 31 March 2017. The £5.4-million development at Copper Beech Avenue replaces the former Mount Cross Families Centre and supported housing for single women and families experiencing homelessness. It now comprises affordable homes and we, with the Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA), want to continue to build the strong sense of community already fostered through the onsite nursery by seeking out locals willing to share their talents, skills and hobbies to empower others and create a real sense of unity. Salvation Army church leader Captain Caroline Heward says: “A thriving community isn’t one that divides and separates its members, but one in which individuals can come together and learn from and empower each other. So, it makes sense that, at the heart of this brand new community, The Salvation Army is continuing its 150-year work of offering welcome, support and friendship by discovering what opportunities people would like to uncover and to encourage them to commit their time and skills to benefit everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing how we harness people’s talents and interests to ensure Bramley continues to be a thriving community.” Nigel Parrington, SAHA Chief Executive, says the standard of the development is second to none: “A lot of thought has gone into those added extras that really make a house a home; not only have we been able to provide excellent long-term homes for people but also a place where we can work together to understand what our community wants to see happen where they live. “The housing created was very intentional. To reflect the needs of a community we created a development that included a range of accommodation such as detached and semi-detached houses, two and three bedroom houses and one-bed apartments. This was key in ensuring there was a strong mix of families and couples, younger and older people. There’s a real sense that, as a community, when we’re together we are stronger, and by pulling together people of diverse ages and walks of life, this can be a reality in Bramley. “As we officially open the site, it’s a great time to acknowledge all those who supported and contributed to making this such a successful development, including Strategic Team Group, Gleeds, Novus Solutions, DK Architects, HJP Surveyors, as well as Leeds City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, which provided grant funding in addition to our own.” National leader Territorial Commander Clive Adams and saha chairman Commissioner John Matear conducted the ceremony and resident Amy Emmerson and her son, Jack, representing the new tenants, also took part. Amy and Jack previously lived at Mount Cross, where staff had supported the mother and son who were without accommodation – Jack also attended Copper Beech Nursery, where Amy works. At the nursery Amy was encouraged to apply for one of the new homes at Copper Beech, and her application was successful. Amy said: “We are so happy! It is lovely to stay somewhere we can call our home. Receiving one of the houses near the nursery has benefitted us so much as I am closer to work and Jack now has a garden to play in and a larger bedroom. I am close to my friends and work colleagues and our neighbours are all so lovely and friendly. “We definitely won’t be moving for a very, very long time!” Saha housing officer Andy Bargewell and Captain Caroline Heward are now based at Copper Beech’s hub and will be looking to find ways of harnessing the talents of local people to build up the Bramley community.