100 Club: director at Linley and Simpson
Will Linley, Director at Linley and Simpson, is a member of the Leeds Community Foundation’s 100 Club, a patronage scheme for individuals who are motivated to make a difference in Leeds.
Here, he discusses what he loves about the city, and why she’s involved in the foundation.
What is your favourite thing about Leeds?
Its green space. Despite its industrial heritage, it’s often overlooked that more than a fifth of our city is green space – one of the highest percentages in the UK. Having so much healthy green space and parks on our doorstep is a rare community asset. It’s also one of the factors that people relocating to Leeds tell us they are most surprised about.
What is your ideal day out in Leeds?
I’m a family man. So it’s important to me to ensure I maintain the best work and life balance – and a day out exploring in Leeds enables me to do just that. It’s a city so rich in diversity. From places to enjoy a family meal, to its shopping, to its sporting events, there’s always something new to discover. We’d top it off at Leeds Arena, something that’s added an extra dimension to a day – and night – out in Leeds.
What is the best lesson you have learned in business?
Empowering others with your trust and confidence to do their job, and allowing them to thrive. There’s no shortage of home-grown skills here in Leeds and it’s important to cultivate our talent pool. No business will grow without equipping good people with this opportunity – and you will be rewarded for it. The same small team we started with 22 years ago still works with us!
What single thing do you think could help the city?
Leeds is a loveable city – but it has to be liveable too. So a truly joined-up, and more family-friendly, development plan for the city centre and surrounding area would be top of the wish list. And the good news is that there is a gilt-edged opportunity standing in front of us, with the Leeds Innovation District, the £60m Housing Infrastructure Fund bid, and the impressive plans for the South Bank all having huge potential. The focus cannot solely be on yet more high-rise apartments. We need to create other types of housing – we are crying out for family homes – as well as the education, health and transport infrastructure, and open space, to give a better balance to Leeds’ future.
What inspired you to join the 100 Club?
My long-standing friend and fellow agent Jonathan Morgan – who set up in Leeds in 1997 like ourselves – highlighted the positive difference it was making. As Linley & Simpson has grown in recent years, so too has our CSR programme. The 100 Club gives us another opportunity to join like-minded people in giving something back to the community while we are all fortunate enough to enjoy success in business. We are delighted to be a cog in this wheel of change.
What community issues are important for you?
We support people from all walks of life and of all ages – from children’s sports teams, to helping to banish loneliness and isolation in Leeds’ ageing community. But having been in property throughout my career, it’s natural that housing is close to my heart. Everybody deserves a roof over their head and the amount of rough sleeping across the UK is a growing concern many of us will share. We support a number of homeless charities in North and West Yorkshire, including St George’s Crypt here in Leeds, and have taken part in the Simon on the Streets initiative in the city for several years. However, more investment and action needs to be done at Government and local authority levels to halt this problem, and then invest in the solution which ultimately must mean the creation of more social housing.