A warm welcome! Former fire station’s new era gets thumbs-up from Leeds community

Space2 artist Helen Peyton works with pupils from St Nicholas Catholic Primary School at the Old Fire Station.
Space2 artist Helen Peyton works with pupils from St Nicholas Catholic Primary School at the Old Fire Station.

A former fire station is already winning people’s hearts and minds following its relaunch as a base for groups that aim to make a positive difference to lives in east Leeds.

The old Gipton Fire Station building on Gipton Approach officially reopened as a community asset midway through last month.

A grand celebration party held a few weeks later attracted around 700 people, including local schoolchildren who had written a song especially for the occasion.

And the Leeds Community Foundation, the charity that led the renovation of the newly-renamed Old Fire Station site, believes the impressive turnout at the event was a sign of things to come.

The foundation’s chief executive, Sally-Anne Greenfield, said: “The response from the community to the opening has been fantastic and we have welcomed hundreds of people over the past month to the new centre.

“We are excited for the future and look forward to continuing to welcome people from across Leeds to visit and use The Old Fire Station.”

The Old Fire Station is home to a number of third sector tenants, including:

* Zest, a not-for-profit organisation that offers activities designed to address health inequalities and social isolation;

* Space2, an arts and health charity that has already staged an exhibition telling the story of the building’s time as a fire station;

* GIPSIL, which works with children, young people and families to help them realise their full potential.

Gipton Fire Station opened in 1937 and was the oldest operational fire station in the city prior to its closure in 2015.

The building’s transformation was backed by a fund set up in memory of the late Leeds philanthropist Jimi Heselden.

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