Community breathes life into old Leeds school

A community celebration will mark the launch of an arts and enterprise centre which is opening on the site of a former primary school in Leeds.

Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre (HEART) is giving a new lease of life to the old Headingley Primary School on Bennett Road, which was closed in 2006.

In a project led by Headingley Development Trust, the refurbished buildings include meeting rooms for learning, space for events and exhibitions, a cafe and a business centre.

The centre will officially open at 11am on Saturday, when a trumpet fanfare will mark the cutting of the ribbon by long-standing Headingley resident Rose Evans.

The refurbished premises will then be open until 5pm for visitors to see the transformation of the Victorian buildings.

A packed programme of events is planned, including a tea dance, children's activities, a jam session and a display of more than 100 pieces of art.

HEART has received a huge amount of support from the community over the last four years, including investment of more than 105,000 from local residents.

Salvo's restaurant has also got on board with the scheme, with owner John Dammone helping to launch the cafe and sponsoring sofas in the reception area.

Lesley Jeffries, chairman of the HEART development board, said: "Though there were some difficult times in the last five years, I never doubted that we would finally succeed in making a much-loved building the heart of our community once again.

"It is the commitment and skills of a large number of active members and the amazing community support that have made this possible. We are also grateful to Leeds City Council and our many funders."

On Saturday night, there will be a party to celebrate the launch of HEART.

Tickets are available at Oxfam in Headingley and at Headingley Farmers' Market on Saturday morning.