A former library has been unveiled as a brand new community facility to help residents in south Leeds gain employment.
Belle Isle Library, in Aberfield Gate, closed due to Leeds City Council cuts in 2011 but has now been revamped by the Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation (BITMO) and turned into a community room, job search and learning centre.
The newly-opened BITMO’s GATE, which was the subject of a £25,000 revamp carried out by housing repairs firm Mears, was unveiled by Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn on Friday.
Christine Shepherd, chair of BITMO’s board, said: “Don’t be frightened or worried about dropping in to see what it’s all about; the staff are really friendly and there will always be someone to help. It’s up to the residents of Belle Isle to use the centre now, it was made especially for them.”
BITMO, which is the landlord to council tenants living in Belle Isle, has installed five free-to-use computers in the space that will help its offer to residents of free IT classes, advice, surgeries, a school uniform exchange and craft and sewing skills lessons.
The not-for-profit firm carried out consultation to see what type of activities and services people struggled to access.
BITMO project development manager Carla Yeomans said: “The vision has always been about it being local for local people.”
Belle Isle Library was one of 13 similar council facilities to close and be replaced by mobile library services in 2011.
BITMO is hosting free events at the facility this week, including a school uniform exchange from 1.30pm to 3.30pm today, and a free healthy breakfast from 10am to noon tomorrow.
Email: GATE@belleisletmo.co.uk or call 0113 3782190.