Charity’s new home in Leeds takes centre stage with community

Leeds Rhinos star Danny McGuire does the honours at the centre's opening.
Leeds Rhinos star Danny McGuire does the honours at the centre's opening.
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Leeds Mencap chief executive Cath Lee today looked back on a landmark year for the charity and said: “It’s definitely been one to remember!”

The charity officially moved into a purpose-built £2.6m centre on Vinery Terrace in East End Park in April.

It was designed to offer a “friendly, fun and accessible space” for all members of the local community, not just people with learning disabilities.

And today the Vinery Centre is doing exactly that, with residents across East End Park and the surrounding areas taking full advantage of what it has to offer.

Cath said: “This area of Leeds has lacked investment and so it’s great that this centre is providing the space for the community to benefit.

“After only nine months we have a wide range of groups using the spaces. This includes a bingo club run by Richmond Hill Elderly Action, a dance group and two church groups as well as a variety of groups that run services for people with learning disabilities.

“Jimbo’s is a new community nursery at the centre which provides affordable childcare for local families, including holiday and after school clubs.

“It’s now so popular that we’ll be opening another room in the new year to meet demand. Importantly, this new and fully accessible building provides us with the opportunity to expand our services over time and our fundraising efforts are now firmly focussed on raising money for our services.

“If we can continue to secure support, we will be able to meet the needs of more people with learning disabilities across Leeds.”

Early fundraising for the centre was given a massive boost with a £1.15m investment from Jimbo’s Fund, set up by the late Leeds philanthropist Jimi Heselden.