Fire base plans to create lasting tribute to Jimi

Gipton Fire Station.
Gipton Fire Station.
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Plans to transform a Leeds fire station could create a lasting memorial to one of the city’s greatest philanthropists.

As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) is working on proposals to turn Gipton fire station, on York Road, into a community centre and charity base.

Money left by Jimi Heselden, founder of Cross Green company Hesco Bastion, is being used to purchase the building.

Mr Heselden, who died in a tragic accident in 2010, bequeathed millions of pounds for good causes in the city.

LCF chief executive Sally-Anne Greenfield said the new community centre could be named in his honour.

“Jimi always said he wanted to give people a hand-up, not a handout,” she said.

“That’s very much what this idea is about. We haven’t decided what the centre will be called yet – it’s one of the things we’ll be asking for ideas about – but I’d like to see ‘Jimi’ or ‘Jimbo’ in the name.”

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is selling the building as it brings crews from Gipton and Stanks together at a new base in Killingbeck.

LCF is working with community groups Zest Health for Life, GIPSIL (Gipton Supported Independent Living) and St Vincent’s, on plans for the community centre.

Services could include skills training for people who are out of work and healthy living classes.

The building itself will be retained, along with the traditional firefighters’ poles and the large red doors. It could contain a gym and space for functions.

Ms Greenfield said: “It’s partly about getting people into work, giving them skills, teaching them how to maximise their potential. It’s providing a community service so clearly some of the people will be disadvantaged and this is about giving them a hand, but it will also be a great facility for the community.”

A public meeting is likely to be held in March to discuss the proposals and invite people to make suggestions about what it should offer.

PIC: Simon Hulme

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