Groups in Seacroft vow to carry on their community work when lockdown eases - from a vintage ice-cream van

The spirit of Seacroft is set to take to the suburb's streets spreading community fun to foodbanks - from a vintage ice-cream van.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 6:00 am

A number of community groups in east Leeds joined forces at the beginning of the first coronavirus lockdown to help local residents with things like shopping, picking up prescriptions, delivering food parcels to hosting outdoor yoga and sports training sessions.

As lockdown restrictions are set to be lifted throughout the next few months, the collective of organisations - which includes LS14 Trust, Chapel FM Arts Centre, Fall into Place Theatre, Leeds Community Spaces, Seacroft Community on Top (SCOT), Seacroft Friends & Neighbours and United Response - have vowed to carry on the collaboration and take traditional community centre based events to the doorstep in the 1981 Ford van.

Some ideas already include playing music from the van and hosting sports activities at green spaces around Seacroft and Killingbeck, serving cream teas to elderly residents and, of course, serving ice-cream as a thankyou to local people who have gone above and beyond to help their communities during the COVID crisis.

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Howard Bradley from the LS14 Trust in the vintage ice-cream van in Seacroft.

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"Six months ago we said when we get past this, we will not stop and go back to our own buildings and not work together, but how do we form a collaboration that keeps going and helps make Seacroft and Killingbeck even better? Doing this work we had met people we had never met before by going out and about but not all of them want to come to our buildings at Chapel FM or Kentemere Community Centre so, how do we bring community centre events to different parts in a creative and fun way."

The answer lies in the ice-cream van.

A competition is being held, until the end of the month, where people can create a design for the van on a card-board cut out and come up with a name and the winning one will be spray painted onto the vehicle. There is also a nomination process for 'We Think You Are FAB' contenders to receive a visit from the ice-cream van and an ice-cream to say thankyou for the work they have done for the community throughout the pandemic. Volunteers, such as mechanics, are also being sought to help maintain and look after the ice-cream van.

Tony Macaluso from ChapelFM who will also operate from the ice-cream van.

Mr Bradley added: "Everyone knows that feeling as a kid when the ice-cream van turns up and you go 'woohoo' so the idea is this can be used as a resource going forward that showcases Seacroft as a creative place, full of potential and the van is full of hope, joy and fun and a positive future together."

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From sports groups to radio stations - groups offering services through the ice-cream van.
Howard Bradley inside the van.