WORK is underway on a £1.2m project to transform a recently-mothballed Leeds fire station into multi-purpose community centre.
Gipton Fire Station had served Leeds from 1937 until it was closed at the end of 2015, with its services moved to Killingbeck.
The landmark building, which had been West Yorkshire’s oldest operational fire station, is now owned by GFS Community Enterprise, which is part of Leeds Community Foundation.
Initial enabling works are now complete and York-based contractor Simpson has started work converting and extending the building.
The cost of the project is being part funded by Jimbo’s Fund, which was established by the late Leeds businessman and philanthropist Jimi Heselden, who died six years ago.
Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive at Leeds Community Foundation, says: “A great deal of planning has gone into this project and we’re delighted to see work starting on site. This centre can become the heart of the local community providing a sustainable, secure and accessible space, as well as being a lasting legacy to Jimi Heselden.”
When it opens this summer, the community centre will be occupied by six local charities and voluntary organisations including Gipton Supported Independent Living (GIPSIL), Healthwatch, Leeds United Foundation, People in Action, Space2 and Zest Health for Life.
It will also offer a wide range of services including a community café and offices.