Former fire station ready to serve community again

A fire station in Leeds, which closed its doors in 2015, has reopened as a vital space for the local community.

The Gipton Fire Station was officially reopened last week with a number of special events, including a cookery class hosted by Leeds Cookery School and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The station will now be home to six different third sector groups, including GIPSIL, which works with disadvantaged young people and families in Leeds to help realise their potential.

Healthwatch, Zest, Space 2, People in Action and SLATE are the other groups to have also moved into the station.

It was bought by Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) after it closed, using money gifted to the foundation from Jimbo’s Fund.

The fund was part of the legacy left by local businessman and philanthropist Jimi Heselden, who gifted more than £23 million to help support different schemes across Leeds.

Two rooms in the fire station have also been named after Mr Heselden and members of his family were also at the official opening.

The renovation work at the station took more than three years to complete, with GIPSIL working with LCF and architects Brewster Bye, project managers Aspect 4 and the construction firm Simpson of York to make the station fit for its new purpose.

‘This has been one of the most important and significant projects our foundation has undertaken,’ said LCF chief executive, Sally-Anne Greenfield.

‘We are so proud that we have been able to take the contribution of the incredibly generous Jimi Heselden and put it into such a worthwhile project that will make such a difference to so many.

‘A great number of people have come together to work on this project, working tirelessly to keep the character of this fantastic building whilst finding ways to create something new and exciting to support the community,’ she added.

‘We are very excited for the station to reopen and are looking forward to welcoming lots of people to the new centre to thank them for their support as well as showcase what is now a wonderful facility that will hopefully benefit the whole community.’

Paul Belbin from GIPSIL said it was ‘delighted’ to have been part of the renovation work.

‘We are greatly looking forward to the opportunities being a central part of the Gipton community will afford us in better supporting those who need it the most,’ he added.


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