The Old Fire Station in Gipton will welcome special guest, The Countess of Wessex on Wednesday 11th March 2020 to meet investors and tenants of the renovated centre at the heart of the East Leeds community.

The Old Fire Station was purchased and transformed into a fantastic multipurpose hub in 2017 with a £3million grant from Jimbo’s Fund (the late Jimi Heselden’s legacy) managed by Leeds Community Foundation. The thriving centre is at the heart of East Leeds, bringing local people and the community, volunteer organisations and charities together.

Her Royal Highness will be meeting the team behind The Old Fire Station along with members of the Heselden family and Leeds Community Foundation, CEO, Kate Hainsworth. The Countess will also meet representatives from six charities, a cookery school and a café who reside in the building including: Leeds Cookery School, GIPSIL, Space2, Zest, Healthwatch Leeds, People in Action, SLATE and the Safari Club’s Creche.

The event will culminate with the Countess unveiling a plaque in the memory of the late Pam Leighton who passed away suddenly in September 2019. Pam was an integral part of the Leeds Eastern Fire Heritage Group who have worked with Space2 to curate a museum of memorabilia around the history of The Old Fire Station which dates back to 1937.

Fran Etherington, Development Manager at The Old Fire Station says “We are delighted to welcome the Countess here at The Old Fire Station. Her visit means the world to the local community and is a great recognition of the impact this fantastic project has had in the area and the hard work that the team have put into achieving this. To be able to showcase all the wonderful activities that go on in the building – from sewing groups to car boot sales – will be very exciting and we hope The Countess will enjoy her visit to East Leeds”

Kate Hainsworth, Chief Executive of Leeds Community Foundation said “We are looking forward to welcoming the Countess to one of the Foundation’s landmark projects, to see first-hand the transformative impact that investment into a building or place can have on the local community. The Old Fire Station has become a fantastic asset at the heart of East Leeds providing a space to work, learn, experience and play and is accessible for all. “