How Kirkstall has a unit in the heart of its community

23 March 2020

Unit 11 threw its doors open at Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park in September 2019. Since then it has become the thriving heart of the community, and a welcoming space open to everyone.

Although Unit 11 last week withdrew its regular activities due to the Coronavirus pandemic, community reporter MINDY GOOSE looks at its progress in a few short months:

Children’s play area: Photo: Mindy Goose

Unit 11 operates in a myriad of ways.

Firstly as a drop in, where you can stop by and have a cuppa for a small donation, here you can relax with a book in the library, or sit in the café area and chat with friends.

There is a play area for young children, so parents can take a rest after shopping and let their children play, whilst they take the weight off their feet.

Well-behaved dogs are welcome, so if you’ve been out with your pooch by the Abbey and fancy a cosy and warm place to have a cup of tea, then Unit 11 is perfect. Unit 11 is a friendly place, and you can always find someone to have a natter with.

Apart from the drop in element, it is also a space that can be hired out, and there are regular groups that meet there.

Some of the regular groups (running in non-Coronavirus times) are: Board Games Evening, who meet every second Thursday of the month; Little Learners messy play, on Thursday mornings; two knitting groups, Knit and Natter who meet on a Monday morning, and Hookers and Clickers, who knit and crochet for charity and meet on Tuesday morning; Community Choir, singing on a Wednesday; Yin Yang Yoga every Wednesday evening; Play & Stay, parents and toddlers groups on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Most of these groups are free to attend. There are also one off events and gatherings. The Unit also hosts the lovely beautician Jita, who runs Beauty by Jita. In her beauty room, she will keep you looking beautiful, including eyebrow waxing and threading, and eyelash extensions.

Unit 11 was created by Kirkstall Valley Development Trust (KVDT), a community benefit society set up in 2016 to develop a learning and leisure park over 200 acres of inner Leeds, and to refurbish Abbey Mills for housing and community use.

With help with funding from the Lottery Community Fund, the unit is based at Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park until a permanent base is created at Abbey Mills.

The place is managed by the kind spirited Adele Rae, and a team of hardworking volunteers. They are always on the look out for more volunteers, for both Unit 11 and Kirkstall Valley Farm.

Get in touch about volunteering with KVDT, or if you would like to arrange an event or group in the unit, or suggestions about what the Trust might organise. The charge to hire the space is £15 an hour for community groups and £25 an hour for private.

Contact

Email: adele.rae@kvdt.org.uk

Telephone: 07900 986570

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Unit11KVDT/

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