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‘Kirkstall Mafia’ help feed elderly this Christmas

The Kirkstall Mafia, a group of community organisations and businesses, have found an innovative way to ensure older residents didn’t miss out on their annual Christmas dinners.

More than 130 residents got a special delivery from a jingle bells playing ice cream van as the community members delivered their festive lunches, Christmas gift and locally designed card.

Lucinda Yeadon, community manager at Kirkstall Forge developers CEG and a former Kirkstall councillor, helped with the deliveries. She said:

“Traditionally we support the Christmas lunch for older residents organised by the team at Abbey House Museum. We were determined to still be able to bring some festive cheer despite the lockdown and with the help of Ian Smith, our local ice cream man we can.

“We delivered more than 130 lunches and made many people very happy. I also want to say a huge thank you to the local Councillors, community groups and businesses who have supported the initiative to date, as well as the volunteers who will help with the delivery.”

Lucinda entered the project into the Leeds Covid Diaries project, an initiative launched by Leeds City Council, CEG and Yorkshire Evening Post to capture reflections, stories and experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.

She sent in fantastic images to capture the special moments on behalf of the Kirkstall Mafia – which includes Kirkstall Valley Development Trust, St Mary’s Church, Hawksworth Village Bakery, Twisted Graphics, Morrisons, HAVA, Mindy Goose a local artist and West Leeds Dispatch board member, Mr Whippy Leeds, HOPS, Kirkstall councillors, CEG and Mark and Lesley Kilvington. All of whom have helped to make the festive Christmas deliveries happen.

Adele Rae, Community Director of Kirkstall Valley Development Trust, added:

“We are delighted to be working in collaboration with community partners to deliver Christmas meals, cards and presents to some of the older members of our community.

“2020 has been a tough year and we have all experienced the impact of social isolation to some extent and perhaps understand better the challenges faced by those who are alone.

“As we were unable to provide the annual Christmas party at Abbey House Museum, we were determined that the Golden Oldies of the area wouldn’t feel abandoned this year due to Covid.”

The COVID Diaries project welcomes written and video diary entries, blogs, social media posts, photos, artwork, poems and songs via this website.

Public submissions will also be collected so Leeds Museums and Galleries can look at how they could be used to help support any future displays and exhibitions exploring people’s experiences of the pandemic.

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