By Andy Dalton
The new Lord Mayor of Leeds visited the City Mission Compassion Centre in Mistress Lane, Armley this week.
It was one of the first engagements as the Mayor begins his new civic year of office.
Councillor Bob Gettings became Mayor of Leeds for 2022-23 last week. Along with Lady Mayoress Lesley Gettings he accepted an invitation to a civic breakfast at the new centre being completed by Leeds City Mission.
Volunteers have been working on the building for two years – transforming it into a multi-purpose set of premises.
In addition to its worship and prayer facilities, it will host a range of social projects to meet needs in the community – including a foodbank, pop-up charity shop, counselling and practical help for those at the margins of life.
2,500 hours have been given by volunteers as they have patiently gutted and reconstructed the premises of the former Armley Temperance Mission Hall.
The renovation programme is nearing completion with residual jobs to complete. Some projects have already commenced. Staff and volunteers invited the Mayor to view the progress to date and enjoy a special breakfast with them this week.
Anthony Thomson – who is an addict-in-recovery – cooked the breakfast for the Mayor and Mayoress. Anthony has been volunteering at Leeds City Mission and is receiving help to re-connect with mainstream living. He put his catering experience to good use and said
“I have had a tough life. But since volunteering at the City Mission things have been different and I am doing things I have never done before. I never dreamed that I would be cooking breakfast for the Mayor.”
The Mayor and Mayoress joined staff and volunteers for the breakfast on Monday morning (30 May). The Mayor was able to talk with Leeds City Mission volunteers some of whom are receiving practical help on their road to recovery from addictions and mental illness.
Councillor Gettings commended the work of the City Mission, recognising its sterling work with those at the edge of society.
Leeds City Mission Coordinator Andy Dalton added: “It has been a great encouragement to everyone connected with the City Mission to be honoured with this civic visit from the Mayor and Mayoress.”
Volunteer Zsoka Antal, who originates from Hungary, presented the Mayoress with a memento for the occasion – home-baked Hungarian chocolate cream biscuits and a bouquet of flowers.
Leeds City Mission is a Christian agency which has worked with marginalised people over three centuries and seeks to meet the physical, social and spiritual needs of Leeds residents. It was founded in 1837 and is one of the city’s oldest charities.