My Belle Isle

My Belle Isle……

Belle Isle In Bloom

I was born in Larchfield Street off Hunslet Road, Hunslet, and Leeds in 1949. For the ones who can remember the area, Larchfield Street was down the side of the Prince Albert Pub. It was near the Wilkinson’s Wallpaper Shop, which is still standing, sadly the pub is not.

Me & my family moved to Belle Isle from Hunslet around about 1955 due to the slum clearance in Hunslet.

New Belle Isle council estates where being built, to take up amounts of families moving from the Hunslet area. Also people where moving from Quarry Hill Flats, Leek Street flats, (when they were knocked down) to Belle isle & to other council housing areas such as Gipton.

I moved to Middleton from Belle Isle for some years, before moving back to Belle Isle.

Due to my ill health, I had to give up my small business and I moved into the BITMO sheltered housing complex which is around the Belle Isle Circus area, me being on Winrose Grove. So you could say I have always lived in South Leeds.

Just a short walk away, there is a Post Office, general store and takeaways. Further afield a 30 minute walk to Morrison’s supermarket, or a short bus ride, using my bus pass of course. Also being me, found a new local pub, the Parnaby Tavern.

I have been in my sheltered housing flat now for just over 2 years. Looking back it was the best thing I ever did. I have met new friends and still keep in touch with old friends back in the Middleton and surrounding area.

The sheltered housing complex has launderettes for the use of sheltered housing tenants. We also have use of common rooms, where we can buy lunches and dinners at very reasonable prices. As far as I know this is every day in at least at one of our centres, apart from Saturday, when you include the café below St Bartholomew’s church & Broom Nook.

BITMO allow us to use these common rooms for such things as birthday parties. I remember when I held one of my birthday parties at one of the common rooms, going on from 6.30pm Friday till 5.30am Saturday, I will never forget that. Also BITMO Run Coach trips for sheltered housing residents, last year a day in Bridlington. Stopping at a Fish & Chip Restaurant on the way back. The coach was so full, so you can see how popular these trips are.

One of the common rooms has a bowling green attached, hoping this can be utilised again when the weather gets a bit better. We also have wardens visiting the flats at various times of the week; to make sure were all OK. Since I moved into my flat, I started up an old hobby of mine, wine and beer making. I’ve also recently taken up some more of my old hobbies, such as photography and building computers.

Finally I’ve got to thank the BITMO Staff for making my move to Belle Isle an enjoyable one, such as Leslie, who was the first to show me around my new flat. Of course when I saw it bit her hand off and moved in a short while after. Also thank Chris, Joanne and to Lynne who enrolled me on a Reporters course. From there I’m now on many volunteer groups, my favourites being South Leeds Life and South Leeds Community Radio.