130+ people from all walks of life across south Leeds last week gathered for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of local charity Health for All, and to hear about their wide-ranging work over the past year.
The charity – now in its 24th year – started life being run out of a spare bedroom in Beeston Hill, but is now headquartered in the multi-million-pound Tenants Hall Centre in Middleton, has an annual turn-over of £2m+, and coordinates dozens of programmes, events, and community centres across the city.
Following speeches from local MP Hilary Benn – who amongst other things, urged listeners to ‘roll up their sleeves and get stuck in (the life of their communities)’ – and Middleton councillor Judith Blake, participants from different projects shared their stories. One woman, Linda, spoke movingly about the support she and her family received from the Family Intervention Service, enabling them to ride out of the storm of Social Services becoming involved in their lives: ‘The system can be so hard, but the friendly, non-judgmental support we got from FIS was invaluable’.
Members of the Rags to Riches group also took to the stage, and Middleton woman Angela spoke of her transformative experience on the project – a community scheme sharing skills around needlework and the creation of rag-rugs, soft furnishings, and more: ‘I like a challenge, and I now just feel really proud and confident. The group was really friendly, the teacher enthusiastic, and we eat lots of cake!’
Finally, members of the Health for All team looked ahead to the coming year. A major new programme is the new Young Dad’s project – featuring DIY, gardening, play, barbecues, mentoring, and hopefully the setting up of an employment scheme doing fencing work. A community taxi scheme is in the pipeline; the charity is further developing its links with the businesses world; a new community choir is taking shape; and much more.
For more info on Health for All and its programmes, click here – or drop in at one of their bases: Tenants Hall Centre in Middleton, Beeston Village Community Centre, the Holbeck Youth Centre, Belle Isle Family Centre, or Middleton Family Centre.