New Year’s honour for Slung Low’s Alan Lane

Alan Lane, the Artistic Director of Slung Low, Holbeck’s own theatre company, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in South Leeds during Covid-19 in the New Year’s Honours List.

As we have reported over the last year, Alan and the team at Slung Low refocused their arts organisation’s work to leading the community response in Holbeck, transforming the venue and organisation into the Covid-19 community response hub for Holbeck.

The theatre company was established in 2000 and is well-known for large scale spectacular theatre productions including the epic Flood for Hull 2017 and the national commemoration of the centenary for the Battle of the Somme. In January 2019 Slung Low moved into the Holbeck Working Men’s Club, one of the oldest such clubs in Britain. The Holbeck is now a welcoming creative hub for all the community.

Alan’s belief in creating a resource for the local community has always been at the centre of the work of Slung Low, whose motto is “Be kind, be useful” and this has driven the response during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By mid-December, his team together with 100 volunteers had dealt with 8,000 referrals, delivering food parcels, picking up prescriptions and supporting those who are isolated and lonely. During the summer, each week the team delivered 63 hot meals to children.

The dedication that Alan and the team has shown in ensuring that people receive help quickly has been exceptional with 98% of referrals acted on within two hours.

Slung Low has continued to provide creative opportunities by delivering an open air art gallery featuring the work of local people which was copied onto weather-proof boards and displayed on lamp-posts throughout the area. They have also staged several theatre shows for children and a series of interactive game shows, streamed over Facebook, culminating in You Can Bet It’s Christmas staged in the car park of the club on 23 December 2020.

Alan told South Leeds Life:

“A genuinely gleaming silver lining to the seemingly endless clouds that were 2020 was how brilliantly all the organisations of Holbeck and Beeston were in working together to alleviate difficulties for our communities.

“It was a proud pleasure for Slung Low to stand alongside Holbeck Foodbank, Kidz Klub, Ingram Road Primary, Re-Establish, the local churches, Holbeck Together, and all our volunteers in trying our hardest to make this past year bearable for as many people as we could.

“That all that work has been recognised with this honour is something I hope brings pride to everyone who we worked alongside this year. I look forward to showing the medal to my little boy David a great deal.”


Photo: Alan Lane on board Slung Low’s Cultural Community College double decker bus


10 Replies to “New Year’s honour for Slung Low’s Alan Lane”

  1. Well deserved. Alan Great news for our community and all those working to make Holbeck & Beeston a better place.

  2. Well done mate, from a local postie who has worked in Holbeck Delivery Office round the corner from you guys for nearly 32 years and has delivered to your place both when you were on Bath Road and where you are now.
    I along with my colleagues fought hard to stop Royal Mail closing Holbeck Delivery Office, one of the reasons being that we felt it vital as an important service for the local Holbeck community, and we won.
    Mr Morton of South Leeds Life was brilliant in reporting our fight and victory all the way for which I am much indebted to him for doing.
    Your fantastic contribution to the community is laudable and deserves to be recognised.
    Well done.

  3. Alan, how fantastic that your drive, energy and your unswerving bloody-mindedness to get things done has all been used to such AMAZING effect! What a star you are and clearly you have inspired so many round you to shine too. So, so made up for you that all your hard work has been recognised – talk about you can never put a good man down! BRILLIANT – well done you!

  4. Congratulations, Alan. So impressed with everything that Slung Low has done – from pay what you can theatre at the Club that I’ve attended to the work you’ve done in the local community during the pandemic that I learned about through the short film at LIFF 2020. Well done to you and your team – keep on keeping on!

  5. Amazing work Alan so glad I’m involved with you all helping the community during covid

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