Trinity Network celebrates half a century of service

Hundreds of people attended a celebration event to mark the 50th anniversary of Trinity Network at the URC church on Nesfield Road in Belle Isle on Friday 14 June.

Trinity Network provides a range of day facilities for older people in South Leeds including hot lunches, a wide range of activities, trips and holidays. It provides opportunities for friendship, social interaction and making people safe, stay healthy and independent.

The centre and the church were decked out with balloons and bunting as well as hundreds of photos displaying the work, the members and the volunteers over the decades. The chat was lively as old friends caught up and talked about old times and new developments.

Amongst many guests were the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung, Hilary Benn and Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council.

Manager Trevor Heylings gave the audience a potted history explaining how Trinity Network started out as an ‘Over 55s Club’ based at Dewsbury Road URC church. It developed opening in Belle Isle in 1982 and it changed its name in 2011. Unfortunately, the Dewsbury Road site had to close in 2020 due to Covid and has not reopened, but a minibus provides transport to allow members from Beeston to access the services.

Alex Walker the Chair of Trinity Network also spoke, thanking all the staff and volunteers who have served and also remembering those members have passed away over the years.

He recalled asking a member how they had got involved with Trinity Network. She explained that her mother had used the service twenty years previously and had told her it was “too good not to go.”

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, told South Leeds Life:

“I think its an amazing milestone and I came here today just to thank people personally for what they’ve done and continue to do for the community. You only have to be here to feel the energy in the room. Without something like this the elderly and vulnerable people would feel isolated, feel lonely, it’s that sense of community, that sense of being part of something bigger is just absolutely fantastic. It’s a wonderful asset for the people of South Leeds

“The council funds part of this work and the reason we do so is because we know that this is what people, in policy terms, would call prevention. If these people didn’t have somewhere to come and engage, even if it’s once a week, or once a month, then they’d be sat at home maybe more likely to have a fall in the home, or they would be more likely to be getting mental health problems. This work heads off so much that the state would otherwise have to fund, so it’s really money well spent from our point of view. Lots of people here are volunteers, members of the community who want to do the right thing, so if we can enable that to happen that’s a brilliant thing for us to do.”

Hilary Benn said

“It’s been a privilege to be here to celebrate fifty years of Trinity Network. Just listening to Alex Walker speaking, all of the effort, all of the care that has gone in and all of the generations of older people who have benefited from what happens here and used to happen at Dewsbury Road before it closed. You know when people say ‘what is community spirit?’ sit here and look around you – you can see it, you can feel it, you can touch it. It’s been a wonderful morning.”

The Lord Mayor added:

“The first word has to be ‘Wow!’ It’s absolutely inspiring to know where they’re coming from and where they are now. Half a century, it’s amazing. To see the joy in the eyes of the elderly, it’s priceless.”

Committee member Elizabeth Myers has been involved since the start

“I used to come in the school holidays to help out and I did my work experience at Dewsbury Road. My Gran, as she got older was in a wheelchair and the only way she could go on holiday was if someone went on her day centre holidays to push her wheelchair. I thought that’s something I can do so I joined the Dewsbury Road day centre pushing wheelchairs.”
Reflecting on the 50th anniversary she said: “It’s just a wonderful thing.”

 

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