Out & About in Leeds: This is your place
MESH is a small charity. Most of the time the team works from home – we don’t have the funds to maintain an office. I suspect this may the case for many small charities after the pandemic. But the MESH team do like to meet face to face some of the time, especially when we have some important work to accomplish which asks for strong communication and a feeling of togetherness. For MESH, then, convivial spaces with lots of room and good wifi are a lifeline. We recently met at Left Bank Leeds in search of this holy grail We spent the working day there, enjoying the space amongst many other groups and individuals as we worked on our Learning Resources offer.
Left Bank Leeds is a community hub. It is full of gentle, local life, with classes and events taking place on days, evenings and at the weekends. Most weekdays, however, it is just a space for anyone to use. You can get a coffee and a nice piece of cake from the café. You can have the pay-as-you-feel soup for lunch. Or you can just sit and be.
The cafe at Left Bank Leeds
A convivial space in the community
Before it closed in 1995, this building served (some of) the community in Hyde Park as the St Mary of Antioch Anglican church throughout the 20th Century. It is a spectacular space, built for expansive thought. A CIC established in 2015 has brought it to life in a new form, but with the same objective of providing a focus for the community – a space where people can come together and be the people of the locality. The Left Bank strapline – This is your place – reflects this role.
At a time when cities are so often fractured, these kinds of convivial spaces are vital forces for local engagement and coming together. To learn, to be social, to be quiet or just to be – every locality should have one!
John Zavos, 7 February 2024