Affinity Trust celebrated its move into new offices in Leeds with an open day on Thursday 14 September.
In attendance were more than 100 people with learning disabilities, their families, carers, staff, and health and social care professionals. They were treated to a premiere of a music video featuring the people the charity supports in Leeds, and filmed around the city.
Affinity Trust has been supporting people with a learning disability in Leeds for some 20 years. The local Opportunities Service offers people with learning disabilities a range of activities, including cookery courses, craft workshops, bowling, swimming and football.
After 15 years based in Holbeck, the service moved into new offices on Berking Avenue, off York Road, in August. The move followed months of searching and planning, followed by eight weeks of building and decoration in which the team turned a disused warehouse with a leaking roof into a bright, accessible multi-purpose space.
The project was led by support manager Emma Carrington, who said: “Our old base in Holbeck was starting to look tired and was not really suitable for our purposes. It was surrounded by yellow lines and parking was a constant issue.”
“Our new premises, featuring wider corridors and doors, a spacious disabled bathroom and art, woodwork and computer rooms, will be much more accessible for people with a wide range of abilities. They will allow us to offer a more individualised set of activities.”
This means that staff can now run sessions like woodwork and art and craft at the same time, rather than having to compete for space.
“We are always looking for new opportunities for the people we support”
The new building also benefits from better parking and proximity to local bus routes.
Emma adds that the building will allow the service to develop and grow: “We plan on expanding the service and taking on new referrals. We are always looking for new opportunities for the people we support.
“We’re making links and connections in our new community, and hope to get more involved with St Vincent’s Support Centre next door, introducing some individuals to voluntary work and using the groups and courses that they run.
“As we progress, we have the potential to introduce our own activity groups with structured sessions which we could open up to the wider community in time.”