The area of South Leeds represents a vibrant and diverse community, but there are neighbourhoods struggling with real poverty.

Victoria Gate is on track to open in October and has already signed up a flagship John Lewis store, which will be the biggest outside London. When combined with Victoria Quarter, Hammerson said the new scheme will create the largest premium retail and leisure destination in Northern England.
Yorkshire Post 2016

Leeds has become a retail, financial and legal centre of the North of England. The cloth mills of the past have now been converted into marketing and design hubs, exclusive eateries or premium office space. Leeds has, to coin a phrase from the Leeds Initiative ‘Gone up a League’ (ironically as Leeds United overstretched and found themselves outside the Premier League for over 10 years).

The Leeds Initiative (2004 – 2020) also introduced the aim to ‘Narrow the Gap’. In other words, ensure that the gap between rich and poor is falling, and that the growth of Leeds flourishing centre is enjoyed by all.

Parts of Leeds have some of the highest rates of child poverty in the country. The Campaign to End Child Poverty has today published new figures that provide a child poverty map of the whole of the UK including a breakdown of figures for parliamentary constituencies and local authorities. In Leeds Central 38% of children live in poverty. However, the figures show a big difference in certain parts of the city. In Pudsey the figure is 8%.
Radio Aire Breakfast News February 2013Head of ACME

The challenge remains. And it is upon this background that St Luke’s CARES is committed to supporting communities in inner South Leeds – an area which is at risk of falling behind as the gap widens, with some ‘super output areas’ or neighbourhoods falling into the top 5% of the poorest neighbourhoods in the UK.

Why bother?

South Leeds has had a lot to offer! Whether it’s the Hunslet Engine Company of South Leeds which manufactured steam engines exported all over the world in the 1800s, Beeston-resident Jason Robinson winning the Rugby World Cup in 2004 or more recently in 2010 a group of South Leeds young people going out to Sierra Leone to support schools and youth projects.

South Leeds still has a lot to offer! Every day the team at St Luke’s CARES are given reason to believe that South Leeds has a bright future. Whether it’s young people getting involved in the Leeds to Iraq Clothing Appeal, running 5km challenges to raise money for charity or volunteering at the Shine Nail Bar and Charity Shops. Or the hard work our shop volunteers put in every day to ensure our projects are sustained and continue to make a difference! 

We are not alone!

It’s a team effort. Working towards a brighter Leeds takes every sector to work together. St Luke’s CARES works closely with voluntary sector partners (www.aspiretosucceed.org.uk), private sector partners who host our mobile nail bar service, provide expertise and guidance and raise money through sponsorship activities and the public sector whether the NHS, Children’s Services or the Community Committee. We are in it for the long haul!

Want to get involved? Do drop us a line using one of the links at the bottom of the page.