Kirkgate is a busy hub with the expected and the unexpected walking through the door every day.

Lissa Anderson

I have been Hub Manager at Kirkgate for nine months now, and so can’t call myself a ‘newbie’ anymore.

I am however, still humbled by the people and their experience, some, who have worked in Leeds for a long-time and they have taken me up (and down) a very steep learning curve.

Kirkgate is a busy hub with the expected and the unexpected walking through the door every day.  Admittedly, the building has its structural limitations (the disabled toilet blocks every eight flushes!)…that saying, it is in a great location, and with persistence and some slick processes (including the Friday afternoon fridge rota) we have given Kirkgate a purpose to be fit for!

Our service users are at the centre of what we do and more often than not are complex, with daily struggles.

Our Admin Team; Donna, Angela, Julie and Charlotte do a fantastic job of making everyone feel welcome and they generate a sense of calm in the waiting area.

A couple of weeks ago I came down to reception to see them handling a difficult situation very professionally, with four people at the reception desk waiting for appointments, an NA group walking in and out of the building and an agitated man with an infected burn, on full display to a horrified group of clients in the waiting area.

This was in contrast to 1 hour later, where all clients were sat patiently and quietly, reading books from the reception book shelf.

I have been fortunate enough to begin developmental projects with groups of staff in the three Hubs.

We have explored new ways of working with sex working women, improved the court’s Drug Rehabilitation Requirement and Alcohol Treatment Requirement processes and I am very excited about the prospect of working with the Group-Work team, to design programme interventions, that will be tailored to the specific needs of clients involved in the Criminal Justice System.

I am looking forward to my next 9 months with Forward Leeds and the challenges and rewards it continues to surprise me with.

by Lissa Anderson, Area Manager. Lissa manages the Kirkgate hub which has responsibility for central and south Leeds.