Affordable housing scheme for older people is opened

An affordable housing development for older people in Leeds has been launched at an official event.

Gertrude Paul Court, containing 24 flats, is the larger of two blocks of a Unity Homes and Enterprise scheme comprising 30 one and two bedroomed homes for people aged 55 and over.

The new building is named after the first black teacher in Leeds, who was also a founder member of Leeds West Indian Carnival.

The Unity scheme is part of a wider £9.3m development of 63 affordable homes on the site at Leopold Street, in Chapeltown, previously owned by Leeds City Council.

The remainder of the properties form a brand new co-housing community, Chapeltown Cohousing, which was recently showcased in a BBC documentary.

Homes England provided a £1.4m grant in support of the project, with the Housing Infrastructure Fund allocating £1.34m.

Heather Paul, daughter of Gertrude Paul, joined the leader and chief executive of Leeds City Council, tenants and project partners at the opening.

She unveiled an artwork celebrating her mother’s legacy created by local artist Marcus ‘Hyro’ Browne, which will be permanently on display inside the building.

She said: “Thanks to Unity, in partnership with Chapeltown Cohousing, for creating such a wonderful overall development in the area.

“Particular thanks and gratitude for naming this block after my late mother. It is a phenomenal legacy for the community, but also for us as a family.

“It is a great tribute. Her story carries on, her memory carries on and her impact carries on intergenerationally.”

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council said: “Providing decent housing for people is one of the biggest issues we face as a council.

“I am so pleased that we’re able to work with Unity. It is such a great project to come and see and to have yet more quality housing in Leeds.”

 Tom Riordan, chief executive of the council, said: “I was always struck by Gertrude Paul’s story which Heather has kept going with her work in advocating for those positive role models from the black community who have helped to build the city.

“That is why naming the building after Gertrude is so appropriate.”

Shruti Bhargava, Unity Homes and Enterprise chair, added: “I remember when this was just a muddy field. It took years for the building work to begin before Councillor Eileen Taylor, then Lord Mayor of Leeds, laid the first stone in 2019 – and now here we are. It is fantastic.”