"Our roots are in Gipton, East Leeds. Although our services have grown beyond the estate, we’re proud to remain based here and to contribute to community life."
In the mid-1930s, Rev Charlie Jenkinson pioneered the development of Gipton as a ‘garden suburb’. Charlie was Vicar of Holbeck, and later, Leader of Leeds City Council. He was elected as a Labour councillor in 1930 and in 1933 became Chairman of the Housing Commitee. In this role he was responsible for the demolition of 14,000 slum dwellings and the building of over 15,000 council houses, an issue that he became passionate about after seeing the living conditions of some of his Holbeck parishioners. He also introduced a scheme of rent relief for lower paid families, and an arrangement where tenants could hire purchase furniture through the council.
The first people to vacate their condemned housing moved into brand new housing in Gipton. As well as flats for the elderly, there were houses specially designed for sufferers from consumption called ‘sunshine houses’. Newly built tramlines linked Gipton to the city and other suburbs. Many Gipton residents worked at Burton’s huge Hudson Road factory in neighbouring Harehills, which employed 10,000 workers at its peak.
There were shops, pubs, churches, cinemas, dancehalls, youth clubs... the area grew into a thriving community. But decline came as Burton’s moved business away and eventually ceased production in 1981: one by one the shops and pubs closed down. Cinemas became Bingo Halls and then fell into dereliction. The Gipton estate became an outpost of an older Leeds, adrift from the growing prosperity of Leeds’ city centre and fashionable suburbs.
GIPSIL was formed in 1992 as 'Gipton Supported Independent Living’ by members of the local community who were concerned about the number of young people sofa-surfing on the estate. They realised that the solution to this problem was not simply granting young people their own tenancies, but also providing support to help them develop the skills to live independently.
From 1992 to 2006, Mary Sheard was Director of the organisation: she led GIPSIL through our formative years and created the legacy we continue to build on today.
GIPSIL is registered as an Industrial & Provident Society with charitable status. We are supporting 24 young people to live independently in Leeds CC properties managed by GIPSIL
Six family houses are brought into management to enable GIPSIL to house and support single parents
‘Quality Protects’ service introduced: 6 supported tenancies for Care Leavers
Our Community Support Centre opens at Woodfield Court (formerly Low Gipton Crescent). GIPSIL is now accommodating and supporting 60 households.
‘Supporting People’ contract formally awarded by Leeds City Council to house and support 110 vulnerable young people, including single parents.
Julia Preston becomes GIPSIL’s Director / Chief Executive Officer
Following a successful pilot scheme and tender exercise, GIPSIL is awarded a contract to support 60 Care Leavers across the city.
Funding awarded by DCLG to refurbish 10 Empty Homes in East Leeds. GIPSIL sets up a new social enterprise – Elevate – to deliver the programme, and goes onto bring in further funding.
Flagship – a consortium led by GIPSIL with partners Leeds Housing Concern and Foundation – successfully bids to deliver accommodation and floating support services to 405 young people across the city
Several support services transfer from Renew to GIPSIL, including Archway Resource Centre and Floating Support; Schools (The Beck); Health and Well-Being; Construction & Housing Yorkshire. We are now working with over 5000 individuals each year.
Engage Leeds will begin to support 1500 vulnerable households across the city. This is a partnership led by GIPSIL with our partners Barca-Leeds, Connect Housing and Riverside Care & Support’