Take a look inside this community sanctuary disguised as a shopping centre. It might be the rainy weather, the lull of the shops, The Reel cinema or the angel wings graffitied on the wall which draws you inside The Ridings Shopping Centre.
In a time when community centres are closing down, pubs are shutting as well as sports
clubs, there is a lack of safe spaces for people to meet, eat and express themselves. The
Ridings decided to lend a helping hand to the local community by providing free
community spaces and hosting groups, markets, events and meet-ups.
There’s also the popular food court where you can relax, eat, drink and even watch
Wimbledon. RubyLou’s provides pub grub in a friendly atmosphere and Grow Wakefield
even has a rooftop allotment.
But if there was ever any question this place provides a rainbow for communities they are creating a special rainbow at the entrance opposite Wakefield Cathedral for Wakefield Pride.
The Ridings will offer a welcoming thoroughfare to the city’s annual festival and parade whichcelebrates the lives of LGBT+ people from across the district and beyond.
You can also bag your perfect Pride outfit from Wakefield Hospice shop, Primark or you can design your own T-shirt and the T-shirt printing company.
The Ridings Shopping centre also has a purpose-built inclusivity bench, welcoming everyone to sit, chat and connect.
“I’m so excited to see this,” said community campaigner and make-up artist Drew Ashlyn.
But it’s not just for summer, The Ridings offer a rainbow in the storm for many communities throughout the district.
Sophie Mei Lan