A Special Community Magazine Hits The Streets

Leeds Living and some of our team of writers were very pleased to be involved in the generation of content and the overall editing.

The digital version was launched on 18 May.

The original idea stemmed from Leeds Indie Food and was consolidated by Chapter 81, FYI, Leeds Living and Leeds City Council. Leeds Indie Food’s 2020 mission statement is to help the City tell the food and drink story of Leeds, although the plan to achieve this had to be changed suddenly, as a rapid response to a dramatically changing scene.

The magazine includes articles donated by more than 50 contributors offered 23 recipes, features on comedy, football and music, tips for making bread and brewing coffee, alternative ways to support independent businesses (including t-shirts) and more. 

10,000 copies were printed on uncoated paper (so you can colour in the doodles) and then distributed across Leeds.

The indies themselves led the way at the start of the constraints imposed as a result of COVID-19 and have demonstrated a determination to find ways to carry on and to try new approaches.

Simon Fogal has long championed the cause of the indies in Leeds, and explained that he wanted to showcase their ideas for adapting to the contraints brought about by COVID-19, encouraging the traders to offer vouchers online and replacing details of events with information about what the businesses are doing, which resulted in the Leeds Indie Food Online Directory, produced with the help of Hungry Sandwich Club.

Simon told us that FYI also wanted to help. They had been working on some great community-based initiatives and this is something they value from a corporate responsibility role. The original idea of a magazine was revisited and contributors were encouraged, Leeds City Council approved of this idea from the start and it is thanks to them that the magazine could be printed.

Simon Fogal, Leeds Indie Food

“From gathering the content, it was a great privilege to get input and work with Leeds Living, and a huge thanks to their writers for donating articles. They also helped by offering support by proofing the mag. FYI threw their hands up and wanted to design the magazine and showcase their amazing creative skills and team. They have been great at printing and distributing too. 

Whilst we couldn’t fit every indie in (and every piece of content) we will carry on with the work and continue to look at making more. It’s a shame that this came out during a horrible time for all, but we wanted to create something that was fun, whilst beginning to tell the stories from the City.”

Dave Crapper, Director at FYI: 

“Over recent months we’ve worked on several community projects to ‘do our bit’ for no fee. We’ve supported Leeds’ enjoyment industry for over 10 years, so when Simon (Fogal) approached us it was always a yes to collaborating. Our door’s always open to projects like this; they add another dimension to life at FYI as well as supporting our community.”

FYI – Print in Process

Paul Simon, Content Director, Leeds Living:

“It’s been a pleasure to be able to help generate and edit the magazine’s content. Leeds Living and our team of writers are always ready to support and promote local independent businesses. Kate Ryrie wrote the letter to post-COVID Leeds which is featured inside front page.

Kate Ryrie

Robyn Wilson describes life in lockdown with her teenage daughter and Gemma Bridge tells of her conversations with some of the traders to give us insight into their reaction to the sudden and dramatic interruption to their businesses, their daily lives and their plans. Our team is looking forward to helping with the next edition of the magazine.” (Leeds Living is operated by a team of volunteers as a service to the Leeds community. We do not accept payment for our services.)

Gemma Bridge

Simon Fogal added

“As Leeds Indie Food we want to create and encourage collaboration. That was always the ethos. Pulling together this magazine has been a true labour of love for the amazing community. This was a tough one to get going as we all thought about what was right and wrong to do in these times; should we be delivering a magazine in lockdown? Especially at the beginning of lockdown. It also proved harder to pull together with everyone stuck at home. It shows real team effort which is something we all need to work on.”    

Leeds Indie Food

@thisisfyi – Twitter

Leeds Living


The digital version is available for you to read:

Photographs provided by Chapter81, Kate Ryrie and Gemma Bridge.

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