From a food bank, free meals for health workers to a free book service to those in isolation – the Hyde Park Book Club have been doing all they can to help their local Leeds community. We take 5 with Jack Simpson to find out how it all comes together….

We’ve seen that HPBC has been doing some great work in the community recently, including a free book delivery service. What inspired this service and how does it work?

So I guess we just looked around us and wondered what we could do; what we could do to try and help anyone we could. It was a super confusing period for everyone obviously, so it was a just a little act of kindness I guess. People got really into it, we’ve sent books all over. 
We’ve paused since the big lockdown, but we’ll be resuming soon. People would just send us an address and a genre and we’d send something out! 

You were also doing a takeaway service for a time. What advice would you give other organisations who want to move into offering takeaway and deliveries (and haven’t previously)?

Yeah, we may do something again. In terms of advice, I guess people just need to work out what’s right for them. Food & drink has always been big for us, but the events really are part of the soul of the place. So it’s just a case of asking where you want to put your energy I think. 

HPBC seem really tied in with the local community, sharing helpful articles and doing some great collaborations. How do you keep on top of everything that is happening?

I guess we’re just immersed in it, and we’re genuinely interested in what everyone else is up to. So it’s easy ‘cos we’re always just looking out for what people are doing. I think venues like ours are built on that old school thing too, of being rooted in a scene. So it feels super natural to me that that sense of community is always there.

Marie Le Conte at Hyde Park Book Club. Photo by Daisy Petley.

What local bands and artists have you been following recently?

I really like Koyo, Golden Age of TV, really looking forward to the new Vipertime record, hoping there’s some new Wandering Monster soon. Oh and enjoyed working with Holly Sheridan and will Jackson to do some super debut stuff.

Finally, HPBC has been a great source of support for so many others, but what’s the best way others can show support for your venue during this time?

Ahh, that’s really nice to hear. I think it’s just nice to hear people dropping in on socials saying hi – someone messaged about some plants today. We’ll have vouchers and maybe some delivery soon. Other than that, people can support by getting ready to come see us again soon, hopefully!

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Jack Simpson outside Hyde Park Book Club. Photo by George Hall.