Ripon canons hear about Northern Powerhouse on first fact-finding visit

A group of honorary canons based at  Ripon Cathedral have embarked on a series of fact-finding visits to discover more about each Episcopal Area in the diocese.

Leeds was first on the list and 'Ripon Foundation’ members of the College of Canons met this week with the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, a Muslim councillor, and a Leeds digital entrepreneur who has founded one of the biggest datacentres in the country. They heard about tensions in some of the poorest wards in the country, the future of the Northern Powerhouse and the possibility of devolution for Yorkshire with an elected Mayor, as well as being accompanied throughout the visit by Area Bishop Paul  Slater and Canon Sam Corley, Priest in Charge of  Leeds Minster.

Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson, who set up the visit said, “This is the first of the series of visits to the different Episcopal Areas as a way of informing the Cathedral Community about the mission of the church in the Areas and showing the commitment of the Cathedral to the Diocese by exploring ways in which we can work together.”

He added that it was "a great day with the Ripon canons finding out about civic, business and church life in Leeds."

Bishop of Richmond, Paul Slater introduced the Ripon canons to some of the mission challenges and opportunities of a city which has seen population growth but churchgoing decline in recent years.  Canon Corley outlined his role and some of the issues facing Leeds Minster, the city’s civic church.

Datacentre company, AQL, was founded by Dr Adam Beaumont  back in 1998 and now is one of the biggest network of datacentres and the only stand alone internet exchange in the UK outside London.  Adam talked about the company has placed Leeds in a foremost position in bthe digital landscape attracting big internet technology providers to the region.

Civic Hall visitTom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council (pictured, right, with Bishop Paul Slater and Dean John Dobson) and a team who work with communities and faiths spent an hour with the group at the Civic Hall, with a discussion of both the positive recent developments and future regeneration of Leeds, as well as the poverty and rising tensions in some parts of the city. Councillor Mohammed Iqbal met the group and discussed the importance of recognising the role faiths could play in helping the city develop.

Further visits are being planned by the group to Huddersfield, Bradford and Wakefield.