Twelve gifts from Leeds

Sustainability intern Phoebe has created a guide to supporting local businesses in Leeds this festive season.

With lockdown all around us, it may seem that festive present shopping has been relegated to the weekly supermarket shop, or driven into the hands of global retail giants. But having worked hard to adapt to evolving local and national restrictions, and facing a limited window of physical trading in the run up to festivities, our local businesses need us now more than ever.

Many of the small, local independents listed here have been working hard to serve their communities, both over lockdown and in their day-to-day work. Buying local invests in this community spirit, promotes creativity and innovation within Leeds, and saves on the carbon emitted from shipping across countries.

If you would like some inspiration, I’ve compiled this list of local businesses offering online shopping and UK-wide delivery for those not in Leeds, or click and collect for those who are here, so that we can continue to support small independents in Leeds, wherever we may be.

For more independent retailers, take a look at the #BuyLeeds campaign’s indie directory and the Support Your Local Leeds website.


Places that deliver even if you’re not in Leeds…

Arts and crafts Lino kits from Seagulls Lifehouse

Seagulls and their workshop space, Seagulls Lifehouse, are a grassroots social enterprise, based in Kirkstall. They facilitate the reuse and recycling of household paint, whilst also providing a space for marginalised people to create art and learn life skills. Lifehouse provides a safe and welcoming space for learning skills in areas such as decorating, printmaking and woodwork.

Books, Zines, and photography from Village Books

Village Books is an independent bookshop and gallery based in Leeds, UK. They offer a curated selection of contemporary art, design, fashion and photography books and magazines, alongside self-published and small press zines from artists around the world.

Dance music compilation from Gimme a Break records

Gimme a break released their ‘“WE ARE VIABLE” compilation on Friday 13th November. The compilation includes 15 producers from Leeds and the UK, spanning UKG, breakbeat, techno and jungle. All proceeds from this compilation will be donated to MAP Charity, a Leeds-based charity providing alternative music education to young people who cannot access mainstream schooling. This project is particularly important given the absence of regular event fundraising for MAP.

Create your own fun night in with drinks, snacks, and merchandise from North Brewing Co.

  • Available for delivery with free shipping when you spend £50
  • Shop on their website

Leeds-based North Brewing Co. stock a wide range of drinks, from ‘cansecco’ to apple and rhubarb soda, alongside coffees, snacks, and branded glassware. For serious beer lovers, they also offer subscription to the ‘North Beer Club’ which entitles the recipient to monthly beer deliveries. The North Star team have recently braved the “dodgy facial hair” for Movember in aid of Men’s health, keen to spread some positivity and fun over the recent national lockdown.

Sustainable gifts and living from Ecotopia Leeds

  • Available for delivery with free shipping when you spend £30
  • Shop on their website
  • They also offer gift cards

The shop, based in Central Arcade in the city centre, has a mission to “hand our children a better, more sustainable world”. Ecotopia stocks everything from handmade face masks, soap and shampoo bars, ethical food and drink, to a ‘make your own Christmas crackers’ set. In normal times, the shop offers in-store liquid refills to cut down on single-use packaging, and a TerraCycle scheme to help recycle difficult materials like crisp packets and dental products.

Inclusive and diverse books from the Little Book Shop Leeds

Based in Chapel Allerton, this independent bookshop has a mission to stock inclusive and diverse children’s books, but you can find adult fiction and non-fiction here too.

Plants, candles, and riso prints from The Plant Room

  • Available for delivery which is free when you spend £100
  • Free collection also available from Leeds or Saltaire
  • Shop on their website
  • Check out their studio work on Instagram

The Plant Shop is based on Aire Street and stocks everything you need for a cosy room – products to keep indoor plants healthy, winter plants and plant pots, and candles. They also sell a range of riso prints, which are priced at £20.

Handmade local gifts from Our Handmade Collective

  • Available for delivery, with a small range of click and collect only
  • Shop on their website

Based in the Grand Arcade, the team have transferred their collection of items from 72 makers and artists across Yorkshire in to a virtual store. They stock gifts ranging from bath bomb DIY kits, to handmade festive decorations, and a range of handmade jewellery.

Queer independent books from The Bookish Type

The Bookish Type, a “queer indie bookshop” based in the Merrion Centre, champions authors from across the LGBTIQA+ spectrum. Their mission is to ensure that all people can see themselves represented in books, and to bring the local community together through reading.

Craft supplies from SCRAP Centre of Creative, Reuse Play and Learning

  • Available for delivery
  • Shop on their website
  • Products include fabrics, paints, paper and card

Based in the SunnyBank Mills gallery in Farsley, SCRAP is a social enterprise which diverts over 100 tonnes of non-toxic waste per year from 60 business donors and uses it to promote creativity and learning. Arts and crafts products sold by SCRAP fund their community work, which includes providing craft materials to schools across Yorkshire, running corporate environmental training days, and holding creative workshops for members of the public. SCRAP also provides structured work experience and volunteering opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities, physical, and mental health issues.

Places open for click and collect or Leeds delivery…

Prints from local artists, sold at Hyde Park Book Club

  • Available for click and collect
  • Shop on their website
  • All priced at £15

This café itself has worked hard throughout COVID-19, switching to takeaway only or outdoor seating as local and national restrictions have evolved. During this time, they’ve also partnered with Digital Access West Yorkshire, acting as a drop-off point for local businesses to donate unused laptops to help those in need of one. They’ve also held food collections for Rainbow Junk-tion, offered free collectable meals for hospitality staff, and delivered old books across the local community when lockdown was first introduced in March.

Local bread delivery subscription from Leeds Bread Co-op

  • Choose a convenient local collection point and receive the voucher via email
  • 4-week subscription priced at £12
  • Available to purchase on their website
  • Read about their Co-op aims and principles

Perfect for those who tried and failed to master the loaf of bread during lockdown! Leeds Bread Co-op is an independent social enterprise and worker co-op, specialising in slowly fermented, hand-crafted bread. They aim to create a fair workplace with democratic decision-making processes; to produce bread in a socially and environmentally responsible way, minimising their use of packaging; and to offer workshops to engage the local community.


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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on supporting local businesses is linked to the following SDGs:

      • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
      • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.