Lift the Lid: 23 Voices was a 10-week podcasting and journalism course co-hosted by LEEDS 2023 and Creative Lives, providing participants with the skills and confidence to create their own media about the culture that matters to them. In this article, Flynn Greenhalgh introduces Chirpy, an independent gift shop in Chapel Allerton.

Chirpy is an independent arts business described as a contemporary gift shop and workshop within the heart of Chapel Allerton here in Leeds run by shop owner Jo who has lived in Leeds for over two years, the past seven holding the shop, and she explained that owning her business is "a lot of hard work but extremely rewarding", and she went on to tell me that this is because of the people who enter her shop: Jo knows that anyone coming in is there to support her and her craft and she has developed bonds with people who frequently buy from her, which can’t be said for the high street, company-owned art shops. She told me that the shop has a lot of Yorkshire-based stock given the pure sense of pride within Leeds.

Jo elaborated further, stating the "sense of community [in Chapel Allerton] is really strong", and that every small shop in the area know each other and share customers, creating a truly unbreakable bond within the community between all of the independent shops.

Chirpy provides a wide range of workshops all run by local makers aimed at complete beginners, with the intention of creating connections with others in the area or having a nice time out with friends, varying from arm-knitting to doodling, and a visitor of the doodling class says, "I thoroughly enjoyed the doodle masterclass, and Chirpy is a fabulous space for arts and crafts workshops and always provides a warm welcome".

The small shop is a core part of Harrogate Road with a continuous rotation of exciting programmes and creative parties, and will only provide even better opportunities, crafts and products in the future. 

Hi! My name is Flynn, I am 16 and a sixth form student hoping to study environmental science at degree level. I have a strong passion for music, art and nature and I’ve absolutely loved being a part of Leeds Year of Culture with Lift the Lid as it’s given me a fantastic opportunity to discuss those things I’m so passionate about! Flynn Greenhalgh, Lift the Lid: 23 Voices participant