It may feel like that with the cafe closed and TLC being unusually quiet on-line over the last few weeks, but the answer, of course, is; ‘no of course not!!’
A brief catch up:
We closed TLC over the summer due to 1) volunteer commitment over the summer (mainly mine, owing to my brood and the summer holidays) and 2) the venue we have been wasn’t going to be available to us any longer.
In the meantime, we have still been intercepting food that was destined for the bins and we have passed on to others in the real junk food network. In particular, we have been supporting Richmond Hill Primary School in creating their own community cafe, also part of TRJFP network. It has been a privilege for us to support and work alongside this incredible team of staff, parents and community members who have volunteered three days a week throughout the summer, and plan to continue on a permanent basis.
So the big question for us at TLC HQ has been: where are we going to be in September? We had hoped to reopen when schools reopened, perhaps in a new venue, but still in Harehills. Unfortunately, this has proved harder than originally thought, with empty premises in the right location being quite limited, and those that are available are well out of our price range.
But in a way, it feels like this was all meant to be, bashert is the Yiddish word for it. Because all the while, the answer was under our noses:
CATCH (Community Action to Change Harehills) is a local charity that set up The Hub where we were popping up last year. I have written previously about their work, and in particular the passion and dedication of the guy who set it all up, a local policeman, who is a real local hero and role model for the young people of Harehills.
They too have been looking at their future and have big plans to bring over a double storey cabin from Wakefield as their new premises. And they have invited us to be their community cafe.
We are honoured and delighted to be part of the evolution of CATCH, and it will really help us establish further links in the local Harehills community, as well as being able to provide a cafe and cooking space across CATCH’s projects too. We already saw some of the positive connections between TLC and CATCH last year; some of our regulars started bringing their kids to the youth clubs, and some of the youth club’s members told their parents about TLC and we welcomed them to our cafe.
This is a really exciting new chapter for TLC, and CATCH, and as you can imagine, there is a lot of work to do (and money to raise) in converting disused portacabins into the usable spaces we need. There will be a delay in our reopening (we were hoping for September, but it is looking like late 2015/early 2016) but this really seems to be the only downside of the plan. When we do reopen, the space will be ours, with a much better kitchen facility, so we hope to extend our opening hours and days (including hot lunch options for example), as well as offer other food-based projects within the space. Still using food that would otherwise go into the bins, of course, and still being a Pay As You Feel cafe.
We will be launching an on-line fundraising campaign soon, and if you are able to, please do consider donating. We will be asking for funds as well as equipment and time, and we promise copious amounts of lovely fresh coffee when we reopen again!