The Real Junk Food project pioneered in Leeds is coming to Dewsbury courtesy of social campaigner Paul Burr.
Paul has announced plans to open Kirklees’ first Real Junk Food Cafe in Dewsbury after he became ‘disgusted’ by the quantity of still edible food being discarded by retail shops and food outlets. Paul, a long time social campaigner plans to open the cafe with the help of Linda Holmes, owner of Sensory World Play Centre and Cafe on Old Westgate, Dewsbury.
The Junk Food Project sessions will serve only dishes created out of food donated by nearby premises that food retailing rules would otherwise have destined for the bin. The Leeds project has already taken off and is on course to acquiring control of its own premises.
Paul's efforts to find suitable premises in Dewsbury were frustrated until he bumped into Linda Holmes who has just opened her new cafe at Sensory World. Linda bought into the idea straight away and offered the use of her facilities for the Project to use in the evenings after her Sensory World cafe has closed.
“Sensory World staff have kindly offered us their space to use and our other objective, like the cafe in Leeds, is that the food will be affordable to everyone, regardless of income.
To do this we’ll operate the cafe on a pay what you feel basis which means that even if a person has no money at all they’ll be able to have a meal but will do something for us in return, like washing up, which will give everyone their own sense of worth.
It’s unlike anything else that is being offered in the town, especially for those struggling financially who find they generally have to have a referral to access a free meal service.”
Food is not proving such a problem and the project already has many offers from shops and food outlets in Dewsbury. Actually disposing of surplus food can be an expensive headache so the possibility of seeing it actually used to produce tasty, healthy meals is far preferable to a business owner than having to pay for disposal.
Paul is now on the hunt for more volunteers, especially good cooks, to help ensure that the project can develop and continue in the long term.
The first Real Food Junk Project was set up in Armley, Leeds by chef Adam Smith, 29, in 2013 and has since inspired 39 other cafes around England. He said that in the last 12 months close to 50,000 tonnes of food have been saved from landfill and thousands of people have been fed.