Old School Junk, comes to The Light.

Old School Junk, comes to The Light.

When the Child Friendly Leeds Team heard that Old School Junk was taking over an empty unit in The Light, we simply had to go and have a look!

As you approach the opening to the restaurant, there appears to be a trendy grocers in situ.  There is vibrant fruit and vegetables set against shelves of bread and other household essentials.  This is actually a Share House: everything is given to customers on a pay as you feel basis allowing people to donate in time, money or skills. If customers can’t pay, they can simply get involved by donating their time or skills back to the project.


The Light management team are hosting the project because they could see the need to support families during the long school holidays.  Tragically, many young people experience holiday hunger, without the support of free school meals and the school breakfast clubs.  Customers are welcome to browse the shop and take away any products they want, to put a meal on the table.  Visitors to the restaurant are also welcome to eat lunch on a pay as you feel basis.

Adam Smith, the project founder explained that although the unit has power, it doesn’t have a working kitchen, but that was no problem for him and his innovative team.  They are preparing and serving delicious Raw Vegan food to work around this and using the tools they have available to them. The café opens and serves lunch between 12-2pm and will run until the 2nd September 2017.  There are also fun activities for young people to enjoy within the restaurant.  The place has a unique atmosphere and the positive impact for people in Leeds is far reaching!


Adam explained that The Real Junk Food Project has 126 projects, in 7 countries.  He and his global teams are tackling poverty and holiday hunger by first addressing the global issue of food wastage.  Adam explained that the issue of poverty can be an unrelenting issue and that they decided to flip the issue on its head, by working first, to reduce food waste.  The amazing consequent of their work in this field is that more people in Leeds are fed well and helped to feel part of a wonderfully positive community.  All the food for the restaurant and food share is donated by supermarkets and food suppliers. The food tends to be food that is reaching or has just past its ‘best before date’.

All the food is prepared by experienced chefs but excitingly, young people are also helping to prepare the food.  Your child can volunteer from 10am-2pm every Mon to Fri during the holiday.  The food share house is also open on Saturdays during the summer!  Just drop in and sign your child up for probably one of the best experiences of their summer!  If it is easier, you can book your child a place by emailing oldschooljunk@hotmail.com.


A young visitor to the restaurant, Zach Miles said “I loved helping at the restaurant because I had great fun making the banana and berry smoothies.”

Stephanie James, Marketing Manager at The Light said: “As our nominated charity sponsor for the year, we are delighted to be able to provide a space from which Fuel for School can run the sharehouse and vegan cafe from over the 6 week summer holidays. Supporting our local community is vitally important to us as they have supported us for so many years. To be able to welcome so many children and families and provide this support in terms of food, education and entertainment is a wonderful position to be in. We are also looking forward to dedicating some of our time in helping out in the Old School Junk café and sharehouse. We hope to see you there!”

One Response

  1. Last Thursday I went and had my lunch at The Old School Junk project in the Light. I have to say the whole experience was amazing. I was greeted by a young man who very politely checked my reservation and led me to a table. I was offered a drink – opted for tea but fruit smoothies looked gorgeous. My order was taken: spaghetti with a vegan sauce – it came out beautifully displayed as a nest of spaghetti and was delicious. I then ended my meal with two mini coconut cakes. The whole time I was there, the five young people working there as volunteers were being trained up by one lady who worked so well with them – encouraged them not to hover at the tables or rush to clear empty plates and to make polite conversation with guests. The whole experience was a joy. Talking to the young people afterwards, they told me how much they had personally gained from the experience. It would be great to have more projects like this running in Leeds. By the time I left (12.45pm) all the tables were full. Open until 2 Sept from 12 – 2pm daily (but would recommend booking due to its popularity).

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