Home Sweet Home
- Anna Dyson
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Two of us from the core team have been on a trip this afternoon to Garforth.
We had been invited to see some furniture that was destined for landfill but may be useful for the new cafe, so we headed over to see what we could find. The industrial unit’s tenant was a card maker so in amongst the furniture was some beautiful cards, including one that was more like a 3-D paper artwork, around the theme of ‘home sweet home’. I knew I had to give it to Anita as she often would call the cafe that, especially when her current temporary accommodation is anything but that.
For so many people, where they are living, or rest their head at night, can feel anything but home. We know that for some of those people in our city (Leeds, UK) Toast Love Coffee had become their home; their place where they could relax and enjoy some food and conversation in a friendly, comfortable and beautiful environment.
After returning back to our side of the city, I gave Anita a call to see if she was around to deliver the little gift I had picked up for her. She gave me directions to where she was; with a friend who had recently moved in to new accommodation with her three-year-old son, after being granted asylum recently. When I arrived, I was welcomed with hugs kisses and smiles and invited into the modest lounge. It was spotlessly clean and modestly decorated; it felt very homely.
Anita explained to me that when her friend had been given the house, they had to spend two days cleaning and clearing the rubbish; the empty bottles of alcohol, the debris from drug use, and other unsavoury items. The fruits of their labour was obvious as the little boy played on the floor with his few toy cars, and we sat on the sofas catching up.
When I gave Anita the gift, without a second’s thought, she placed it on her friend’s mantelpiece, knowing that this was its rightful place. Until she is granted long term safety here ( in December it will be six years since she arrived and first entered the asylum process), where she and her son lay their heads is not ‘home’; something probably most of us reading this take for granted day after day.
But today is also one step closer to the cafe re-opening; we are in final negotiations with the landlord of a new venue for ToastLoveCoffee, right in the heart of Harehills, and when we sign that lease, and begin the work to reopen, it will feel that collectively we are all returning to our own Home Sweet Home in the city.