Seeing humanity

We’ve had the most fabulous welcome since we opened on Harehills Road in December:

Locals sharing how they’ve been enjoying an affordable healthy lunch option, volunteers sharing how they’ve been enjoying themselves so much, learning new skills and making new friends (and reconnecting with old ones). There’s been a fantastic buzz of conversation alongside the sounds of the espresso machine creating delicious coffee.

Over the weekend, we were burgled. One person thought they’d try their luck and break in. They stole our till, with the contactless card reader in it (ie worthless) but no cash.

That person has cost us about £250 in replacement and repairs. And walked away with nothing of value or use.

That person broke in to our cafe but will not break our spirit.

If that person was you, please know we are not angry or vengeful. We will welcome you as we do all our customers. If you are in need, just ask and we’ll try to help you.

But also know that we want every penny we earn and work so hard for to be spent on creating community and a positive Harehills; not on replacement equipment… and you didn’t really benefit from it did you? it’s just a waste of all our time isn’t it?

Let’s use your skills in a different way next time and work together to create opportunities to build something really special together.

Post script:

This post was originally posted on Facebook. Since then, it has been shared 21 times, reached almost 3500 people and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive to our response.

But people often ask me if our online presence and activity really makes a difference; if it’s worth all the effort to get a few likes and shares- does it really have an impact?

Well, I would answer ‘yes’. I know we’ve had customers (and even a runner who didn’t stop but gave us a contribution as he went by) coming in this week to offer support and contribute to our till again to cover the costs. To them we say a huge thank you. And I also like to imagine people who’ve read that story have found, in their own way, within their own lives, a way to seek to see the humanity in the other, even when they’ve done something to hurt them.

published by Anna Dyson
Founder and Director of ToastLoveCoffee. CEO of Dyson family, Roundhay (Leeds) branch which involves a huge array of skills impossible to imagine or articulate! Formerly, Jewish educator and community professional.


  1. posted by Liz Campbell on Reply

    Facebook and Instagram users get immediate access to daily life at this amazing cafe, so thanks Anna for the blog. As for me a ‘more mature ‘ volunteer Twitter will do for me, one of our partners the loyal Co-op uses Twitter for ‘shoutouts’ – dropped in to TLC this week called our mission ‘inspirational ‘ , our humanity for all to see.

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