Whenever I think of LCiL and The Real Junkfood Project (Leicester Battalion) one word comes into my mind. That word is the Dutch "Verbinding". Don't worry - the English translation is not as ominous as it sounds - "Verbinding" may read as though it may mean "Binding" in English - it actually means "Connection".
There are three events per week which make me think of that word. All three are held at the West End Neighbourhood Centre on Andrewes Street, in the West End of Leicester.
Thursday evenings (7pm until 8.30pm) are when people turn up for food at the "Pay As You Feel Cafe". Not only do you meet a rather eclectic group of people - you are also helping to divert perfectly edible food from landfill. The volunteers are a great bunch of people too.
On Friday mornings (11.30am until 2.00pm) LCiL run something called a "Social Media Cafe" (with food provided by the Real Junkfood Cafe). In this case - the term "Social Media" has what you might call a slightly more "human" element than Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the computerised "Social Media" streams (although these do come into play on occassion). This version of "Social Media" is more of a "Human Newspaper" kind of meeting point. You can get information or advice about different subjects - you can sometmes hear interesting talks - or you can just sit and find people to share your news and views with. The people who attend range from the ones who "society" would consider to be "normal" through to the "Disabled" - physical disability or Mental Health issues. Personally I have had discussions with people who I would never have plucked up the courage to speak to otherwise on subjects which "Society" can sometimes still treat as "Taboo" - and felt absolutely comfortable. Seriously - the "Social Media Cafe" is a great place for learning about issues which affect different people - without having to worry about your personal safety if you accidentally say the wrong thing. It is also a great place for realising that even people with severe disabilities can (and do) have a valid role to play in society.
Last Saturday was the start of an event called "Super Saturday". This runs from 11.00am until 3.00pm. The best way to describe it is a mix of both the Thursday "Pay As You Feel" Cafe and the Friday "Social Media Cafe" with extras thrown in - in the form of some kind of crafty-type stuff, table football, a small stage where budding performers could entertain the crowd, etc. Even the local Police turned up and joined in with the fun.
We hear so much about how Society is so fragmented with different groups almost living in isolation from each other - as well as how there is no such thing as "Community" any more.
All it takes is a couple of people to get together and organise an event for everybody to attend - in a location which is accessible for all - not forgetting the friendly people who help run it.
If you are in the West End of Leicester, on a Thursday evening, Friday morning, or Saturday afternoon, come along and join us. You will be given a very warm welcome.
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