A petition to save a’kindness wall’ at a Leeds cafe collecting donations of unwanted items - which was ordered to be removed on health and safety grounds - has now gathered 800 signatures.
The campaign started after the managers of the Armley Junktion cafe - a ‘Pay as you feel’ café which uses surplus food destined for waste - received a letter from Leeds City Council environmental officers asking them to remove the shelving outside the building which was set up to receive donations of unwanted but usable items which can be picked up by people who need them.
The letter asked them to remove the “obstruction” as it could cause injury to pedestrian and the disabled. It added the business could be fined up to £1,000 but the council was “reluctant to use its legal powers” and would prefer “co-operation”.
After the row broke, #saveourkindnesswall was soon trending on social media.
The online petition says: “The wall provides a platform for local residents to donate unwanted clothes, books, toys etc. for those who may need them. This is not only a model of the kind of community values the city prides itself on, but also provides much-needed support and a sense of compassion for those who may have fallen on hard times.
“We feel that the Kindness Wall not only poses no obstruction, but is an example of all that is best about the city as whole. We are asking Leeds City Council to please do whatever it can to keep this fantastic community resource.”
Campaigners stress that there have never been any complaints due to obstruction caused by the ‘wall’.
Café bosses are due to meet with Leeds City Council today to discuss the matter. A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We very much appreciate what the team at the café are doing with the kindness wall. We’re meeting with the team as soon as possible so we can find a practical and sensible solution for the donations to continue in a way that avoids potential obstructions in the street. As always, our approach is to work with people and we hope that everyone will work with us to ensure we’re all meeting our duty of care.”