The Real Junk Food Project at LCiL

Can you remember the Real Junk Food Project? We met Alison and Bobby back in May. They were busily engaged in intercepting food and creating pop-up cafes in Leicester. And now they have made their permanent home at the Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living (LCiL) which is in the old West End Neighbourhood Building on Andrewes Street.

The cafe is now running on Thursday evenings from 7pm until 8.30pm and the Social Media Cafe runs on Fridays between 11am and 3pm. As ever, you head along and pay as you feel for your meal. They intercept food from all around the place, feeding bellies not bins, and so you are helping to support your local community, preventing food from being wasted and having a great social experience at the same time.

The great thing about intercepting food is that the menu is different each time and they are super creative with their cooking, so you’re guarenteed something very special! Manned by a team of friendly volunteers, mains, drinks and desserts are served with a smile. The cafe was buzzing when I visited, full of people, but there is definitely room for more to go and support.

I opted for a pulled pork roll, which was oozing with cheese and served with a raw slaw, which had delicious flavour and was packed full of delicious vegetables – it definitely felt a litte healthier than your average cafe because of all the wonderful fresh produce that they use. There were also lots of homemade soups available which were also packed full of veg.

After all that I was just in the market for a small dessert, so I passed up the rhubarb and apple crumble in favour of the Spiced Orange Cracken. It’s not very often that I see a menu item where I have absolutely no idea what it is, so I couldn’t resist finding out more, and in fact I’ve tried googling it and I can’t find it on google either!!

In essence it was grated orange, peel and all, mixed with spices, vanilla and syrup and then pressed into disks and baked. It was served with a delicious warm, thick chocolate and banana sauce and I got myself a cup of coffee to go with it. A very satisfying lunch and well worth the donation that I made, to help support the Real Junk Food Project to pay for their utilities and to hopefully expand their mobile catering further so that they can continue to feed people who need their support (and those of us who just want to jump on the bandwagon and make sure food gets a good home – in my belly).

I also enjoyed having a browse in their bookswap. I will have to remember to take some books down myself next time I visit as I didn’t know it was there! I picked up a lovely old illustrated book on pub signs from the 1940s which I have really enjoyed reading. If you choose not to give a cash donation you could always take some books along in exchange for your meal, or you can even sing a song, tell a story or draw a picture. There was a chap there when I visited doing the most amazing caricatures.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the LCiL, have a little browse of their website. They are a user led organisation which provides a range of services that empower disabled people and help their friends, family and other organisations to help achieve independence and inclusion for all. They’ve been around for nearly 20 years now, doing great work. If you want to support them, as well as attending the Real Junk Food Project cafe, you could see if any of their events appeal to you. They produce their own magazine and will be running the #LCIL24 24 hour newsroom on Thursday 3rd December to capture stories and projects of how people around the world are re-affirming rights for people with disabilities. It’s a free event and a great way for everyone to get involved and to share their own experiences.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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