Trinity Leeds has refuted allegations it banned homeless people from an event aimed at tackling food poverty.
The Real Junk Food Project claims that the shopping centre banned homeless people from its Pay As You Feel Day in Trinity Kitchen on Saturday 7th February.
The Gryphon understands that some customers were refused entry because of a previous ban from the centre, although the café has criticised the decision.
Justin Mortimer, a spokesperson for The Real Junk Food Project, said: ‘The homeless were barred from entering with the reason stated that they maybe carrying needles and that some had already been barred for shoplifting. We were also accused of encouraging them as we don’t exclude people who are marginalized from accessing our food offering’.
The one-day event at Trinity Kitchen comprised of five street-food stalls offering food on a pay-as-you-feel basis. The initiative was marketed as a way to ‘give everyone access to the street food experience’ and to address ‘the battle of food waste and poverty’.
Paul Smith, Marketing Manager for Trinity Leeds, responded to the allegations, saying: ‘We were not banning homeless people from accessing the Pay As You Feel Day’.
‘We were refusing entry to any person that has previously been banned from Trinity Leeds’, he explained. ‘As I understand it, individuals, be they homeless or otherwise, that commit regular crimes such as theft, burglary or present a threat to the public by carrying offensive weapons are listed on the Business Against Crime in Leeds register and denied entry to all establishments involved’.
Mr. Smith added: ‘This is not a policy against homeless people’.
Mr. Mortimer said: ‘We strongly disagree with the Trinity’s policies in this respect and realise that we have little in common with this organization. We have no plans to work with the Trinity in the future.’