Page 28 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
P. 28

  — Yorkshire style
KIND-HEARTED market trader Michael Pratt is helping the destitute in Leeds by running a trailblazing scheme which involves members of the public paying for a hot drink or a tasty wrap for a homeless person.
Michael runs The Yorkshire Wrap in Leeds Kirkgate Market, where he specialises in Yorkshire pudding wraps filled with tasty treats from breakfast wraps to slow cooked pork and beef fillings.
“I trained as a chef and worked in catering from six years, then moved into the care sector where I worked for 17 years,” he said.
He was tempted to try his hand at his own street food business when the trend took off several years ago. He decided to go for it when
he heard about opportunities at Kirkgate Market where the council had invested millions and launched a large food court.
The inspiration for Yorkshire pudding wraps came from his younger days when he would nurse a hangover in his favourite pub on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon where the landlord offered meat and gravy in a Yorkshire pudding which proved a perfect antidote for a sore head.
“I set up in the market and the business has gone really well,” Michael said.
As well as a flourishing business, he recently learned that he had won a prestigious 2020 Good Food Award.
“But coming into the city centre
to work made me aware of the number of homeless people and the terrible conditions they live in,” he said.
Michael came up
with the idea of
inviting his
customers to pay an
extra £1 for a coffee or£3forawrapon
top of the cost of their
order. Each donation
is chalked up on a blackboard on his stall
and homeless people come in between 3 and 4 pm and are given a hot drink and a wrap that a caring member of the public has paid for.
“I don’t make anything from the scheme as I charge £5.50 for my wraps, but it makes a big difference to the homeless people,” he said.
One customer raised £700 by running the London Marathon and donated the entire amount to support the initiative.
Michael said: “You get to know some of the homeless people and there are some tragic cases. I don’t know how they survive in this cold weather.”
He said that some had drink or drug problems and a lot of homeless people had mental health issues.
But some people had been living successful lives until something bad happened in their lives that had reduced them to living on the streets.
Michael has made links with homeless charities in Leeds.
“One man came here devastated because he had returned to his spot to find his tent and everything he owned had been taken,” Michael said.
He liaised with a homeless charity and a new tent and supplies were found for him that evening.
Michael said the scheme was simple and easy to run and he hopes other like-minded market traders will consider setting up similar schemes to help homeless people near their market.

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