People of ‘all ages, races and religions’ are invited to enjoy a cup of tea and a friendly chat at a new cafe.
The cafe, called ‘CafeCare’, is being launched next week at Heeley Parish Church, and will provide people food, drinks and friendship.
Reverend Bob Evans said: “The church became aware of more people in the community who were struggling with isolation and loneliness.
“People were finding themselves isolated because their families had moved away, and then they felt like they don’t have anywhere to go.
“We wanted to provide somewhere that people could go to see a friendly face and receive some help and support. We do not claim to be experts, we aren’t, but we can signpost to other services that would help people.”
The service will launch on January 22 and will then be held every Tuesday between 11am and 1.30pm.
Revd Evans said: “Everyone is welcome, of all ages, races and religions. We want everyone who feels like they need someone to talk to, to be able to come in, and we will offer a non-judgemental listening ear.
“People from all areas of Sheffield are also welcome, as well as families. We’ve just taken delivery of a baby pen so even people with small children can come. We knew that it wouldn't be a good idea for one or two year olds to be wandering around when people had hot drinks, but now there is somewhere they can play safely.”
The cafe is being run by church volunteers and also members of Time Builders, a Sheffield-based volunteering scheme that supports people to develop themselves and do good in their community.
Revd Evans said: “Our church volunteers will be at the cafe on a rota basis and I will also be there regularly. We are hoping to recruit additional volunteers with the help of Time Builders.
“The volunteers have all been trained in safeguarding to be able to support people appropriately, and we are excited about this launch.”
The cafe has been funded by the church and also a £500 grant from the Keeping People Well Partnership.
Revd Evans said: “The grant has been a huge help with setting up the cafe. We hope that the future costs of the cafe will pay for themselves, if it is popular - we will just have to wait and see.”
As well as being able to talk to one of the church volunteers about their problems, attendees to the cafe will also be able to buy food and drink.
There will be a choice of cakes and biscuits and bread and soup, as well as a selection of hot and cold drinks.
Revd Evans added: “The food will be a mix of homemade and shop bought. We do have some keen cooks among our volunteers, but obviously homemade food doesn’t keep as long so we will have some shop bought cakes in individual packets too so we can always make sure we have food available.
“The food is paid for, soup will be about 20 or 30 pence, but we will help people who would struggle to pay because of their circumstances.”
There will also be a job club on the first Tuesday of every month, when a specialist employment support worker from Reach South Sheffield Work Clubs will help people to find work.
Revd Evans said: “We hope the cafe will be popular. Everyone we have told about it has said they think it’s a good idea and they are pleased about the opening. We will wait and see.”
The cafe will be officially opened by Sue Pearson, chief executive of Heeley City Farm, at Heeley Parish Church Hall, Gleadless Road, at 12.30pm on January 22. The cafe will, however, be open from 11am to 1.30pm.