Campaign launched to help Sheffield’s LGBT+ young people create a ‘safe and inclusive’ pop up cafe

Young people from Sheffield’s LGBT+ community are hoping to create pop up cafes around the city to provide members with somewhere safe and inclusive to go.

By Lisa Wong
Friday, 14th May 2021, 12:10 pm

SAYiT, a charity which supports and empowers young LGBT+ people in Sheffield has launched a campaign in conjunction with Aviva, in a bid to raise the funds required to set up a pop-up café.

Up to 35 young people have been involved in the creation of SAYeaT, which will be designed by, run by, and for young people.

Nicola Fearnley-Hill, manager at SAYiT, said: “The need is there. There’s nothing like it in the city. It’s not just a café, it’s a hub for those who are isolated or marginalised - somewhere where they can develop themselves.”

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She told how it was a “really new innovative idea” and one which would not only benefit young people socially but one which would also equip them with life skills and vocational qualifications.

Nicola hopes the campaign will help the charity to reach “far more young people across South Yorkshire”.

She added: “It’s fun, and a different idea. It will make a lot of difference to young people across the city.”

The pandemic has had a significant impact on young people emotionally, exacerbating feelings of isolation, and a deterioration in their mental health and wellbeing.

SAYiT Young People Pride.

In a survey by SAYiT last year, it was found that 64.6 percent of young people said that lockdown had a negative impact on their mental health.

Whilst SAYiT has continued to offer support to young people via online sessions, and through limited ad hoc face-to-face support, it has not been able to offer weekly in-person youth group sessions.

Many have often spoken about feeling outcast in social settings so the café is hoping to change that.

One young person told how there was currently no safe space for LGBT people to go outside of Pride or Fruitbowl [a SAYiT group], with others adding that there is a lack of “inclusive queer spaces for youth”.

SAYeaT is a youth led project and young people have been involved with all decisions from deciding the name of the cafe to producing the promotional video.

For some young people, it is also about creating “a place to escape bad home life or school, a place for kids to hang out because socialisation is vital to mental health”.

Those involved ensure that it will be a “welcoming, LGBT+ inclusive, neuro-diverse friendly and alcohol-free” space.

It has been proposed that the café will run on a monthly basis, serving hot drinks, snacks and baked goods at a subsidised price, which will be prepared and made by the young people.

The café will not be contained in its own building but instead utilise spaces around the city.

The project will also enable LGBT+ young people to broaden their career opportunities and give them a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.

In the Stonewall 2018 LGBT in Britain Work Report, it was found that 18 percent of LGBT people who were looking for work said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job.

Through SAYeaT, young people will have the opportunity to gain work experience and vocational qualifications in areas such as customer service, food hygiene and Barista training.

To donate to the campaign, see here.

For more information, see here.