Sol Cafe is the first LGBTIQ+ community-led grassroots sober accessible pay as you feel cafe in Birmingham and community space. We started as a direct response to the needs of the community.
Our project benefits our community at large, but most importantly the people who feel the most marginalized amongst us, black and POC, neurodiverse people, individuals with disabilities, refugees, asylum seekers and homeless people, younger and older individuals as well. Many LGBT+ people are not included in mainstream services due to general homophobia and transphobia, our services are run by queer and trans individuals and we aim to make the space as safe and accessible as possible. This means we reach community members who would otherwise be excluded from access to mental health services.
As members of the LGBTIQ+ community, being neurodiverse and from different cultural backgrounds ourselves, we have first-hand experience of the effect of marginalization and alienation. Our community faces invisible homelessness, by couch surfing or staying with friends for a period of time. Young people, or not, leave their home country with the hope to be able to find a safe space here and the possibility to live unashamed, unprosecuted by the government of their home countries, and avoid social pressure to conform to hetero-normative constraints of behaviour. It is about building the increasingly needed community safe space for people who are from minorities and at different intersections within various circumstances faced.
The impact of the project can already be felt since we first opened, people have been telling how grateful they are to have such a welcoming place that embraces everyone, and is also a sober space. We have been told repeatedly, there was no such a space before we opened. We believe that workshops and groups should remain free in order to be as inclusive as possible and mindful of people’s life situations. The need for such a space has become evident since we have opened our doors and people from the queer community have come in and been embraced.
We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and gratitude from our community, and Sol Cafe as a safe space is needed and here to stay. In order to do so, we do need to pay rent, utilities, food expenses, petrol, insurance, licenses and also support ourselves to support others. That's where your kind support comes in and means we can keep on nourishing this well-loved community space and let others grow and thrive within it.
With your help we will be able to :
Stay open and provide a safe space for our community, as well as affordable or pay what you can vegan meals.
Provide a space that nurtures and looks after the well-being of individuals from the community.
Continue supporting various groups (361 Sober, UNMUTED, Birmingham non-binary group) and individuals to run workshops and focus groups (LGBTIQ+ Check-ins, Queer book club, Black and POC check-ins, Trans check-ins).
Keep building up our library, so LGBTIQ+ books are available to our community.
Keep creating a sensory area for the neurodiverse members of our community
Get trained to better support people and create a safe hub where people can find services to be referred to.
Aid in the fight against the stigma and advocate for the well-being of the queer community, not just by providing a safe space for members of such community but also by actively engaging in discourse and educating the public through talks, book clubs, meetings, and events.
Provide a space where individuals can explore their creativity through free weekly creative workshops where participants are invited to learn new skills and make connections with like-minded people which in turn builds confidence and improves wellbeing.
Create jobs and opportunities by:
Offering financial aid to individuals from the queer community through paid volunteering, which can have a significant impact in building confidence, providing them with a space where they can be celebrated, and enabling them to have financial stability.
Providing financial aid to queer emerging artists and creatives by offering the space to facilitate creative workshops for members of the community.
Offering financial support to queer chefs and anyone else interested in developing their cooking skills by providing healthy vegan meals for the local community.
For this Crowdfunding campaign, we have partnered with fabulous chefs and artists who have donated amazing prices to say thank you for supporting us. So check our rewards!