SAYiT supports and empowers young LGBT+ people in Sheffield through group work one to one support and outreach. We are proud to be youth lead and are supporting young people to raise donations for the SAYeaT café.
Young people often tell us that SAYiT is the only place they feel they can be their authentic selves in a safe and non-judgemental environment, as well as meeting other young people that have similar or shared experiences.
As is mirrored across the country, Covid 19 has had a significant impact on our young people both emotionally and practically. Exacerbating feelings of isolation, and a deterioration in their mental health and wellbeing.
Whilst we have continued to offer support to young people throughout the pandemic by delivering online sessions, and offering ad hoc limited face to face support, we have been unable to offer our normal weekly in person youth group sessions which has prevented young people been able to socialise and support their peers. This has further evidenced the need for more accessible, neuro diverse spaces for LGBT+ for young people.
Our young people propose to create a pop up café that runs on a monthly basis. It will be welcoming, LGBT+ inclusive, neuro-diverse friendly and alcohol free. Whilst the café will not have its own building we plan to utilise spaces around the city. We plan to serve a limited menu which will include hot drinks, snacks and baked good at a subsidised price and prepared and made by young people.
Young LGBT+ people often feel outcast in social settings therefore it is important that SAYeaT is designed by, ran by and for young people. When speaking to SAYiT’s young people around SAYeaT, one said “It will mean there’s a safe space for LGBT people, and I have never had that outside of Pride or Fruitbowl”
When we asked our young people why we needed “SAYeaT” one said “To fill the gap of inclusive queer spaces for youth, and those who don’t enjoy alcohol/ can’t consume alcohol/ find alcohol/loud events distressful. Additionally it’s more inclusive and safe, removing the pressure of public places.” Another said “There is gay bars for adults, youth need a place too”.
It’s socially normal to nip for a coffee, without needing an occasion or company. Another young person said that SAYeaT would be “A safe space for anyone regardless of gender, sexuality, expression, or anything. It also means that there is a safe space for young LGBT people that isn’t a bar/overly sexual.”
Young people themselves are a minority group, socialisation is a key part of development yet there are limited safe spaces for young people to do that. Young people don't have the finances to plan day trips or activities, they often don’t have access to a car, they can’t enter pubs/bars and don’t always have homes where they can welcome their friends and peers into. When asked what SAYeaT will achieve, young people said that it will be a “Safe space to hang out” a “Non alcoholic space to hang out” and a “Safe and friendly space for youth that maybe need to get away”
According to AKT 24% of homeless young people identify as LGBTQ+. We know that home life can be difficult for LGBT+ youth but also know that young people that access SAYiT benefit from our youth groups and support.
The young people we work with say we need SAYeaT as “There is a lack of inclusive queer spaces for youth… It also allows people to come together from groups, make friends and be able to provide a home for change."
SAYeaT will enable LGBT+ young people to gain work experience and vocational qualifications such as customer service, food hygiene and Barista training. According to Stonewall’s 2018 LGBT in Britain Work Report more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT at work in the last year because they were afraid of discrimination. One of SAYiT’s young people said that doing work experience through SAYiT would mean that “I wouldn’t have to hide my gender”. We also know from the same report that almost one in five LGBT people (18 per cent) 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 in the last year.
Unfortunately unemployment for young people has increased by 10% since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic as well as
(Youth unemployment statistics 20 April, 2021). Our young people gaining experience and qualifications through the café will make their chances of employment much greater.
Employment related qualifications for our young people will mean they will, broaden their career opportunities and give them a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.
When we asked our young people why you should donate to our SAYeaT campaign one young person said “It shows you care about the children, their wellbeing and their mental health. It shows you understand that some people are less well off than others, less cared about. You understand that some people need a safe space to be themselves and you care”. Another young person wanted you to know that SAYeaT will be “A place for LGBT+ youth mainly. For all ages, gender, sexuality, or ability to feel safe, a place to escape bad home life or school, a place for kids to hang out because socialisation is vital to mental health. Take your kids there to show you accept them.” Another simply said “I’m excited. I really like the idea of aprons and I love the idea of name tags and pronouns”