Liz Davies: Renew 6 – A mental health cafe

Liz Davies writes about a mental health café in Walkley; a quiet space where it’s OK to not be OK

On a grey October afternoon when my mood matched the weather I visited Renew 6, a cafe in Walkley where it is ‘a quiet space where it’s okay to not be okay’. I was made to feel welcome and invited to have a hot (free) drink and cake or biscuits and to join a table where people were doing a craft activity. I did not have to join in. There were other tables and chairs with games, magazines or books and a reflective corner with comfy sofas and cushions.

Lydia and Jill are the inspiration behind the cafe. Renew 6 is a community space run by volunteers with Christian values. They are very grateful for the use of the space in Cafe Pie, where the owners Alex and Telicia are right behind the project that allows Jill and Lydia to open the mental health cafe.

The cafe offers activities based on the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’:
1. give
2. keep learning
3. be active
4. take notice
5. connect

I enjoyed my afternoon at the cafe and was easily engrossed in a craft project where I had an end product to take home. (Again there was no charge for the materials, but people can make a donation if they wish). I made a decorated box which I was very pleased with. I am not saying I leapt out of the cafe totally healed of my mental health problem but my mood was lifted for the time I was there by the people attending the cafe, who were friendly but not intrusive.

I have visited again recently, both when I felt well and chatted happily to people, and another time when I felt really quite low and could hardly talk. I felt comfortable that I didn’t have to talk and I didn’t have to explain myself with the people who were there. I felt that they understood. Sometimes empathy is better than tea and sympathy, tea and chats better than talking therapy, crafting better than medicine, compassion and kindness more healing than psychology. But I cover all bases, I keep taking the medicine, and do the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’.

The Renew 6 vision is to create relationships with like-minded people in a welcoming space where people can share habits for good mental and emotional wellbeing. At the end of each session there is an opportunity for prayer or meditation or reflection. Anyone is welcome to join in with this or leave as they feel appropriate for them. Jill and Lydia hope one day that Renew 6 will grow into a 4 day a week café.

Give it a go it might work for you.

Renew 6 is held every Wednesday from 3.30-5.30pm at:
Cafe pie, 382 South Road, Walkley
Contact 0114 241 9560
Or renew6sheffield@gmail.com

6 Comments

  • juliet

    What a wonderful idea ! I wish them huge success with this. I shall have to find out where Walkley is. We have found out in the Rotherham Flourish group that what the participants appreciate as much as the creative side is the empathy. Just being with people who truly know what you are going through is healing in itself.

    • liz davies

      Just a little additional information that the Renew team that set this mental health café up have also set up a Café in Nether Edge called Renew11!

  • Karlito

    Great to see this. It is part of the vision I have for a Creative Hub for people with mental health issues (is there anyone without?) in Sheffield. I put the idea forward in a flourish competition to improve the welfare and wellbeing of people in Sheffield. Well done guys. Karlito.

    • liz davies

      Just a little additional information that the Renew team that set this mental health café up have also set up a Café in Nether Edge called Renew11!

  • Amy

    This sounds like a really good place. It’s good to hear that somebody has set up something like this. I might go and see some time.

  • liz davies

    Just a little additional information that the Renew team that set this mental health café up have also set up a Café in Nether Edge called Renew11!

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