Nestled down Carver Street is Carver House which encompasses many different services but on Wednesdays from 12 -3.30pm becomes the home to a great place.
Press the buzzer and wait to be let in. Then go up a flight of stairs and through the door where you will arrive in a place of tea, cosiness and serenity.
My first visit to The Storybook Café is one I will always remember fondly as I felt at ease from the moment I entered the room, mainly due to the lovely lady who set up the café in October 2016: Amy Metcalf. She welcomed me in with a smile and ushered me to take a seat on one of the many cosy sofas and chairs grouped around the room, with comfy pillows to relax on. I felt welcomed, not hovered over, and could take a moment to get used to the space in my own time.
I then could choose one of the two flavours of freshly baked and decorated cupcakes to complement my drink and paid what I felt like I could afford; which as a student was an immense relief.
I had planned to spend only half an hour there just checking the place out but I ended up staying for the remainder of the café’s opening hours taking some time to do some colouring and soak in the warmth, and welcoming atmosphere of the room. at 3.30pm I found myself wishing I did not have to leave and was already excited to return and the next week.
Attending The Storybook Café very quickly became a central part of my week There was always the option of the activities provided there including letter-writing, origami, cupcake decorating and calligraphy.
When I spoke to Amy recently about the café she mentioned that cafés had always been a space to her where she felt like she could relax and became especially important to her when her mental health declined. Amy’s passion and personal connection with the wellbeing aspect became practically combined when she created The Storybook Café in order to create an accessible space that would benefit people’s mental health through providing an atmosphere, and service, which reflected how the people attending are worth being cared for. The cafe is open to everyone not just people with a diagnosed mental illness.
I have never in my whole time attending the café felt pressured to talk about my mental wellbeing but I have always felt supported to do so when I wish to, and in this way it really caters to every individual and their respective moods and needs on a given week. Which I feel is super important, to have a place which offers this in the heart of Sheffield.
Amy hopes that The Storybook Café will one day grow into a 24/7 café run as a self-sustaining social enterprise so that sales go towards paying for staff and giving them a fair-wage so she does not have to rely on volunteers. Ultimately, she “would like the cafe to create a community that goes beyond its walls, and hopefully be a place that will support some people for a very long time as their lives’ develop and change.”
I believe The Storybook Café is well on its way to achieving this; I love being part of its community and would encourage you all to pop in one Wednesday and let it make its way into your heart too.