A ‘candlelight cafe’ has reopened to create a safe space for women across the borough.
Petrus, a charity which provides residential and day support to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Rochdale, Greater Manchester reopened its ‘candlelight cafe’ for the first time since the start of the pandemic on Thursday July 8.
Situated at the charity’s hub on Great George Street the cafe uses only fairy lights and tea lights to create a welcoming atmosphere.
Women’s empowerment worker Caroline Molloy said the service offers the women attending the chance to access any services the charity might offer as well as socialising.
She said: “We dim all the lights in the hub and then we have little fairy lights and tea lights just to create a nice cosy and welcoming atmosphere for the ladies.
“The main aim of the group is to have a safe space for ladies who have had all different kinds of trauma, and multiple traumas, to have somewhere where they can focus on their wellbeing.
“It is a protected space and they can access support for whatever it is they need whether that’s domestic violence, substance issues, homelessness, their housing.”
The cafe is set to run every Thursday at the hub from 11am to 2.30pm and those attending can also access provisions such as toiletries and sanitary items from the dedicated women’s service team.
Caroline added that her team had a great response during their reopening.
“We had a good response. A lot of ladies are excited that we’re back open again to come in and sit down,” she said.
“We’re running breakfast now in a similar way as well so it was nice that they could come back to their own space.
“Because we turn the big fluorescent lights off and we have the fairy lights, as soon as you walk in it is a really welcoming atmosphere. It’s a completely protected, no judgement space for them.”
As well as the cafe Caroline said she is hoping to set up a ‘grow and cook group’ so the women can grow their own herbs and earn food qualifications by cooking meals in a way to make the service their own.
She added that it was also important for those attending to have a specifically women-dedicated space.
Caroline said: “That is really important because some ladies have had a lot of trauma, often at the hands of men, so it is important for us to have that safe space.
“It’s about taking control of their lives and living a healthy life as well.
“A lot of the socialisation that they do is peer led and they look to each other for that lived experience and support.”
The Petrus Hub is located at 73 Great George Street, Rochdale, OL16 1QG.
To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01706 526289 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm).
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