A double celebration for SoundCafe Leicester


The Bishop of Leicester’s Lent Appeal 2019 has raised £3,168.46 towards supporting the work of a charity which works with people who are homeless, isolated and vulnerable.

SoundCafe Leicester (SCL) meets every week in the Grand Hall at St Martins House and works with those who are homeless or socially isolated by providing a safe creative space to explore, grow and express their artistic talents. Guests listen to and perform music, they sing together, are encouraged to write poetry, prose and undertake arts and crafts.  

The donation from the Appeal will help pay for the SoundCafe choir who rehearse each week in the Cathedral conducted by Emma Trounson. Research has shown that if people sing together then their feelings of well-being and self-esteem improve.

Rachel Griffiths, SoundCafe’s Manager, said:

“Many of our guests have found the support from SoundCafe has meant they can make real changes in their lives, this really inspires all our team of over 30 volunteers. The choir enables guests to tell their story and raise the profile about the needs of this very vulnerable group.”

The choir meets weekly on a term time basis and practice within Leicester Cathedral. This provides the opportunity for guests to perform to visitors within the Cathedral as well as gain confidence through singing. The next performance will be the Carol-a-thon on the 7th December from 12.30-2.30pm. 

The second cause for celebration is that Roz Burch, Chair of Trustees for SoundCafe, is being licensed by the Bishop as a Pioneer Lay Minister, in the annual Called Together service at Leicester Cathedral at 11am on Saturday 12th October.  

Roz said:

“Pioneering is about firsts – doing things differently.  It’s about connecting with people outside of what most people expect of Church.  At SoundCafe we’ve been building a different sort of community for five years and it’s been like having a blank canvas – we haven’t known where we were going and it’s been risky and exciting, sometimes even scary, but now the Bishop and the Diocese have recognised that we are actually part of what they’re about too and want to give us their blessing and support for the next steps.  I hope that by licensing me it’s a sign that we will be expanding the growth and reach of the Church to offer welcome in people who are usually on the edge of society.  I also hope that I will be able to help our SoundCafe guests to explore who they are and find a fulfilment and acceptance.”

Bishop Martyn said:

“SoundCafe Leicester is a wonderful example of Christians living out their everyday faith in loving service to people who often don’t feel welcomed or wanted in our society. I am grateful to those churches who have helped to raise this money and shown their support for this work.

“I am also very glad that we are also able to recognise the work of SoundCafe by licensing Roz as a Pioneer lay Minister in the local Church of England at our annual Called Together service at Leicester Cathedral when everyone is welcome to join in and celebrate.”

 

Background Information

SoundCafe Leicester (SCL) is a registered charity providing a safe creative space for adults who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, vulnerable or socially isolated as a consequence of their living arrangements.

SCL offers opportunities to promote feelings of well-being, confidence and self-esteem by enabling people to take part in creative activities such as singing together, poetry, crafts, drawing and painting.

More than 30 volunteers including Samaritans support SCL’s work.  Since the launch of SCL in October 2014 the numbers of people, our guests, attending have grown from 18 to more than 50 per session.

SCL welcomes everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or ability.  SoundCafe provides the opportunity to explore the Christian faith for those who wish to.

SoundCafe’s Patrons are: Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Martyn Snow; Janet Arthur; and Cllr Manjula Sood, Assistant City Mayor.  Other supporters include: The West Leicester Mission Partnership, St Martin’s House, Leicester Cathedral, The Samaritans and Groby Sings.

The trustees of SCL include those with experience of working with rough sleepers, long term homeless, socially isolated people, those with drug or mental health issues and those who are destitute.  This experience has shown us that we need to provide creative solutions to meet the diverse needs of those who are or were once homeless. 

Homelessness and the effects of it cannot be solved by a short term stay in a hostel nor by one organisation. 

Aims

  • provide a safe creative space regularly for people who are homeless and socially isolated to enable them to explore their own creativity
  • provide a sense of ‘belonging’
  • facilitate guests in ‘finding their voice’ and ensuring that it is heard
  • build, develop and sustain partnerships which enable collaboration on projects
  • develop a platform for information, communication to support wayfinding services

Objectives                                                

  • organise regular gatherings and events for SCL’s choir to practice and perform
  • ensure that the network of homelessness provision in Leicester is aware of SCL’s services
  • ensure that the ‘homeless voice’ is heard promoting the work of SoundCafe at different forums and events
  • develop a platform for information and communication to support wayfinding services
  • support guests in ‘wayfinding’ appropriate service provision at SCL sessions
  • support people who are homeless develop feelings of well-being, confidence and self-esteem
  • identify new ways of supporting people who are homeless to gain confidence and skills.
  • encourage faith communities, especially the Christian churches, to take on the responsibility to provide localised support, befriending, mentoring and faith development to homeless residents living in their community

Volunteering Opportunities

Are you free on a Wednesday afternoon and looking for a new opportunity to volunteer?

SoundCafe is currently recruiting volunteers to support our Wednesday afternoon sessions 12.15 – 3.00 pm.

SoundCafe is only possible through the dedicated support of our volunteers and helpers.

If you are interested in exploring further do contact maria@soundcafe.org.uk and we can arrange for you to visit and explore volunteering.