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LGBTQ+ Brum café needs financial support to stay open

A pay-as-you-feel Birmingham café providing a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community needs financial support to stay open.

Sol Cafe, based in Digbeth, is believed to be Birmingham’s only ‘sober café’ where marginalised communities can get away from clubbing and alcohol.

Volunteers Sid and Cecile told BirminghamLive the café offers an escape from Birmingham’s nightlife. It’s also where the LGBTQ+ community can share stories and support one another.

Read more: Birmingham LGBT community must ‘stand together’ in face of rising homophobic attacks

The not-for-profit venue, temporarily based at Allison Street’s Warehouse Café’s site, sees customers pay whatever they can afford for vegan food and hot drinks.

Since opening in June, the popular café has launched several workshops and focus groups including Queer Book Club, 361 Sober and trans, black and POC check-ins.

But those groups will soon be moved upstairs as Warehouse Café, which only closed for the summer, is set to return.

“At the moment we pay rent to Friends of the Earth. But now we need to raise enough cash to move the café into a new space,” said Cecile.

“We want to raise at least £5,000 by October 26 and have set up a Crowdfunder to help us do that.

“A few people have said they’re worried about what’s going to happen, but I tell them: ‘don’t worry, we will find somewhere’. I completely believe we will find a new space, one way or another.

“The café has had a huge impact on the community – like ripples in the water. People feel like they’re at home when they come here.”

When asked if Cecile would like to see Sol stay in Digbeth, she said: “Ideally, yes. But a bit further out wouldn’t matter. What does matter is that we have a space for people to come.

“If anybody knows of an ideal location we could use, please let us know.”

So far, more than £2,200 has been raised to secure the cafe’s future and Cecile is currently applying for grants.

Explaining why Sol Cafe is so important, Sid told BirminghamLive: “Having a Queer, sober space is vital.

“Historically, a lot of LGBTQ+ culture has been around drinking and nightclubs. The community is affected by addictions to alcohol and things like that.

“A lot of people also feel excluded from their own homes. It’s not safe for them to be themselves.

“So to be able to come here and find a community in the day has been really important for them.

“Feedback so far has been amazing.”

To donate and help Sol Café reach its target, click here.

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