'Trauma cafe' taking shape in former high street electrical shop
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
A charity with a focus on mental health and well-being is transforming a former electrical shop into its first "trauma cafe".
Lowestoft-based Access Community Trust aims to open in busy Gorleston high street at the end of June helping to make access to mental health advice and services as easy popping to the shops and grabbing your groceries.
The project is being funded by Norfolk and Waveney CCG and follows the success of a similar cafe, Sams in Bevan Street, Lowestoft, and the cafe at Great Yarmouth's Venetian Waterways which it runs as a social enterprise.
The charity said it had seen a dramatic increase in people seeking advice and support during the pandemic and was responding to demand.
The premises in the former Hughes shop has been stripped back to offer a café at the front, a group therapy suite at its centre, and some private consultation rooms.
The service is also bringin 10 new jobs to the high street.
A second premises is taking shape in King's Lynn with the aim of opening in September.
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The cafe will be called Steam House Cafe, the initials standing for support, transform, eat, aspire and motivate.
Emma Ratzer, charity chief executive, said: "We are delighted to be opening our very first of a range of mental health focused Steam House Cafés in Gorleston.
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"We purposely chose a highly visible town centre premises because it is easily accessible to those seeking support and guidance.
"Mental health is no longer a taboo subject and everybody should feel comfortable talking about it.
"By taking that important message directly to the high street and supporting the local community with a range of trauma based support and drop in therapies, we have made it easier for people to ask for advice or assistance in a relaxed environment, accompanied by a coffee and bite to eat."
The charity was set up 46 years ago providing Lowestoft with its first homeless shelter.
It now offers a range of services provided by a team of more than 160 people, including supported accommodation for over 200 people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The cafe will likely be open to the general public between 11am and 3pm.
To find out more, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/message 07435 993407.