City Tastes & Tipples: The Wakefield cafe that is helping to turn lives around

Left to right, operating manager Jo Rowe, senior recovery worker Amanda Sellers, caterer Rebecca Hilton, volunteer Tessa Curtis, and support worker Hayley Greenwood.
Left to right, operating manager Jo Rowe, senior recovery worker Amanda Sellers, caterer Rebecca Hilton, volunteer Tessa Curtis, and support worker Hayley Greenwood.

Socialicious in Wakefield city centre is a cafe that helps people recovering from drug or alcohol problems get their lives back on track.

Run by Turning Point, the Westmorland Street cafe offers training to people in recovery to help them get back into work and lead healthier lives.

Socialicious on Westmorland Street, Wakefield.

Socialicious on Westmorland Street, Wakefield.

Jo Rowe, operations manager, said: “We support people when they’re at a point they want to turn their lives around.

“There’s no such thing as a typical drug addict or typical alcoholic and we are trying to change perceptions.

“People can find it hard to fill their time if what they are used to is looking for their next hit, being in and out of court, or always sitting in front of their probation officer.

“If you have been a heroin addict or drinking for a long time it’s very difficult to stay sober.” It is run by Turning Point staff and the trainees it helps. As trainees make progress with their substance problems they can put themselves forward for bigger roles at the cafe.

People who receive help at Socialicious are able to earn qualifications in basic English and maths, customer service, stock management, food and hygiene, and social enterprise.

Michelle Graham has been sober for a year and goes to the cafe. She said: “It has changed my life big time. I’m a lot more confident than I was. People come in and ask after me, which is a nice feeling.

“Taking part in the group work has really helped me gain more confidence speaking.”

It runs a range of wellbeing groups through the year that are open to the public.

Search Turning Point Wakefield on Facebook.

Eat: Aside from its work with people with substance abuse problems, Socialicious is a fully functioning cafe where anyone is welcome to pop in for a coffee and a sandwich.

Talk: The majority of the arts and crafts, and health and wellbeing groups it hosts in its large upstairs room are open to the public.