A community café in the heart of Huddersfield celebrated its first anniversary with an Open Day and a visit from Mayor of Kirklees Clr Masood Ahmed.

Hive Café in John William Street provides a safe and welcoming space for adults with learning disabilities or long-term health issues and young people and adults from the LGBTQ+ community.

In its first year Hive has delivered over 480 hours of support through its employability skills programme and support groups.

Founder and director of Hive, Gabrielle Hurt from Fenay Bridge, has worked in the charitable sector for the past 16 years and saw a need for a safe place café and meeting venue.

She said: “It’s been quite a rollercoaster trying to set up a new venue and projects, just as we were coming out of the Covid pandemic.

“But I’m thrilled that we are managing to fulfil our dream of creating a safe and inclusive space for all members of our community.

“We are also a Community Interest Company and we are trying to raise funds to continue meeting our aims.

“This is particularly important, as the cost-of-living crisis bites and people need a warm place to go and more support with daily living. Hive is somewhere people can come to be looked after and listened to.” 

Heather, aged 18, initially joined Hive on an employability skills workshop and is now a regular volunteer.

She said: “I have finally found somewhere where I can be myself and belong. I am constantly smiling and laughing every Tuesday and I’m learning so much alongside my Hive family. I feel like I have friends for life.”

Regular customer Philippa (left) with founder Gabrielle Hurt at the Open Day

One of the Hive’s most loyal customers, Philippa, a transgender woman from Shelley, said the cafe allows her to be herself.

She added: “Hive offers a safe space, not just for people like me, but for anybody that goes in there, recognising that they are accepted and that nobody’s going to be judgemental about them.

“When I first ‘came out’ in 2020 I went to various cafes and supermarkets but I was always conscious of people looking at me.

“But if I’m at Hive it doesn’t matter if I’ve got full make-up on or not. Everyone who works there is absolutely lovely.”

Hive Café, situated opposite Huddersfield Railway Station, supports the local community by offering training in vital life skills and employability.

The café not only serves great coffee and delicious vegan food but provides training for adults with learning disabilities and those excluded from training and education due to long-term mental health issues.

There’s also much-needed wellbeing support and activities for young LGBTQ+ people, aged 13-17 and LGBTQ+ adults 18 and over, who need a safe space to share any issues or concerns, or simply want to make like-minded friends.

The cafe is also home to a weekly menopause support group, the Yorkshire Brain Tumour Society meetings, a Tuesday morning drop in with Community Plus, Friday morning crafting sessions and a weekly well-being group on a Thursday from 4pm-7pm.

Bob Morse, one of the founders of mental health charity Platform 1, runs the Thursday well-being group and is also a director of Hive Huddersfield CIC.

Bob said: “What Gabrielle has created is a totally safe space and although it’s a café and a busy environment there’s an amazing feeling of calmness as soon as you walk in.

“You can meet up with others in a bubble or be there on your own. Everybody is welcome and the staff are lovely.”

Hive is currently looking for volunteers to help run its café, support the youth project and training provision. The adult training provision is funded by The National Lottery.

To find out more contact Gabrielle on hello@hivecommunity.org.uk or call in to HIVE at 46 John William St, Huddersfield HD1 1ER.