Sanctuary Gaming Cafe
Why A Charity Runs A Table Top Gaming Club & Cafe
To Understand what Sanctuary Gaming Cafe (SGC) is all about we should first explain why DSP, a not for profit charity, set up a table top gaming club.
Table top gaming though fun offers a range of other benefits that go beyond just entertainment. Games can be used to teach a range of skill sets, reduce stress, combat addictions, and improve mental health. Playing is also part of our development through childhood, honing our communication, team work, and social interaction abilities. Below we will go into a little more detail about how this works.
Our Cafe serves several purposes. On one hand it serves as a funding point for new games, covering the rental for the building and services including this website. But, it also provides low cost meals to the community and we offer a support scheme for those on the breadline struggling to find the money for food.
SGC is FREE to join and play our games so come along each Friday for low cost, entertainment and soothing safe space with great, affordable food for everyone.
Please read on to find out more.
Community Hub (Safe Space)
In a time where screen time is a growing concern as many become more isolated from face to face social connectivity, it is vitally important to provide community hubs that are accessible and affordable. Although SGC is a Gaming Cafe, you don't have to play games to come along.
Many of our members come along for company and to meet new people. A lack of safe social interaction can lead to depression, anxiety and more concerning conditions such as Acrophobia (fear of crowded places or leaving the home). SGC works with people that suffer from various conditions to help integrate them into the community and reduce the effects their mental health impacts their lives.
SGC is a safe space for social interaction to manifest with team members available to support, play games, and step in if someone is struggling (see mentoring). Our aim is to provide an inclusive space where you can feel a part of the community and grow.
Mentoring at SGC is tailored to the individual. While some simply need a friend to talk to from time to time, others might need their hand held through a difficult time and perhaps some guidance (advocacy). SGC works in collaboration with the wider charity DSP to ensure that mental health and financial wellbeing are evaluated, and that each Mentee has all the support we can find them through our own charity and our partners. Our mentees typically lack a support network of their own and SGC helps to create one.
Our gaming buddies are SGC members who will play games with those that need a little help learning games, lack a social support network, or struggle with social interactions. While are Gaming Buddies come from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets, they all share a desire to help and be a friend to those in need.
While we do have trained counsellors on the team we also provide in house training to our mentors. They can offer a more hands on approach with any difficulties a Mentee might be facing in their day to day lives. Our Mentors offer a support network that Mentees can tap into when they lack one. All interactions are carried out in public areas or within areas with CCTV or multiple staff presence for
Safe Guarding purposes.
Why Table Top Games
As we said earlier, Table Top gaming offers more than just entertainment.
While many learn these skills as a child, there are those with Autism or mental health conditions that develop these skills more slowly and can require guidance to grow them. Playing Table Top games offers a great way to interact with people and breaks down social barriers such as the inability to know what to talk to someone about. Sharing a common goal, theme or interest such as the game you are playing helps to grow confidence while reducing anxiety and stress.
There are so many things that can be taught through games. Arithmetic, story telling, mathematics & numeracy, communication & team work to name but a few. Unlike a classroom games provide a fun way to learn that can be more indelible as the game is repeated and mastered. Often those with learning difficulties can find learning through games easier and their development can speed up as a result of it.
Table Top games provide a great way to detach yourself from your current situation / reality and provide relief. Reducing stress levels is important when it comes to combating illnesses such as heart disease and mental health conditions. By playing Table Top games with friends you can also gain new perspectives and support for your situation that might help find a way out, or at lease the ability to see it in a new light.
In tandem with stress relief, table top gaming has been proven to increase endorphins which when released aid in lowering Blood Pressure, Relieving Pain, and reducing Stress along with improving your wellbeing.
Table Top games can improve response times in the brain, helping you to carry out tasks and puzzles more swiftly. This doesn't just improve your responses when playing games, but in day to day life too. Our brains ability to process information and to react to situations requires training. For those with learning difficulties or mental health conditions that impair cognitive processes, table top gaming can be a great way to combat it.
Reduction in Mental Disease
A key factor in SGC's use of Table Top Games is the reductions in risk of mental diseases such as Alzheimer's or Dementia. By reducing the risk of cognitive decline Table Top Gaming is a preventative measure in the fight against mental diseases. Training your brain to become stronger is equally as important as keeping your body in good health.
Better Immune System Response
Research has shown that negative elements such as stress, depression and anxiety reduce your bodies immune system. By creating a safe space where you can laugh, have fun and interact with friends and other SGC members, you reduce the impact of these negative elements and help grow your immune system as a result.
Social interaction with your family can be difficult in todays busy, stressful lifestyle with many of us escaping to our separate screens in an effort to escape for a little while. Growing as a family however is critically important for our development, especially in our childhood, teenage and young adult years (although our teenagers may not always be excited about the prospect!). Studies have shown how a positive, supporting and close family network can aid in development and good mental health. SGC provides a space to step away from the screens and play together.
Financial, Food & Drink Support Programme
SGC is dedicated to helping those who cannot afford to go out as a family or put food on the table. Sadly, with rising costs spurred on from the war in the Ukraine and Covid, many more are finding themselves in financial difficulties. Through our linked partnership with DSP we provide a hands on approach to tackling this issue and aim to help before it causes mental health conditions.
For those struggling, we offer a financial support programme starting with an assessment of financial records before offering options on benefits, and providing meals and drinks each Friday. The full programme includes:
A Financial Assessment
Guidance and Budgeting
Benefits Advice & Application Support
Appointeeship assessment (if required)
Paid SGC card for food and drinks on a Friday night.
We aim to provide long term benefits rather than just short term gains. By training and educating in financial management and helping you get out of financial troubles, we aim to provide a better life for everyone and less dependence on the state.
At the heart of SGC is a wish to provide a great nights entertainment without the financial hit that usually comes with it. Along with FREE membership and our Financial, Food & Drink Support Programme, we also ensure the price for food is as low as we can. Typically a family can eat at SGC at similar cost to eating at home and well below high street Fast Food chains and Restaurants.
We have a Winter and Summer menu, Ice creams & Lollies, treats and snacks, hot & cold food, milkshakes (with your favourite chocolate bar from our list), and much more.
Pay It Forward
We also offer a pay it forward scheme for anyone that wants to buy someone in need a meal, drink or snack. Simply tell our team at the till you want to pay it forward and we will reserve your gift for the next person (or someone in our support programme) so that they can enjoy their night out as much as possible too.
All we ask is that our members do not bring in their own food and drink as the proceeds of the cafe keep us going and funds our support programme. If you are struggling to pay for food speak to a member of our team about our support programme.
We are glad you asked!
Hosted by: DSP
Redditch Town Centre
Ecumenical Centre / Emmanuel Church
6 Evesham Walk
Any questions call: 01527 351021
Entrance through Emmanuel Methodist Church, a lift is available for disability access.