Case Study: Cultivating a Safe Social Space for Personal Development at Sidney Street Cafe

May 13, 2020
Clock Icon 5 min read

The Challenge at Sidney Street Cafe

  • Ensuring staff and volunteers are supported in delivering their services in the most consistent, professional and safest way possible

The Objectives

  • To help develop and support the team in both their personal and professional lives
  • To provide staff with a foundation of knowledge and skills that they can use to improve potential employment opportunities

The Solution

  • Training that keeps staff focused and motivated during quieter working days
  • Training courses that are both flexible and convenient for volunteers with varying experience

A Background on Sidney Street Cafe

Located in the LGBT+ Centre in Manchester, Sidney Street Cafe is a not-for-profit community cafe offering a safe social space to help people feel empowered and develop confidence. Since opening in 2013, the business has worked to generate awareness and income in the hope of supporting the life enhancing charity that they are a part of: The Proud Trust. Staff pride themselves in creating volunteering opportunities and providing training that may help to improve future employability.  

Sidney Street Cafe team of volunteers and staff

We caught up with Rachel Hall, the manager of Sidney Street Cafe, to find out more about the organisation where personal development and acceptance are encouraged for people of all ages and backgrounds.


How Important is Online Training to the Organisation?

With varying experience among employees and volunteers, Rachel emphasises the importance of online training in helping to manage the business. It’s vital for staff to develop the right knowledge on handling food in order to safely serve fresh vegan and vegetarian food made from scratch to members of the public.

We aim to develop each individual that works or volunteers with us from the ground up so that we can deliver our services in the most consistent, professional and safest way possible.

But the prime importance of online training for Sidney Street Cafe stems from beyond the kitchen. The team aims to help volunteers working in the cafe to gain new skills, encouraging them to feel empowered to make positive changes for themselves, each other, and their communities. This echoes the values instilled in their partnered charity, The Proud Trust.

The investment in everyone’s learning makes a significant difference to how they feel, including their confidence, understanding and ability. It exposes us all to an experience that provides transferable skills that we hope will increase employment opportunities.

While using online training to help develop and support their team and volunteers, there’s currently a real focus on wellbeing in the light of Covid-19. During this time, there continues to be dedicated space for conversations with each team member on what areas they consider need support or strengthening.

The training is usually led by the individual, considering particular interests within their role that an online course could help them to develop further. It helps to keep staff engaged and maintain high spirits, despite not being able to open the cafe in the current climate.


How Has High Speed Training Helped Sidney Street Cafe?

According to Rachel, High Speed Training offer courses that enable staff and volunteers to reach the required level of knowledge:

High Speed Training has a reliable and trustworthy reputation. The company offers straightforward courses that are simple enough for people of all levels of ability and confidence.

It’s also important that the small team is able to complete training that is both flexible and convenient while running a not-for-profit business. Rachel explains that staff would be unable to deliver this training themselves every time someone new joins the team as they regularly recruit new volunteers.

The online courses provided by High Speed Training gives our staff and volunteers flexibility. From a managerial point of view, the dashboard is simple to use so we can also provide the login details for staff to complete the training at home if that’s more convenient for them.


What Courses Have Been Particularly Useful?

For Sidney Street Cafe, it’s essential for anyone working or volunteering in the business to be equipped with a foundation of knowledge on how to handle food safely. This is why Rachel chose High Speed Training’s Level 2 Food Safety for her team to complete.

The courses have improved things for us at Sidney St. Cafe and have been helpful in providing us confidence that everyone working and volunteering has been trained on the most fundamental basics of Food Safety.

Volunteers at Sidney Street cafe showcasing their High Speed Training certificate

Rachel explains that the availability of online courses provided by High Speed Training specifically helps the team as they can manage when and where is best to carry out this training. Staff are able to track progress and therefore, ensure that volunteers are equipped with the relevant information to fulfill their role.

It’s reassuring for us as a managerial team and for our customers to know that everyone in the team including our volunteers knows how to handle food correctly and safely.

Sidney Street Cafe food packaging


What Can You Learn From Sidney Street Cafe?

  1. Invest in Your Staff. Providing training for your staff can allow further skills to develop and help to instill a positive working environment where they feel able to reach their full potential.
  2. Empower your Employees. Helping your employees to build confidence can also influence them to make positive changes not only for themselves, but each other.
  3. It’s More Than an Online Training Course. Completing an online course can help to equip people with transferable skills that they can then take forward in their professional life.

We were delighted to provide Sidney Street Cafe with a training solution to help them deliver their services in the most consistent, professional and safest way possible. Take a look at our library of courses available for ensuring food safety in your business, or find our personal development courses here. You can also call one of our friendly support team on 0333 006 7000 to see how we can help you.


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