You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Rotherham sexual abuse survivor opens 'safe space' cafe to help town's children

Mirror logo Mirror 10/08/2019 Rosaleen Fenton
a woman holding a sign posing for the camera: Sammy Woodhouse (R), with sister Rachel Williams, says the cafe is like therapy © Darren O'Brien Sammy Woodhouse (R), with sister Rachel Williams, says the cafe is like therapy

A special message from MSN:

The UK's most vulnerable children and young people face unimaginable challenges. We've partnered with giving platform Benevity to raise funds for two charities - the NSPCC and The Children's Society – to try to help turn things around for them. You can help make a difference - please donate now.

A survivor of the Rotherham child grooming scandal has opened a café – and hopes it will become a “safe space” in the town.

Sammy Woodhouse, 34, said she and sister Rachel are offering youngsters somewhere to go instead of hanging around on street corners.

The café, open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights, has also become a place which some families of sexual abuse victims have visited.

____________________________________________________

More on our vulnerable children campaign:

Why we're supporting vulnerable children and young people

Pollution causing 'up to a third of new child asthma cases in Europe' (Sky News)

Scotland's child abuse activists: 'We embrace the vigilante label' (The Guardian)

____________________________________________________

Sammy, who was groomed at 14 by Arshid Hussain, ringleader of Britain’s most notorious child sex gang, said: “My mum Julie died about 14 years ago and just before she did, she wanted to open a café.

“But because she passed away very suddenly she didn’t get around to doing it so that’s why me and my sister have opened it.

“But now that it’s here kids do come in and chat away to us, which is a bonus. We know we have helped kids but adults sit down with us as well.”

a person sitting in front of a store: Sammy hopes teenagers will find her café and ice cream parlour a ‘safe space’ instead of hanging around on street corners © Darren O'Brien Sammy hopes teenagers will find her café and ice cream parlour a ‘safe space’ instead of hanging around on street corners

Sammy and Rachel opened Brooker’s Café in the Rawmarsh area of the South Yorkshire town five weeks ago and added an ice cream parlour on Friday.

The café was named after Julie, whose maiden name was Brooks and was known as “Brookers” growing up.

Sammy said it had become “a bit like a therapy place” where customers can stop by and discuss their experience of the scandal that was extensively reported by the Sunday Mirror.

a person smiling for the camera: The survivor has waived her right to anonymity to share her story © Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror The survivor has waived her right to anonymity to share her story

She revealed: “Some people who have been in don’t want to talk in front of a room full of others so they have messaged me privately about sexual abuse.

“And if a kid is going through something, they can always pop in here rather than walking the streets.

"I said to my sister as a joke the other day, ‘Rotherham had a sour taste in its mouth for far too long – it’s time to sweeten it up a little bit’.”

Hussain was jailed for 35 years in 2016 after he and his brother Basharat were found guilty of multiple rapes and indecent assaults of teenage girls in Rotherham.

Explore the issues faced by the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people this summer and discover what you can do to help.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon