When we first realised that we would need to begin offering a virtual T&Coffee experience, we never expected it to be so well received. After starting our sessions as stop gap during the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have reached more people, in more places, than we ever thought possible. Almost overnight, we went from one session a month to hosting two a week... It was steep learning curve. It seems to have worked though. We couldn't have ever done it without the support and generosity of our fantastic members and supporting partners. Thank You.
One of the core startup values at the heart of T&Coffee was transparency. We want you to know what we are doing, planning and get your feedback on what work to help us in our mission of "Supporting You, To Be You..." As such, we thought it only fair to share what the plan is in relation to TACv sessions, as the lockdown conditions begin to change.
First up, we would like to reassure our members that we have every intention of continuing the TACv virtual sessions in some form. We don't know exactly what days or times will be best for people as many return to work. We are working to determine a route for continuing a sustainable virtual experience for those who have come to both enjoy and depend on it. There may be a few trials and errors in terms of timings along the way but, we want your feedback so that we can find what works for the community.
Next, we never expected time zones to become an issue. We set out on the basis of being a national organisation in the UK. Don't worry though folks (especially those of you in the US) as we are already working to look at offering sessions based on non UK time zones. Of course, if these happen to fall at late hours for the UK, all will still be welcome to join in. Not so much of a separation of the sessions, more along the lines of opening up more time slots.
In the interest of clarity, this is not a quick process. We have safeguarding practices, risk management, host training and financial & techincal practicalities to consider but, we have started to look at options and will keep you in the loop.
We would be remiss if we didn't point the original mission of T&Coffee, which was:
"Providing nationally accessible, alcohol-free, safe-spaces, where the trans and gender diverse community can share their experiences whilst supporting one another."
This has proven challenging under lockdown and it is still unclear when it will be safe to reinstate the face to face sessions. We are working with our sponsors at Tesco to establish when we all feel it can be achieved safely. Nothing comes before the health, safety and wellbeing of the community, the people we work with and public health in general. Sadly, this means we cannot give you specific dates and times when the sessions at the heart of T&Coffee will be able to open their doors again. We can only promise that it will be soon as it is safe to do so. Please do rest assured that we will continue to offer, whilst attempting to expand, the virtualised TACv sessions, for as long as it takes and even after we feel it is safe to begin rebuilding the face to face sessions.
The outpouring of support for this project, the connections being built between our members and community, with the laughs and jokes we all get to share have been a lifeline for the community and for us. We have no plans of getting in the way of you all continuing to build those relationships and bonds. Finally, as the founder of this project, Sammie would like to say huge personal Thank you to every single person who has contributed. Not just financially but, each time you turn up, get involved and help to build up the sense of community. It all counts for a lot. It all helps. It's always welcomed. Thank You.
Whilst the path remains a little unclear, the drive and determination remain the same. We will continue to listen to our community. Asking for your feedback is what allows us to open as many options, that work for as many people, as possible.
You can get involved with the conversation via out social media channels @TnCoffeeLGBT on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, by joining our forum at www.TAndCoffee.co.uk or by directly emailing the team to info@TAndCoffee.co.uk
Once again, Thank You to everyone who has made this project a reality in such turbulent times. We will keep working for you all, for as long as it takes.