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Social Inclusion & Community Engagement

Since becoming a community pub, the Gardeners Rest has prioritised the implementation and managing of a sustainable social inclusion programme which enables us to work in partnership with expert organisations across the city to support learning opportunities, work experience, and social initiatives, which are integrated into our identity as a social enterprise at the heart of the community.

In 2019 we launched a partnership with Freeman College, Sheffield to deliver a work-experience programme for young people between 18-15 with moderate to severe learning disabilities, in particular young people with low-functioning autism. Freeman College is a specialist college educating people with complex behaviour and learning difficulties, with whom we are developing and delivering accredited individual learning pathways for students who come into the pub once a week to undertake structured work experience programmes which are designed to enable them to prepare for the world of work after leaving college. The activities we provide, working together with the college’s experienced and trained staff, enable disadvantaged young people who are socially excluded due to learning difficulties or mental health issues, to gain the practical, personal and social skills they will need and which will help to remove barriers to their future employment.

We also support a wide range of local community groups by offering free use of our large upstairs function room for meetings. This is a very popular facility and enables small community groups with little or no funds to meet in comfortable and well-equipped surroundings, and it is in use every week. Thanks to the continued support of our shareholders, we recently completed the renovation, decoration and furnishing of a second upstairs room plus an upstairs toilet, so we now have two rooms for the use of local community groups.

We support Prostate Cancer UK through regular fundraising events, and in spring 2022 ran a very successful fundraising music night in aid of Ukrainian refugees in Sheffield. We take part in the annual Heritage Open Days festival, running talks and tours which introduce new audiences to the history and heritage of the pub, Sheffield’s brewing tradition, and the surrounding area of Neepsend.

We’re always on the lookout to expand our social inclusion activities so do please get in touch if you have any ideas or projects which you’d like to discuss with us. Email us at

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