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International Women's Day- A Time for Reflection

International Women's Day- A Time for Reflection

Shelley* came to Cathedral Archer Project when she was 18. She was abused by both her step father and uncle and turned to sex work to earn money for her uncle’s heroin addiction. She became addicted too. When she came to us looking for somewhere to live, we supported her to work with the South Yorkshire Police and her uncle was eventually imprisoned. Shelley worked through her very low self-esteem to overcome her heroin addiction and stopped being a sex worker. She began to enjoy learning and doing new activities. After facing a second very bad and controlling relationship, Shelley was able to realise that she is a very strong person who is able to face setbacks and deal with them. In her words she “used the project to gain a life”. She is still in touch with the project to this day and is now in fulltime employment and a loving relationship.

Whilst women are a minority in the homeless population with only 26% of homeless adults being women, they are more likely to have greater levels of mental illness than men as a result of physical and sexual abuse. This is not helped by the fact that only 12% of homeless women access the help and support they need, one of the reasons why if you were to visit the Cathedral Archer Project, you would see very few women. Alarmingly, many homeless women engage in unwanted sexual liaisons in order to gain accommodation, one of the many reasons why our work here at the Project is so vital.

With International Women’s day being last week, it is an important time to reflect on this group who are less easily reached and a time to think about what we can do to help this situation. Whilst Shelley’s story is one with a happy ending and it is clear that the Cathedral Archer Project was able to help her, this needs to be the case for more women like her who are also homeless.


*Names have been changed to protect our service users' anonymity 

Just Works

Just Works

The Cathedral Archer Project is happy to announce the launch of a new pilot project, Just Works!

The idea behind Just Works is that it will provide a ‘stepping stone’, providing valuable experience of the workplace for our service users while also keeping in place the support structures of the main Archer Project.  The Just Works team, made up of Archer Project service users who have been with then Archer Project for a while but have yet to make the leap to employment, will have the chance to learn about employment opportunities and cultivate new skills in a safe, supportive environment.

The group has recently completed their first contract, producing promotional badges designed by local artist Ian Anderson for Sheffield firm Evolution Print, who have been long-time supporters of the work we do here at the Archer Project, but the possibilities for future projects are literally endless, with printing, PAT testing and taking on cleaning contracts being just three of the possibilities being explored.

“This is a really exciting development for us“ said our Just Works coordinator Terry Murphy “To our knowledge, nothing like this has been attempted before, so we’re making a leap into the unknown. What we’re hoping is that Just Works will be a step between the project and a fulfilling, sustainable life away from homelessness for our service users.”

Although it’s still in its early stages, the feedback we’ve had from our service users involved in Just Works has been really encouraging, and we’re really hopeful that, after the 6 month pilot, Just Works will become a permanent part of the services we offer to Sheffield’s homeless community. If you’d like to find out more about Just Works, please email

We've Been Getting Musical!

We've Been Getting Musical!

Throughout October and November we had Producer Nicholas Alexander in to run a series of songwriting workshops. During five songwriting sessions, people had the opportunity to learn about song structure, lyrics, melody, and arrangement, and then went on to compose their own songs. Nick then put together backing tracks at his studio, and the group recorded all of the vocals at The Musical Works in Sheffield.

The result has been two songs written and sung by some of the people who use our project. They are free to download, but please consider making a donation, however small.

Listen to the tracks here:

Below Nick has written a piece his work the group.

Throughout October and November 2016, I ran six songwriting sessions with the Cathedral Archer Project in Sheffield. The project aims to help homeless people in and around Sheffield achieve a better life by supporting them to: Develop their independence; Improve their wellbeing and confidence; Improve their ability to tackle setbacks; Improve their ability to identify and change negative behaviour.

The aim of the sessions was to explore emotion and musical creativity, through the study of song structure, lyrics, melody, and arrangement. Through specially designed creative activities, the participants composed their own songs working alone, or in pairs, with guidance. I then put together backing tracks at Sounds Like Screaming, and the group recorded all of the vocals at The Musical Works in Sheffield. 

The sessions were full of hard work, not so hard work, fun, laughter, tears, and drama. Never a dull moment. I was continually surprised at the ideas that members of the group came up with and felt privileged to have been given the opportunity of working with them.


Catching Time was initially born out of a lyrical exploration by Micky and Maggie. They chose a chorus lyric that we really liked - the idea of running from life, but time always catching up with you - and I helped them come up with a melody. The following week, Micky came in, having pretty much finished the lyrics and melody of the verses, and with a brand new melody for the chorus. It blew me away how much he'd finished in that short time, how vital it sounded, and how writ through with emotion the lyrics were. Over the next couple of weeks, we finessed the lyric and the melody and added the middle build ("be frail with me at the end of time")


Danielle came in to the third session with a load of lyrics. These eventually turned into I was lost. I loved the lyrical structure of the verse "I thought I knew what love was, but boy I was so wrong, until I met you, I thought I knew", and encouraged her to think of different ways of using that same structure to say slightly different things to create other verses - hence "trust", and "joy". I love how ambiguous the lyrics are, you're never quite sure whether the sentiment is positive - that this other person has shown the protagonist that the love she thought she knew was as nothing compared to the love they share - or negative - that the other person destroys the protagonists ideal of love - and I believe this adds a real edge to the song.

DONATE Both songs are availble to download from bandcamp, or by clicking on the picture of the artwork to the right. They are free, but please consider making a pay what you like donation as you download buy clicking on the where it says Buy Now on the bandcamp page. All proceeds will go to supporting the work of the Archer Project, which is of special importance during these cold winter months. With your help we can really make a difference to the lives of homeless people in Sheffield. 

Read the full blog post here


Cathedral Archer Project art group creates magical pieces for exhibition

Cathedral Archer Project art group creates magical pieces for exhibition

Homeless people attending the Archer Project are making a positive contribution to society and culture in an inspiring new exhibition. 

Bridging the gap between spooky Halloween and the promise of Christmas is a dazzling new exhibition of artwork from artists attending the Sheffield based homeless project, The Cathedral Archer Project. It isentitled: SPELLBOUND - MYTHS & LEGENDS and ison show at West Studios, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield. 

The Cathedral Archer Project is a holistic service designed to help homeless people change their lives for the better. There is a programme of activities to help people learn skills and enjoy new experiences and gain accreditation, alongside a structured volunteer programme to help people to grow their confidence and increase their employability. “At the project we want to see people enjoying what they are doing and wanting to do more of it. Activities like our art class allow people to try new things, challenge themselves and get inspired” says Tim Renshaw, CEO at the Cathedral Archer Project.

SPELLBOUND - MYTHS & LEGENDS presents 32 new works from first time artists who have attended activities at the Cathedral Archer Project and the Art House in partnership with Crisis Skylight South Yorkshire and the Workers’ Educational Association Yorkshire and Humberside Region.  The paintings have been inspired by classic fiction but also features uplifting personal interpretations of traditional subjects such as landscapes, still life and portraits.  The event has been organised in association with Eisner Award nominee Russell Wall and Sparky Ink Studios a Chesterfield based community media and educational provider. 

“This exhibition offers seasonal chills and thrills alongside genuine Christmas delights.  There is literally something for every interest and demonstrates the wealth of talent and the commitment of Archer Project clients who are making a positive contribution to society and culture. When we challenged artists at the Archer Project to create new works for SPELLBOUND - MYTHS & LEGENDS we knew they would rise to the occasion but the organisers are really impressed by the high standard of canvases on show and we would like to thank everyone who took part” says Graphic Novelist and Filmmaker Russell Wall who facilitated the art sessions. 

EMD Charity Dinner 2016

EMD Charity Dinner 2016

We are pleased to announce that Event Management Direct has chosen to host its annual EMD Charity Dinner in aid of the Cathedral Archer Project. Event Management Direct (EMD) is a Sheffield based event management service specialising in the medical sector. Founded in 2010, EMD has quickly established a national reputation for both the quality of its service and the value for money it offers.

The dinner will take place on Friday 7th October 2016 at the Niagara Conference and Leisure Centre, Niagara Road, Sheffield, S6 1LU, and ticket price includes an arrival drink, 3 course meal followed by coffee and mints, and music to dance the night away to! The drinks reception will begin from 7.30pm, with dinner being served from 8.00pm.

There will also be a raffle, proceeds from which will go to the Cathedral Archer Project.

For more information on the dinner or to buy tickets, please click here. For more general information on EMD, click here.

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