Chatty Café is reviving in the coastal town of Llantwit Major in southeast Wales, thanks to funding from Comic Relief.
The monthly free volunteer-run café is the work of More in Common Llantwit Major, the first of the the UK-wide More in Common Network to be established in Wales. The network is inspired by the work of the Jo Cox Foundation and formed following the first Great Get Together celebrating the late Jo Cox, and her belief that “we have far more in common than that which divides us”.
Chatty Café is inspired by the Jo Cox Loneliness Report and began in March 2018, running first monthly and then twice a month in response to user feedback. It was about to celebrate its first birthday in April when the Covid19 pandemic put it on hold.
A new report from the Red Cross Lonely and left behind: tackling loneliness at a time of crisis provides rich insight into how some of the people most affected by the pandemic are coping, and how they’re not. They found that the pandemic is making loneliness worse, with a sharp rise in the people saying they feel lonely and two in five people saying loneliness is having a negative impact on their mental health. People living alone, living with a disability and younger people are particularly at risk. And some people have never stopped shielding or isolating.
Organiser from More in Common Llantwit Major Laura said:
“We are so pleased to be able to revive Chatty Café, with funding from Comic Relief enabling us to run for a year at our new venue of CF61. We hope to see our regulars return and to welcome newcomers for a natter over a cuppa, with our friendly local volunteers. Anyone new to the area and especially anyone who is really looking to find some company is encouraged to join us."
"We have Covid-safe practices in place so everyone should feel safe. Remember to book online for your place as we need to work within current guidelines including the number able to meet indoors. Remember on the day to bring your mask to use as you come in and leave. We will have see-through screens in place at tables and our volunteers will bring drinks to you direct. We hope to retain the warm, friendly atmosphere we created in our first year and can’t wait to get chatting again.
A massive thank you to Glamorgan Voluntary Services and the staff of CF61 for their support in enabling us to revive Chatty Café at their venue and to staff at Llantwit Major Library without whom our first year would not have seen such organic growth.”
Most of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives, regardless of age, circumstance and background. We all experience loneliness differently. It’s a common misconception that loneliness is limited to older people. In fact, it’s now the 16-24-year-olds who are the loneliest age group in the UK.
Key life points which will increase the likelihood of feeling lonely. Things like: moving away from home, starting university or a new job, becoming a new parent, a relationship break-up, suffering a bereavement and retirement.
‘We're biologically wired for social contact, and loneliness is our signal that we need more. Telling someone that you’re lonely is an important step but it’s also important to be mindful of how we talk about it. We still use words like ‘admitting’ to and ‘suffering’ from, which can unintentionally add to the belief that something is wrong with us. The Great Winter Get Together (14 December – 18 January) will look at how we can help each other, help ourselves and learn more about loneliness. Locally we’ll be running different activities online, indoors and outdoors to help people connect. Connection is what so many of us have craved through the pandemic. And it’s great to be playing our part in a UK wide month to raise awareness and help us all connect more’ added Laura.
Chatty Café takes place on the first Saturday of the month from 10.30am to 11.30am at the community venue CF61, Station Road, Llantwit Major. Its next dates are Saturday 5 December and Saturday 2 January. Online booking is in place via Eventbrite, just search Chatty Café Llantwit. And you can book for someone who doesn’t have access to the internet as long as you add contact details.