We welcome new people every day.
We all need social connection. Loneliness leads to early death. It is worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. When people feel socially connected they feel empowered. They regain their values and foster self acceptance. This is crucial to mental health. Chat Cafe Local was dreamed up in January 2022, after Anne Anderson (Founder) attended a post-lockdown party in a block of flats where only 3 residents out of 60 joined in.
Why did they not come downstairs?
The answer was they were too terrified to come out of their flats for fear of catching covid and they’d got themselves some really bad Lockdown habits.
Food, shopping deliveries meant there was another reason not to go out.
Personally, Anne has spent many years overcoming loneliness and social isolation. She did research and the council services/internet were just offering information, information, information.
Anne said ‘If no one is inviting these people out, empowering, inspiring, motivating them, I will.’ Anne located 27 local cafes all over Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole. The cafe owners had to have huge hearts and a passion for a loneliness and social isolation outreach.
27 local, friendly, safe cafes joined so members wear their ‘happy to chat’ pin badges and can drop in, in the opening hours. They have a coffee and the owners/staff will see, hear and value them. Members/customers connect with other customers and keep the commuity alive. These cafes can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for people who have to idea of where to go. Leaving the home, walking to them, by-passing others, and taking baby steps back to normality is the hard bit.
On the website, there is a newsletter in electronic/paper form, with a ‘couch to cafe’ programme, which helps empower members.
Inside 11 of the 27 friendly cafes, local safeguarded trained, volunteers, host pleasant chat clubs twice daily all over BCP. Then on Saturdays, a doggy chat and chill – drop in/wear your badge/meet other dog owners or have doggy therapy runs at Slades Farm Pavillion from 10 to 3pm.
On 22.2.2022 Chat Cafe Local was launched. An in-person event. Anne waited nervously for 80 minutes and 10 minutes before it ended, 1 lady came and loved it. The rest is history.
1202 people have attended the volunteer hosted chat clubs in 4 months. 375 people are members. 82% of attendees return to chat clubs – some to the same club, some people travel to other clubs and meet more people. Walks, picnics, street parties have also been held, linking all 3 towns and will continue. People from all walks of life come. Some are able bodied, some are not. Some are young, some are not. So far two suicides have been prevented and speech has returned to stroke victims. People with illnesses, feel normal. People who have not attended yet but receive the monthly newsletter, feel more confident as there is always somewhere to go 6 days a week. Chat Cafe Local achieves the hard if not impossible for the services to reach. Many members have built friendships and the new ‘happy to chat’ community ego is spreading. Members are wearing pin-badges in streets, on buses, in cafes and theatres and people are no longer looking up from pavements behind masks of fear, they are now looking up for badges of hope. Chat Cafe Local is becoming Chat Cafe U.K.
Highcliffe has begun hosting a chat club and on day 1, after 2 days of advertising, 14 people turned up. This is incredible. Plans to begin chat clubs in Ferndown and Wimborne are next. This loneliness and social isolation outreach programme works. Therefore, Anne and her 3 trustees have applied for Charitable Status. Funding is being sought for an office, utility cost, advertising,
publicity, training-guidance, an income for Anne so this good work can continue across the U.K. If you would like to help in any way, you can donate your skills or treasure in any way, shape or form.
Chat Cafe Local wants people to be SEEN, HEARD and VALUED.
We aim to show people that there is an easy way to make a friend and have some company on a daily basis.
We believe that if someone wants freedom from loneliness our 5 stepping-stones to success are a powerful tool to overcome loneliness and begin and maintain a structure in Post Lockdown life. CHAT CAFE CIO is now a registered charity and with it's connecting friendly Happy to Chat badges, monthly newsletter, chat clubs, pop up chat groups and nursing home programmes it is making each town it hosts within have much friendlier communities.
WE ARE CHANGING LIVES.
Loneliness can be individual, in a relationship, or maybe in a crowd. Once this is rationalised, life can change. In chat clubs everyone says 'I feel normal again.'
We achieve the hard, if not impossible for the services to achieve,' state Social Care.
In 5 months 654 new people have used the chat club programme as a stepping stone to their future.
1452 people have attended chat clubs. 1000's more have popped into drop-in cafes.
I force myself to come out because if I don't move, I can't move. It's been a month since I last talked to anyone but I'm going to have an eye operation next month so things should get better.
I live in a block of flats and no one has been out for two years, I want to, but I'm really scared. They'll all talk about me
'Remember you are an individual and not one of the 'many.' Become a member on Facebook at Chat Cafe Local and if you want to be one of the many, we are a lovely bunch of 'many' telling real-life stories.
Mary said, 'You can go to any cafe whenever you want. Why would I want to go to a chat cafe local?'
'Because we're inviting you and we like to laugh and forget everything that's happened, for a couple of hours.
Dave arrived at Ludo Lounge 4 hours early, but wouldn't go back home. Chat Cafe Local Chat Club started at 2.30pm but he waited for us and had the best time for 2 years, he said.