Why?

 

In January 2022, I went to a party where 60 people were invited to come downstairs and join. Only 3 did, because the other 57 were too terrified of coming into the corridor.

I did research. All I found was information, information, information.

I know loneliness personally and know it can lead to early death, physical health/mental health problems, heart problems, weight and diabetis.

 

Around this time  I was a lonely writer who stupidly didn't do marketing so after lots more social isolation alongside rejection letters, I began desperately searching for my life's purpose.  

On my knees one day I prayed, and asked God 'What is my purpose?'

I heard,

'I want you to keep writing and I will turn your smut into a miracle. It'll show the world that darkness can be turned into light.'

As a Northern girl, I've always struggled with the not-as-friendly  southern culture so that is where the idea came from for the Happy to Chat pin badges. I decided to give them as introducers, alongside an invite for anyone struggling with loneliness and/or social isolation for a cuppa.

There, they can chat with other like-minded souls and make a friend for long winter days.

 

Chat Cafe Local birthed a month later and it works. 

Us volunteers  host lovely twice daily  chat club tables and we see miracles every day. With respect and permission, I can tell you we have  seen mute stroke victims - talk after 2 weeks of chat clubs. We've  heard cancer sufferers  say 'I feel normal here.' We've welcomed lots of multi complex needs including, amputees/trans/diabetics/wheelchair users/mental health strugglers/carers/young/internationals/refugees/ every religion - basically everyone over 20 that is 'doing real life.' The common denominator is  loneliness and they are using our programme as a stepping stone to begin post-lockdown life.

Loneliness plays a massive factor in living healthy lives. We were made to connect to belong.  If we are hungry - our body is telling us to eat. If we are thirsty and do not drink we will die. If we are struggling with loneliness - we need social connection.

All our local health, social care, housing, advice and emergency services support us.

Chat Cafe Local now achieves the hard if not impossible for the services to reach. 

Our future plans grow everyday including taking this succesful local volunteer programme nationwide.