Blackburne House have been combatting loneliness by taking part in the Chatty Café Scheme. The Chatty Café Scheme launched their ‘Chatter and Natter’ tables to give people experiencing loneliness a chance to chat and connect with others. Thanks to this initiative there are now over 900 Chatter and Natter tables across the country providing opportunities for connection between strangers.
Through the Wellness Centre and Student Services at Blackburne House, we were hearing about increasing numbers of people who were struggling with isolation and loneliness. Additionally, our Bistro often has customers sitting alone to eat and drink, who may be glad of some company. In response to this we decided to join the Chatty Café Scheme and host a weekly Chatter and Natter table in our Bistro. The experience has been wonderful for all involved – the mix of life experiences, ages and cultures has given us interesting conversations and learning opportunities.
One of our Chatty Café regulars, Nana, said: “The first step can feel a bit scary, as it’s new, but then you start to enjoy yourself and realise you have given yourself a weekly gift.” Nana used to attend a weekly meditation session at Blackburne House but became more isolated during the Covid-19 lockdowns when in-person sessions had to stop. She looks forward each week to coming for a cup of coffee at the Chatter and Natter table, and even wrote a poem about her experience:
Our Chatter and Natter table is open on Thursdays between 10am and 12pm. Whether you’d like to bob down for 5 minutes or stay for 2 hours, all are welcome to come and join in the fun!