The Chatty Café Scheme aims to get people chatting and reduce loneliness.
The Chatty Café Scheme encourages cafes and other venues to have a Chatter & Natter table, which is where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to other customers.
Abi Murray, Operations Manager at The Chatty Café Scheme said: “The Chatty Cafes Scheme started in 2017, it came from an idea that our founder had she just had a baby and was feeling pretty fed up.”
“She went into a café and she saw another guy sitting on his own looking equally as miserable and an old lady on another table looking lonely so she thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if it was a normal part of café culture where a venue designates a table.”
Hundreds of venues have signed up to the scheme, in cafes, pubs, libraries and hospitals.
“[The founder] thought it would be a really good idea, if that was on offer, if you could go in there and chat if you want to, it might be for a couple of minutes or for longer and it might just help them in that moment.” Murray said.
The scheme also runs virtual chatty cafes on Zoom, 3 times a week and phone calls since Covid-19 began.
Murray said: “They’re supposed to replicate being sat around the table with a cup of coffee. So, if Covid cases sadly do continue to rise, we effectively pivot our resources and focus a lot more on the telephone and zoom call services.”
The telephone service involves volunteers ringing people for a chat every week.
“It’s for anyone over 18, we focus more on adults, but we recognise that loneliness affects people of all ages” said Murray.
Salford’s Chatty Cafe Scheme is being held The Star Inn, on Back Hope Street.
Their recent partnership with Good Morning Britain’s Million Minutes Campaign for their sixth consecutive year.
— Chatty Cafe Scheme (@chattycafe) December 2, 2021
ITV said: This year GMB is looking at the many faces of loneliness, recognising it in ourselves and others. The British public’s generosity has seen almost a quarter of a billion minutes donated over 6 years to charities looking for volunteers to connect with those who feel lonely.”
Murray said: “They contacted us and said would you be one of the partner charitable organisations so for us it was amazing to be ask as we are a fairly small organsation. We met with ITV and then rolled out the campaign on the 1st December so that will be on TV on and off throughout the month.”