Cafés in Fermoy and Mallow have agreed to take part in a new initiative called ‘Chit Chat Café’ where a table in their café is designated as a chatty table where people choose to sit if they are keen to chat to other like-minded people. This year Jill Kerley came to us at Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and told us about a worthwhile initiative that she has seen working in the UK. It was set up by Alexandra Hoskyn, herself a first time mother who experienced loneliness following the birth of her child and lacked adult conversation. Her initiative called Chatty Café encourages coffee shops to designate a ‘chatter & natter’ table where strangers can chat over a hot drink.
At Avondhu Blackwater Partnership we have approached cafés in Fermoy and Mallow town to adopt our similar ‘Chit Chat Café’ initiative in the hope that people wishing to chat to others will be confident in the knowledge that if they sit at this table the other patrons there are willing to chat to them. Connecting with others can leave people feeling more positive and confident and can ultimately become a regular practise leaving them in a better frame of mind.
In the UK Teresa May appointed a Minister of Loneliness to tackle the social and health implications caused by social isolation which she deemed as the sad reality of modern life. We are more connected to one another today than we ever were before, through smartphones, texting, email and social media. We can be instantly connected with someone anywhere in the world, and we can even see them as we chat with them, somehow though without that physical presence we can actually feel more alone. Indeed many people now talk of the ‘epidemic of loneliness’ and it has been considered a key health hazard with almost one in ten people in Ireland experiencing loneliness. Dr. Swanick who set up the Loneliness Taskforce with Sean Moynihan of ALONE believes that loneliness is by far the most unrecognised health crisis of our generation…for young, old, rich, poor, urban or rural. Many patients presenting with depression at the GP are not really depressed, they are lonely.
Designated ‘chit chat’ tables will have a notice inviting people to sit there if they wish to chat, alternatively a member of staff at that café will inform you if their café is involved with the initiative. So if you see someone sitting at a ‘chit chat’ table it means they are willing to open up and have a friendly chat with the next person to sit at that table. If you would like to learn more about the initiative please contact Mary at 022/46580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org