The Chatty Cafe Scheme
The award-winning UK scheme was created on a wet and windy day in 2017 when Alex Hoskyn was in a supermarket café with her four month old son. He wasn’t great company and she was feeling fed up.
Alex looked around the café and saw an elderly lady who looked just as down as her and on another table sat a young guy with additional needs and his support worker both looking like they had run out of conversation!
She started to think about the positive impact they could have had on each other if they had sat together.
She knew from experience that when you are feeling lonely, a short conversation with another human can really brighten your day and she realised that you can be out of the house all day yet have no interaction with another person.
It was right there and then that the concept of ‘Chatter & Natter’ tables in the UK began in 2017 and there are now over 1,400 venues signed up in the UK! The Australian venues offer “Have a Chat” tables to better suit our Aussie culture.
The Australian partnership started in late 2019, when Glenys Reid also unexpectedly experienced social isolation for the first time in her life. She noticed a lot of other people in her community seemed isolated too and were keen to chat to other customers if a conversation was initiated by Glenys! And then she discovered the UK Chatty Café Scheme! It seemed a perfect fit!
Did you know a recent survey in Australia found that 1 in 4 people are lonely!
A ‘Have a Chat’ Table creates a space for people to talk; whether it is for five minutes while you drink a brew (tea/coffee/juice, or whatever) or an hour of good conversation. We’re not trying to build friendships – just simple interactions to combat loneliness and to just maybe have a big impact and brighten someone’s day.
The aims of the scheme are to connect communities by reducing loneliness and social isolation by getting people chatting. The focus is very positive on bringing people of all ages and from all walks of life together. We want to mix everyone up, everyone is welcome.
The Australian initiative, despite bushfires and Covid-19, has already encouraged venues to sign up across Australia. Venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs, libraries, community halls or local malls – wherever people gather and have the opportunity to socialise!
Help us get the word out! Ask your favourite local venue to sign up and set up a ‘Have a Chat’ table. Maybe you will sign up as a Chatty Volunteer for Chatty Café Australia and make a difference. Contact us to find out more.