The Chatty Cafe Scheme in the United Kingdom (UK) has recently released an insightful research paper on the impacts Chatty Cafe are having across the UK.
This research was prepared by Coventry University, in partnership with our UK counterparts.
- The Chatty Café Scheme has rapidly expanded their services starting from just a few Chatter & Natter tables in 2019 to a network of nearly 600 venues by 2023 in addition to a telephone friendship service, and virtual chatty café sessions via Zoom.
- The Chatty Café Scheme services are valuable to the beneficiaries (those participating in the sessions), as well as the volunteers involved, and for the host venues who recognise the potential to contribute to the local community.
- The Chatty Café Scheme provides different pathways for people to reduce the experience of loneliness and social isolation. Over 96% of beneficiaries using Chatter & Natter tables, the telephone friendship service and the virtual Chatty Café sessions said that interacting with Chatty Café Scheme services reduced the experience of loneliness and isolation. This demonstrates the potential for these services to help create connections, and improve the lives of people across the country.
- There are broader benefits of the Chatty Café Scheme services identified by beneficiaries including making people feel happier, improving mental health, creating new connections and friendships, as well as finding out about other groups and activities, through the simple act of having someone to chat to. These benefits are not limited to the beneficiaries but were echoed by the volunteers too. They recognised that their interaction with the Chatty Café Scheme had personal benefits, as well as being able to contribute to tackling the issues of social isolation and loneliness in their local communities.
- The Chatty Café Scheme is connecting people from different generations and communities, and now has different access channels, in-person, via telephone, and online enabling them to access different communities, depending on geographical locations and personal circumstances.
- There was widespread agreement from respondents across the research that the Chatty Café Scheme is effective at reducing individual experiences of loneliness and social isolation, and creating community connection in-person and virtually.
- While the Chatty Café Scheme has been successful at increasing its presence in venues and reaching people via telephone and online services, respondents highlighted some ways in which there is potential to improve its services. This includes continuing to expand its network of venues, and capacity for volunteers, but also in term of marketing and increasing visibility of its activities.
Here is a link to the full report on the Chatty Cafe Scheme UK website: