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Connections made at first Mid Ulster Chatty Café

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Córa Corry joined Mid Ulster Loneliness Network this week, as it launched its first Chatty Café in the Mid Ulster District Council area at the aptly named Café Connect in Stewartstown, a non-profit making enterprise run solely by volunteers.

The Chatty Café scheme aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness by encouraging and creating opportunities for conversation. Cafes within the scheme designate a table with signage and make it available as a ‘Chatty Table’. Doing so allows all customers, both new and old, to take a seat and say hello to someone who they maybe wouldn’t normally speak to.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Córa Corry had the chance to be one of the first to try the Chatty Table out and gave her support to the scheme saying,

“Whether you’re on your own, with some friends or family you can sit down at a Chatty Table, have a drink or some food, and start some good conversation. Loneliness does seem to be on the increase, especially in rural communities, and the opportunity to chat to other people in a welcoming and safe environment without further commitment is a way of helping our residents go from feeling invisible to visible and at the same time, feel more connected to their local community. In the long term, initiatives such as these can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression in our population and contribute to an easing of pressures on our GP and other health services. I look forward to seeing more Chatty Cafes popping up all over the district.”

Sandra McKenna, Chair of the Mid Ulster Loneliness Network said, “We are delighted to launch a further Chatty initiative to address loneliness and isolation. We have the Chatty Benches supported by the Council throughout the district and now we have launched our First Chatty Café in Stewartstown with several more to come on board over the next few months. The launch of our Chatty Library in Magherafelt on 21st October during World Book Week is another opportunity for our community to come together in a warm and friendly environment and try out new activities.”

If any café owners would like to join the scheme, contact Sandra McKenna, Chair of Mid Ulster Loneliness Network on 07912 298 015 for more information and a welcome pack to use with your staff and customers.

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