It’s been nearly a year since we started The Chatty Café Scheme and it is fair to say a lot has happened. The Government have appointed a Minister for loneliness on the back of the Jo Cox Commission but its still early days so it will be interesting to see what comes of that. We hope there will be less talking and more doing. Recently we have been to a few events where someone has stood at the front with a big roll of paper and pens and asked the audience for their thoughts on a series of topics; ‘public transport’ (with regards to how can we make it better and more accessible) ‘ ‘loneliness in older people’ and so on.
Inevitably the audience has lots of ideas and views that are hurriedly jotted down or sometimes drawn by those conference artists but you can’t help but feel a bit of deja vu. Surely we know by now that bus stops need to be near houses, that some older people don’t want to go to organized groups – we can’t help but feel these ideas being wrote down on a huge piece of paper aren’t anything we don’t already know and you know what’s worse – one day we are going to get so fed up of saying the same things over and over, that we will just give up.
Instead of meeting to ‘brainstorm’ why can’t it just be actioned; I hope that within my lifetime something actually happens.
Lots of services in the UK still follow the policies, procedures and work patterns set out in the 1950s, well since then the world has changed in a big way. We are living longer, working longer, nuclear families have been replaced by a melting pot of families (my son has four granddads!) and life is different. We need to adapt to suit the needs of todays society by adapting our ways of working.
Encouraging cafes and other social settings to have a Chatter & Natter table is a 21st century approach to loneliness and although we are all about the chatting, at the same time behind the scenes there is a lot of ‘doing’ going on. Behind the scenes it is very much – less talk, more action!