Brackley’s Lounge Bar Cafe has joined forces with the Chatty Cafe Scheme bringing a weekly event to the town that will appeal to anyone who wants a good old fashioned cuppa and chat.
By Debbie Murphy
Monday, 5th September 2022, 3:37 pm
Jon Haslam from the Chatty Cafe Scheme is busy painting the town yellow with his leaflets to spread the word around Brackley, that there is always a table at the Lounge Bar Cafe once a week where anyone can come and sit, talk and socialise.
Jon approached Richard Rainbow, new owner of the Lounge Bar Cafe about collaborating with the scheme, to provide a welcoming table and relaxing atmosphere to host the table once a week.
Richard said: “It’s something I have such an interest in and I can see how it can help anyone feeling isolated.”
Jon is an active member of the volunteer services around Brackley and is powering through his plans to get the Lounge Bar Cafe recognised in the area for its Chatty Table. After just two weeks, there have already been happy smiles leaving the table and arrangements made to return on a weekly basis.
Linda, who moved in to the area a year ago and has been using the table, said, “It’s such as great way to make friends and also hear about other things that are happening in the town that I can get involved in. I heard about it on Facebook.”
Mayor of Brackley, Paul Wiltshire popped in for a natter and to meet those at the table. He said: “Loneliness or even just being alone does seem to be increasing in this day and age and the opportunity to chat to other people in a welcoming and safe environment without further commitment is very welcome. I will try and drop in whenever I can and wish it well for the future.”
The scheme was set up by Alex Hoskyn OBE, who came up with the idea for ‘Chatter & Natter’ tables and set up The Chatty Café Scheme in 2017. She found that by simply putting ‘Chatter & Natter’ signs on tables in cafes it created a space for people to come together and talk and this has gone from strength to strength throughout the UK.
Alex said: “After having a baby, I spent a lot of time in the local town centre pushing a pram around the high street and in the shops I noticed what a difference it made when shopkeepers said ‘hello’. On one occasion I was in a café with my baby son, I looked around and there was an elderly lady on her own looking fed up, on another table there was a young man with additional needs and who looked to be his carer. They were looking around the room without making any conversation. I began to think what a difference we could make to each other if we could have sat together and had a chat.
“I didn’t feel comfortable going over to them in case they thought I was after something. I started to think about the idea of a chatter & natter table, where customers could sit together if they are happy to chat to other customers.
“I found it really beneficial speaking to different types of people, as sometimes I wanted a change from going to ‘mum and baby’ type groups. It was also important to me, that anyone could sit at a chatter & natter table if, in that moment, they felt like it. Because there were plenty of other times that I felt fine being on my own.
“The aim of Chatter & Natter tables has always been that these tables become a normal everyday part of café culture. So, people are familiar with them, and can sit at them if they want to. I found it really beneficial speaking to different types of people, as sometimes I wanted a change from going to ‘mum and baby’ type groups. It was also important to me, that anyone could sit at a chatter & natter table if, in that moment, they felt like it. Because there were plenty of other times that I felt fine being on my own.
Chatty Cafe gives people the chance to make new friends over a hot drink. (File picture).
“Our ‘painting the town yellow’ campaign, which encourages as many venues as possible to offer chatter & natter tables, encapsulates our aim to provide opportunities for human, face to face interaction. These simple interactions can help a person go from feeling invisible to visible and more part of society.”
Jon said: “The Chatty Cafe Scheme is such a wonderful, kind initiative that it’s impossible not to be inspired to help. The reaction of the town has been wonderful as a starting point, but there is so much more to do to reach out to everyone in Brackley who might benefit.”
Anyone can join. There is no cost and no membership, you just need to find the table and sit. The Lounge Cafe Bar in Brackley is just one of many cafes that have joined up, where they put out the bright yellow Chatty Cafe signs on a table to welcome those who are interested in some company. You don’t have to come along every week, just when you feel like it.
You can find out more at www.thechattycafescheme.co.uk where you can sign up to a free newsletter. New cafes are always welcome to join up, so if you have a business that would like to take part you can find out more on the website.