Antrim and Newtownabbey Loneliness Network are delighted to launch a further four “Connected Cafes” within the Borough. Time, Bees Knees and Caffe 3 in Ballyclare and the cafe in Tesco, Antrim now have a designated table where customers can sit if they are happy to connect with others while enjoying a cuppa.
The initiative which is being taken forward by the Antrim and Newtownabbey Loneliness Network aims to address loneliness and reduce isolation by creating an opportunity for people to come together for a chat. This follows the success of the introduction of Chatty Benches across the Borough which also provides a place for people to talk and interact.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross and Deputy Mayor Councillor Leah Smith were involved in the various launches. Mayor Alderman Ross spoke of the initiative:
I am delighted that four further Connected Cafes have been launched. It is a great initiative and I will look forward to this being established in more coffee shops across the Borough.
Valerie Adams, Chairperson of the Antrim and Newtownabbey Loneliness Network commented:
“The expansion of Connected Cafes (part of the Chatty Cafes initiative) to Ballyclare has come about through the collaboration of the Keeping Connected Sub Group and elected representatives who recognise the value of a Connected Cafe.
“I would thank the cafes and individuals involved for their vision and their integral role in addressing loneliness throughout Antrim and Newtownabbey area.”
The Loneliness Network comprises of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council alongside others in the statutory, voluntary and community sectors. The Network aims to raise awareness of loneliness, share best practice and learning on ways to prevent and address loneliness, and encourage championing of tackling loneliness across the Borough.
Leah Glass, Health and Wellbeing Locality Lead at the Northern Trust explained;
“Loneliness is becoming an increasing problem and, as well as affecting quality of life, it can also lead to health difficulties. Although this is a small gesture actions like this can make all the difference for people and give them the opportunity to make important connections. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the community to address the health and social care needs of our local population and make a real impact on the ground.”
Gemma Morrison from Time added:
“Everyone in Time Coffee House is so pleased we are becoming a Connected Cafe to help fight loneliness in Ballyclare and surrounding areas. It is something we all feel is very important and are so happy we are able to help.”
Agnes McMeekin from Bees Knees explained:
“I am happy to be involved. If the involvement of the Bees Knees cafe helps one person overcome loneliness - it will be worthwhile.”
James McAlister from Tesco commented:
“I am very happy to bring Tesco Massereene into the Connected Cafe (part of the Chatty Cafe initiative) scheme. It reflects Tesco’s place as an active part of the community.”
For further information in relation to the Connected Cafe initiative please email firstname.lastname@example.org