HOW TO SET UP YOUR OWN GROUP
If you would like to set up a similar group in your area, these are the steps you need to take:
1. Find a local cafe, preferably not part of a chain, and find out from the owner if there is a day and two hour slot when it is not too busy. Once you have explained this project to combat loneliness, ask if you can reserve a table or tables close together for up to 12 people every week.
2. Once you have a location, day of the week and time, create a flyer (click here for sample) and ask a local photo shop or other business if they will print a couple of hundred A5 flyers for free.
3. Contact local doctors, church offices, community websites and tell them what you are doing, send them the flyer to print and display.
4. Go round local shops, hairdressers, gyms, to the post office, library etc, asking them to display a flyer in a prominent spot, or even better, if they are willing, to have a pile on their counter. If you talk to people in those locations they are often willing to hand out a flyer to someone they perceive as lonely. Tell all your friends about it, they often know someone they can tell to come along, or even be willing to collect someone who is less mobile and bring them.
5. Use your local networks and community website to recruit volunteers to host the sessions, preferably two per week. You will need to get their email address and mobile phone number. Create a Doodle poll to find out everyone's availability and then make a rota to send all the volunteers. Include everyone's phone number on the rota list in case people need to swap.
6. Create a folder with a couple of sheets saying "Welcome to Cafe Conversations", 3 copies of each of the question sheets, (click here for examples), a copy of the rota, sticky labels and a felt tip pen to make name labels, and the list of guidelines for running the sessions (click here for Information for Volunteers). This folder can be left by the till at the cafe for the next week's volunteers.
IF YOU SET UP A NEW GROUP LET US KNOW VIA THE FACEBOOK PAGE