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South Australia’s first Chatty Café opens in Murray Bridge
A concept intended to reduce loneliness and isolation will come to the Square Community Centre next week.
Six years ago, new mum Alex Hoskyn and her baby were sitting in a café in Manchester, in the United Kingdom, by themselves.
Ms Hoskyn watched other mums and customers come and go, each sitting alone, not talking to anyone.
Then she had an idea.
Cafés, or other venues, could place a yellow sign at one of their tables, indicating that whoever sat there would be happy to chat with other customers.
That’s how the Chatty Café concept was born – and next week it will arrive in Murray Bridge.
The Square Community Centre isn’t a café, per se, but if you show up there between 10.30am and 12.30pm on a Thursday, starting on August 3, you’ll be able to have a cuppa and a chat.
AC Care support worker Sheila Millington encouraged locals to come along and meet new people in a safe, comfortable space.
“Building friendly social connections does not need to take grand gestures; it is often the simple and small things like a brief chat that can brighten someone’s day,” she said.
“Our Chatty Café will provide that safe, social space where people from all walks of life can come together and chat for a minute or an hour – the choice is theirs.
“We know that forming these connections can take time and that is why we are going to meet weekly on Thursdays, allowing people to return or new faces to join in and simply have a chat.”
So far there are Chatty Cafés in six countries, and the scheme’s global organisers hope to bring the concept to every country by 2030.
Ms Millington hoped it would catch on here.
“We continue to learn more about how social isolation affects mental health and general wellbeing, so we feel it is important to provide a regular opportunity for people to come together and meet new people,” she said.
Attend the Chatty Café: Visit the Square Community Centre at 2 South Terrace, Murray Bridge between 10.30am and 12.30pm on Thursdays.
More information: Call Sheila Millington on 8531 4900 or visit AC Care at 29 Bridge Street, Murray Bridge.
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