Falkirk and District Association for Mental Health (FDAMH) has launched an new project designed to help combat loneliness and isolation in public places.
The Welcome Cafe Community aims to get people sitting together in various coffee shops and cafes throughout the Falkirk area.
Jim Thompson, of FDAMH, said: “If someone is sitting on their own they can ask staff to put our ‘Share My Table’ notice on their table so people will know they can come and site down beside them.
“Quite a few places have agreed to take part, including Morrisons, Cafe Nero and Pots in Falkirk town centre and Starbucks and Costa Coffee in the Central Retail Park.
“This is an ongoing project which we have been running unofficially for three or four weeks now and it is gaining momentum – we just want to give it a push.”
The idea, which originated down south, is simple and premises which sign up are presented with awareness raising posters and smaller “Happy to Share” notices which they can place on customer’s tables if requested to do so – no one is forced to participate if they do not want to.
As FDAMH knows, talking to people is one of the most important factors in maintaining mental wellbeing and they believe this project is the perfect way to allow lonely, possibly shy, people to interact with others.
And when a business agrees to take part in the project it shows they are concerned for their local community and are helping to encourage good mental health.
Many of FDAMH’s groups rely on volunteering and this fact – and the new Welcome Cafe Community project – will be highlighted in the main atrium of Forth Valley Royal Hospital from 10am to 4pm on Monday, June 4 and Wednesday, June 6 during Volunteers’ Weeks. The stall will be launched on Monday by Councillor Fiona Collie.
Jim said: “We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help our run our various groups, which include activities like fishing and creative writing.”
Visit www.fdamh.org.uk for more information on the project and volunteering.