The Welcome Café is all about getting people chatting and, for some, creating everyday opportunities to reduce feelings of loneliness.
The Welcome Café Community provides a space for people in cafés and restaurants to strike up a conversation with someone they don’t know. It might be for five minutes while you drink a quick tea or coffee, or an hour of good conversation, it’s entirely up to you!
We’re not trying to build friendships – just simple, spontaneous chat to create beneficial social contact and to maybe have a big impact on someone’s day.
Here’s how it works
It’s really simple!
We know that people can be reluctant to ask to share a table if the café is busy, and they may even leave if they cannot have a table to themselves.
Welcome Cafés overcome this by offering the option to pop a simple ‘Happy to Share’ card on your table so that others can join you if they like.
Some cafés insert the card in their menu, others have cards displayed at the till for you to pick up and some cafés put out cards on a couple of tables that are clearly nominated for people who don’t mind sharing and are up for a chat!
It is important to remember customers choose to take part only if they want to.
Participating cafés and restaurants are contributing to the local community, encouraging good mental health and may even benefit from an increase in customers!
We support Welcome Cafés by supplying the cards and materials and by working with them and listening to them to help the scheme flourish.
How to find a Welcome Café
So far, we have over 25 Welcome Cafés signed up in the Falkirk area! Look out for Welcome Café posters and table cards at your favourite place for a cuppa! You can also use the boxed links on this page to find out which cafés and restaurants have joined the scheme.
Volunteer with the Welcome Café
There is no limit to how far the project can expand! However, it is important to look after our Welcome Cafés and evaluate how the scheme is working out. For this we need volunteers!
Our Welcome Café volunteers…
- Visit participating cafés
- Keep cafés topped up with Welcome Café literature and resources
- Strike up a rapport with café staff as their feedback is crucial to achieve successful outcomes
- Observe what is happening on the ground
- Regularly feedback comments and suggestions to the project coordinator
This is a lovely varied role and would also suit those looking for regular volunteering with flexible times or options for weekend volunteering.
If you would like to help support this great community initiative please contact Jim Thompson at FDAMH or visit our Volunteering Page and start your application!
How it all started
The Welcome Café borrowed from a project launched in Manchester by a social worker who recognised that a short conversation with another person can really brighten your day.
The idea was picked up by a member of our staff and so we went out to discover what local cafés thought of running a similar scheme in Falkirk. Thanks to a really positive response it took off from there!
The project was officially launched at Forth Valley Royal Hospital on Monday 3rd June 2019.