No lonely hearts in Hawick

A 'chatter and natter' table has been put in place in the Heart of Hawick cafe.
A 'chatter and natter' table has been put in place in the Heart of Hawick cafe.

A new scheme to combat loneliness in the community has opened its doors – in more ways than one – at the Heart of Hawick.

The Chatty Café programme, which is spreading across the UK, is now available for Teries to “chatter and natter”.

Chatty Café mastermind Alexandra Hoskyn explained how the idea formed.

She said: “The scheme was created on a wet and windy day when I was in a supermarket café with my four-month-old son.

“He wasn’t great company and I was fed up.

“I looked around the café and saw an elderly lady who looked just as down as me and, on another table, sat a young guy with additional needs and his support worker, both looking like they had run out of conversation.

“I started to think about the positive impact we could have had on each other if we had sat together.

“I know from experience that when you are feeling lonely, a short conversation with another human can really brighten your day and I realised that you can be out of the house all day yet have no interaction with another person.”

And so, Alexandra came up with the idea of a ‘chatter and natter’ table where customers can sit if they would like to talk to other customers.

It’s a space for people to talk, whether it is for five minutes or longer.

The scheme encourages simple interactions to combat loneliness: a chat may have a big impact on someone’s day.

There are now over 900 cafes taking part and anyone can join in: if you’re on your own, in a couple, or with a friend or child, look for the sign on the table, and take a seat.

Sophy Delavigne, operations manager at Heart of Hawick said: “As soon as we heard about the Chatty Café Scheme, Heart of Hawick wanted to join.

“We think it’s a fantastic idea and already have the support of our regular customers.

“As a charity, every penny spent across Live Borders centres and venues is invested back into the community to help make lives healthier, happier and strong, which this scheme definitely accomplishes.”

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