I find it challenging to make to make connections with other people and it doesn’t help that in England the culture is insular and people are very reserved. It takes a bit of courage here for strangers to approach each other and become friends.
Sometimes people can tell I’m struggling with loneliness and they give me advice. This happened when I used to work as a waiter, baker and kitchen assistant at a café called Oliver’s Village Café in Belize Lane. A friendly colleague there told me about the Chatty Café Scheme. They told me it supports people aged over 18 who feel isolated or lonely to join face-to-face, online or telephone conversations.
Later I found out that the Chatty Café Scheme has been on the BBC News and that it’s very popular with the over 60s.
A few years after my colleague told me about the Scheme, I explored some Chatty Café venues in Kingston. One was The Canbury Arms and the other was the Huffkins café in the Kingston John Lewis store. But both places were pretty much empty when I arrived so I ended up talking to the staff at the counters.
Because of this disappointing experience I thought it would be a good idea for me to create a scheme in north London. When I shared the idea on the Nextdoor app a couple of people seemed to be interested.
But due to busy schedule of commitments and a lack of interest from most other people I haven’t got the scheme started yet.
It will be good to have the scheme operating in more locations in north London, but lots of food industry managers do not seem to be interested in it, especially in London. Maybe they have had other things on their minds like the cost-of-living crisis and COVID.