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Talking Tables Relaunch

TALKING TABLES – TACKLING LONELINESS ONE GOOD CHAT AT A TIME

Hull CVS are relaunching the Hull Talking Table Scheme that encourages café customers to strike up a conversation with a stranger at a breakfast briefing at The Deep at 9.30am on Monday 15th January.

The scheme aims to bring people together, making it easier to meet, talk and connect. Charities and businesses across Hull have agreed to host one or more Taking Table at their venues at set times each week (normally mornings or afternoon) and will display door stickers and posters and the designated Talking Table will carry signs inviting people to sit down.

To date the following venues have agreed to participate in the activity:

  • The Deep
  • Lonsdale Community Centre
  • Hull Central Library Café
  • Woodford Leisure Centre Café
  • Pelton Café at Warners Gym
  • Alf Marshall Centre
  • Victoria Dock Community Centre
  • West Hull Community Hub

The on-going venue list and times for Talking Tables can be found HERE

From week commencing Monday 22nd January, the venues will have tables available for anyone to join, and engage others in conversation.

Where possible these tables will be supported by a Talking Table Volunteer to welcome people to the table and support a good chat, but each venue has been given guidance to support people in feeling comfortable and safe.

The venues will have a small selection of games available to play or conversation starters for those who aren’t quite sure what to discuss.

The scheme is being relaunched on Blue Monday – traditionally the most depressing day of the year to highlight the value of reducing social isolation and providing opportunities for people to talk as a route to addressing loneliness and poor mental health.

Matt Wright, Head of Community Development at Hull CVS said: “The heart of talking tables is everyone has the ability to address and respond to loneliness by engaging in conversation, but in many cases for patrons in cafes this can be really hard. The plan is to give people a chance to chat, connect, and talk to someone new.

“I would encourage anyone to use the Talking Tables whether alone or in small groups and have the willingness to meet and chat with someone new. Ultimately, the scheme will give people the green light sit down and know they will immediately be with other people who want to speak to them and will remove the stigma some people can feel about going out alone.

“We are delighted that The Deep has signed up and are keen to recruit as many other cafes, venues and other spaces as possible. We want people to have the option of joining a Talking Table wherever they go – ultimately I hope to see more and more people prescribed a god chat to tackle loneliness”.

For more information about joining as a host for the scheme visit – https://hullcvs.org.uk/talking-tables/

All participating venues will receive a free support pack which includes posters, window stickers, table displays, advice and more.

The scheme originally run by Hull City Council was launched on Monday 10 September 2018 with over 20 venues signed up. However since the pandemic the scheme has been on hold.

The Talking Table scheme is being supported in its relaunch via funding from the UK Government through the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund that aims to increase volunteering and tackling loneliness. For more information about the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund and other funded activities in Hull visit: https://www.tworidingscf.org.uk/1-3-million-distributed-in-hull/

Background information

What is loneliness?

Loneliness is ‘a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It happens when there is a mismatch between the quantity and quality of the social relationships that we have, and those that we want’ (A connected Society: A Strategy for Tackling Loneliness 2018).

Who can be affected by loneliness?

Loneliness can affect everyone and can range from transient (comes and goes) to chronic loneliness that can have a long term impact on physical and mental health.

But who is most affected?

According to the UK Government’s Talking Loneliness Strategy review, loneliness is higher for people who are:

  • 16-24years old
  • Female
  • Single or widowed
  • Living with life limiting mental health conditions
  • Renting

What factors can increase loneliness?

  • Personal characteristics – Age (younger or older), marginalised ethnicity, sexuality or disability.
  • Circumstance – living alone.
  • Going through significant change – migration, becoming a carer, bereavement, a new baby, moving house or job, children leaving to university.
  • Living in a certain area – social-economically disadvantaged communities.

What is the effect of loneliness?

The impact can be huge but a few stats include:

  • Loneliness can increase the risk of early mortality by 26%
  • Loneliness can put people at greater risk of poorer mental health, including depression.
  • 62% of lonely young people say that ‘feeling lonely makes them lose confidence in themselves’. While loneliness in early adolescence is associated with lower educational attainment.
  • Higher loneliness levels among employees is associated with poorer work performance and it is estimated that loneliness costs UK employers £2.5 billion a year, due to its impact on employee sickness, caring activity, productivity, and voluntary staff turnover.
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