In a society where being on your own is becoming more and more commonplace, there’s days we all feel a little bit lonely.
But what if you knew, if you were suffering from long-term loneliness, there was a place you could go for some easy, friendly human contact?
This is the premise of the Chatter & Natter table at the cafe in St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art – a table set up purely to allow punters to voluntarily interact with each other.
The museum’s café, run by Encore Hospitality Services, has joined The Chatty Café Scheme which is looking to include chatter and natter tables in more establishments in Scotand, as part of our everyday café culture.
The table in St Mungo’s café is marked with distinctive signage indicating that customers who sit at it are happy to talk to other customers while they enjoy their refreshments.
Part of the city’s support for The Campaign to End Loneliness, a Chatter & Natter café creates a space for people to talk; whether it’s for five minutes while you have a quick cuppa, or half an hour of good conversation.
Ann Cameron, Encore Catering Manager at St. Mungo’s, said “When we introduced the Chatter & Natter table we didn’t quite know how it would be received.
“Some days are busier than others at the table, but if it’s quiet and staff see someone sitting at it, we always make a point of going over to have a conversation with the person.
“We know that our five minute chat might just have a big impact on someone’s day.
“Recently, I also spoke to a mother visiting with her daughter, whom she cares for, who had come specifically to the cafe to sit at the table and were looking for other venues to visit.”
The scheme is now being rolled out to other Encore cafes in Bellahouston Leisure Centre, Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Kelvin Hall and Tramway in Glasgow.
The move to include other venues comes as last year The Campaign to End Loneliness revealed that more than two-thirds of Glaswegians had experienced loneliness at some point in their lives.
With nine in 10 people in Glasgow believing loneliness in older age is now “more likely than ever.”
Find out more about the Chatty Cafe Scheme here.