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'Chat mats' aim to get people talking and help tackle loneliness

An initiative to tackle isolation and loneliness launched at Burnham Park Hall last month.

Coffee Companions aims to create a safe space to strike up conversation, create healthier communities and make people feel less lonely.

By encouraging the use of ‘chat mats’ to enable people to strike up a conversation, it is hoped visitors can also build up larger social circles.

Community links officer Jacqueline Austen-Lavery said: “We’re trying really hard to put the message out there.

“We hope people will be in for a friendly environment and if people have coffee mats they will have an opportunity to know they are open to conversation.

“It’s scary sometimes and we can get isolated very easily. We want people to start talking.”

The scheme will run every Friday at the cafe, between 9am and 4.30pm.

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