Connected Cafes open in borough

ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Loneliness Network are delighted to launch two “Connected Cafes” within the Borough.

The initiative which is being taken forward by the Antrim and Newtownabbey Loneliness Network aims to tackle loneliness and reduce isolation by creating an opportunity for people to come together for a chat.

This follows the success of the introduction of Chatty Benches in the Castle Mall and in Antrim Castle Gardens which also provides a place for people to talk and interact.

Valerie Adams, Chairperson of the Antrim and Newtownabbey Loneliness Network commented: “This launch has been realised through the participation and collaboration of the Network’s Keeping Connected Sub Group, the Coffee Bean Deli and the Corner House/Fit Food Deli.

“Hopefully the first of many such collaborations. I want to thank the cafes for their vision and their integral role in addressing loneliness in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area.”

The Loneliness Network comprises of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, the Council alongside others in the statutory, voluntary and community sectors.

The Network aims to raise awareness of loneliness, share best practice and learning on ways to prevent and address loneliness, and encourage championing of tackling loneliness across the Borough.

Leah Glass, Health and Wellbeing Locality Lead at the Northern Trust explained: “Loneliness is becoming an increasing problem and, as well as affecting quality of life, it can also lead to health difficulties.

“Although this is a small gesture we’ve found that even small actions like this can make all the difference for people and give them the opportunity to make important connections.

“Working in partnership with the community means we can work together to address the health and social care needs of our local population and make a real impact on the ground.”

The Coffee Bean Deli, located in the Merville Garden Village in Newtownabbey and the Corner House/Fit Food Deli on the Ballyclare Road in Glengormley, now have a designated table where customers can sit if they are happy to connect with others while enjoying a cuppa.

Angela Hutchinson from the Coffee Bean Deli added: “Everyone suffers from loneliness at some point and for some it’s hard to reach out and ask for help, so at Coffee Bean we are delighted to roll out this new scheme and welcome new (and regular) people into our coffee shop to meet, chat and grab a coffee in a safe place with no pressure. Bringing people together - that’s what it’s all about!”

Jenna Wright from the Corner House/Fit Food Deli explained: “Our House at the Corner House was built up for everyone from all walks of life to come and take 5 minutes to breathe from their busy day to day lives.

“We welcome everyone at our house.”

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb spoke of the initiative: “On behalf of the Council I am delighted that two Connected Cafes have been launched. It is a great initiative and I will look forward to more being established across the Borough.”

For further information in relation to the Connected Cafe initiative please email HealthandWellbeingTeam@northerntrust.hscni.

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