A number of coffee shops in Preston and South Ribble have been fighting loneliness in their communities by joining the award-winning Chatty Cafe Scheme.
BonBons Coffee Bar in Penwortham, owned by Sylvia Holmes and Paul Richmond, is one of the cafes taking part in the scheme.
The idea is simple but effective. A cafe will display a Chatter and Natter sign on their designated table, and anyone who fancies some company can sit at that table and meet others who would rather not sit alone.
Sylvia said: “Customers who have sat at our Chatter and Natter table have made some good friends. Even if nobody comes to chat, we make a special effort to talk to customers who sit at that table, and they become regulars and friends of ours.
“Our intention when we opened BonBons was to create a coffee shop with strong community ties, so the Chatty Cafe Scheme fits in with our aim perfectly.”
Read more: New knitting group aims to stitch Preston’s communities together
The Chatter and Natter table is a constant installment at BonBons unless there is a function taking place. However, between 3pm and 4pm the cafe has a daily £3.95 cream tea offer which is always very busy, making it a good time for people to sit at the Chatter and Natter table.
Even if nobody joins them, they can make friends with a giant lemonade scone, reason enough to visit the cafe on its own.
Other local coffee shops that have joined the Chatty Cafe Scheme are Stickyweeds Coffee Shop in Longton, The Larder and the Harris in the city centre, and Costa Coffee at the Odeon cinema in Ashton.
Read more: Sporting Memories helping Preston people living with dementia and loneliness
Find out more about the scheme on the Chatty Cafe website.
Would you sit at a chatter and natter table to meet new people? Let us know in the comments below.