A Huddersfield charity has joined a scheme to help people out of loneliness and isolation by getting them chatting.

Ruddi’s Retreat, which is based in Slaithwaite and runs its fundraising café in the centre of the village, has just joined the Chatty Café scheme to encourage people to talk to one another.

The scheme was set up nationally in April 2017 by Alex Hoskyn from Greater Manchester.

The idea started a year earlier when her son was four months old and Alex noticed how often people can be out of their homes yet have no interaction with another person.

On one of her usual visits to the local town centre with the pram she sat in a café and observed an elderly lady sitting on her own looking fed up. On another table was a young man with additional needs and a carer and they were looking round the room not making conversation with each other.

Then there was Alex and her baby. She was finding the experience of being a new mum a big shock to the system and quite lonely and isolating.

She thought about how nice it might be if there was a table where customers could sit if they were happy to talk to other customers and so she set up Chatty Café. It quickly took off and there were 2,000 Chatter & Natter tables around the UK pre-Covid.

Now at Ruddi’s there will be a dedicated Chatter & Natter table every Thursday from 10am until 12pm run by Ruddi’s staff Karina Sykes and Jill Brewer.

Joanne Gibson from Ruddi’s said: “It means anyone can join in, if you’re on your own, in a couple or with a friend. If you’re a carer why not sit there with who you care for?

“Everyone is welcome –  mums and babies, dads and babies, grandparents and babies, young people, older people and anyone in between. It’s a great way to meet new people in your community.”

She added: “When you’re deciding where to sit, look for the Chatter & Natter table and sit there. Stay for five minutes while you have your drink or longer. It’s not about making life-long friends, just having good old fashioned human interaction.”

Nationally, Chatty Café is reducing loneliness and social isolation by getting people chatting. Coventry University carried out research and discovered that 100% of Chatter & Natter table users said it made them feel less lonely and socially isolated and 97% of venues feel that the Chatter & Natter tables are encouraging community spirit.

Any other cafes, pubs, garden centres or organisations in Huddersfield thinking of setting up a Chatter & Natter table can get more information at https://thechattycafescheme.co.uk

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.