TransPennine Express (TPE) hosted a coffee morning at Huddersfield Station to help raise awareness of loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Customers travelling through the station were invited to pop in for free tea and coffee, as part of TPE’s partnership with the Campaign to End Loneliness, and speak to the various organisations in attendance.
The rail operator, which manages the station, was also joined by Platform 1, a Huddersfield-based mental health and crisis charity that helps those with complex needs; Simon on the Streets, which offers practical and emotional support to the homeless community in West Yorkshire; and Samaritans who work tirelessly to make suicide prevention a priority.
The aim of the coffee morning was to raise awareness about loneliness as well as providing information on support services and offering tips and advice.
Last year, TPE launched its successful ‘chatty benches’ initiative, in a push to bring people together and increase conversations amongst customers, following reduced interactions amongst the public due to the pandemic.
Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience director at TransPennine Express, said: “We recognise that everyone can experience feelings of loneliness and we hope that those who popped by for a drink, and spoke to the fantastic organisations and charities we had in attendance, felt the benefit of a coffee and a cuppa.
“Loneliness affects so many people in the UK and we share the vision of Campaign to End Loneliness that everyone can live a life free from chronic loneliness.
“We want to encourage people to get out and about and make those human connections that we all need. As a provider of travel, we know we can help make a difference by connecting individuals and communities.”
Robin Hewings, programme director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “It is fantastic that TPE held this coffee morning to engage with the local community. Tackling loneliness by helping people to build social connections is important as loneliness can be felt by people of all ages and backgrounds and can really impact on your quality of life.
“We hope that any passengers who took advantage of the coffee morning and stopped by to talk to the fantastic local charities in attendance came away with a positive experience and we hope that a positive impact was made to that person’s wellbeing.”
TPE has committed to raising awareness of loneliness and helping customers in the North and Scotland who have experienced loneliness.
With more than nine million people in the UK experiencing loneliness, TPE understands it may be the person sitting next to you who is quietly feeling this way, which is why it installed ‘chatty benches’ at all its managed stations throughout the North.
Half the battle when it comes to loneliness is having the courage to speak to someone. TPE hopes this small action of people making themselves ‘available’ at the designated, signposted benches will help break down these initial barriers and stimulate conversations.
For those who missed this morning’s coffee morning but want to find out more about TPE, Campaign to End Loneliness, Simon on the Streets, Platform 1 or Samaritans visit: www.tpexpress.co.uk/loneliness, www.campaigntoendloneliness.org, platform-1.co.uk, simononthestreets.co.uk and samaritans.org.