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New Happy to Chat scheme to launch in North Tyneside

VODA is working in collaboration with Whitley Bay Big Local and members of the SIGN Network, to develop ‘Happy to Chat’ schemes across North Tyneside to help reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Residents can sign up to be volunteers and will be given Happy to Chat badges to wear out in the community, so that anyone who feels isolated or lonely will know that they can approach them for a friendly chat. The Happy to Chat volunteers will be given a short information leaflet outlining key services available if they are concerned about the wellbeing of anyone they chat to. It’s about kindness, taking time to listen to others and making connections in the local community.

The aim is to extend the scheme further to identify cafes that may be willing to host a Happy to Chat table at a regular time or day, which would allow volunteers to sit at the table and be joined by someone who would like company and conversation.

There are two launch events coming up in North Shields and Whitley Bay and residents are encouraged to call in to find out more, have a cuppa and a chat pick up a Happy to Chat badge if they are happy to head out into the wider world to Chat Happily.

Working with the Beacon shopping centre in North Shields, Happy to Chat will host a fortnightly scheme in the space directly outside of the library in the shopping centre. They are holding a launch day on Tuesday 28 January 10am to 3pm and welcome anyone who is interested to pop along and have a chat. Going forward, this event will happen every other Tuesday, with the times to be decided based on the findings from the launch.

Whitley Bay Big Local is holding the Whitley Bay launch event on Thursday 30 January from 10am to 3pm at their community building, 158 Whitley Road and will be developing a weekly session going forward. The WBBL Community Building is an inclusive welcoming space and they are inviting everyone to call in on the day to find out more about Happy to Chat.