COFFEE shops in Newbury have joined an initiative to get people talking to each other.
A ‘Companions Hour’ will be held for one hour in 11 coffee shops around the town next week.
Customers will be issued with a ‘Chat Mat’ and if they want to get chatting they show the green side, but the red side shows they don’t want to be disturbed.
Caroline Billington, from the organiser Coffee Companions, said: “For many isolated and older people, their trip to the supermarket and a chat with the checkout operator may be their only social contact, but this could be extended to a chat in a café with other customers.
“Chat Mats can also be used in other locations and help people to create contacts to start building healthier communities, and using one to control your social contact has endless unexpected benefits, as well as being a lot of fun.”
The coffee shops taking part are:
n Monday – Sainsbury’s, Hector Way, 10.30am-11.30am; Café Nero, Northbrook Street, 2pm-3pm; Coffee#1, Parkway, 3pm-4pm; Café Nero, Kennet Centre, 4pm-5pm.
n Tuesday – Weaver’s Coffee Shop, Weaver’s Walk, 10am-11am; Corn Exchange, Market Place, 2.30pm-3.30pm.
n Wednesday – King’s Café, The Broadway, 3pm-4pm.
n Thursday – Empire Café, Cheap Street, 10.30am-11.30am; McDonald’s, Northbrook Street, 6pm-7pm.
n Friday – Waterstones, Parkway, 2pm-3pm.
n Sunday – Waterstones, Parkway, 10.30am-11.30am; Café Rouge, Parkway, 3pm-4pm.