REGULARS at the Empire Cafe in Newbury were joined by some new faces at a recent Thursday morning Companions Hour, including Newbury’s Conservative parliamentary candidate Richard Benyon.
The 60-minute session, organised by community group Coffee Companions, encourages customers to chat to each other in an effort to provide social interaction for some older or isolated residents.
Customers are 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.
Following the session, Mr Benyon said: “Too few of us say hello to our neighbours, let alone have a proper conversation.
“Coffee Companions has introduced an easy way to open the communication channels.
“Change doesn’t have to be expensive but failure to change may be for individuals and wider society.”
The Companions Hours are held at the following coffee shops in Newbury:
Mondays – Sainsbury’s, Hector Way, 10.30am-11.30am; Café Nero, Northbrook Street, 2pm-3pm; Coffee#1, Parkway, 3pm-4pm; Café Nero, Kennet Shopping centre, 4pm-5pm.
Tuesdays – Weaver’s Coffee Shop, Weaver’s Walk, 10am-11am; Corn Exchange, Market Place, 2.30pm-3.30pm.
Wednesdays – King’s Café, The Broadway, 3pm-4pm.
Thursdays – Empire Café, Cheap Street, 10.30am-11.30am; McDonald’s, Northbrook Street, 6pm-7pm.
Fridays – Waterstones, Parkway, 2pm-3pm.
Sundays – Waterstones, Parkway, 10.30am-11.30am; Café Rouge, Parkway, 3pm-4pm.
For more information, or to download your own Chat Mat, visit www.coffeecompanions.co.uk