Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Craven Community Cafes aim to improve the lives of vulnerable adults who are at risk of or experiencing social isolation or low-level mental health issues. Informal learning sessions and activities help clients increase their confidence, develop skills and access volunteering and employment opportunities.
The cafes are an early intervention and prevention service which help to prevent problems escalating and reaching crisis level. They reduce reliance on other expensive statutory services including emergency services.
The community cafes are held weekly in community venues in Settle and Skipton. The setting provides clients with a safe and comfortable environment in which to socialise and get support. Pop-up sessions are also held in more remote and isolated communities and at events such as Sutton Fun Day and Malham Show to reach out to clients in more rural areas.
Sessions (which are usually delivered in partnership with other organisations) include IT skills, managing a budget, healthy eating, keeping warm, exercise and craft sessions, setting goals and improving health and wellbeing.
Each session attracts 10-30 clients, some of whom are referred from other agencies, GPs and support workers. Volunteering is recognised as an important step towards employment and tackling barriers faced by people with physical and learning disabilities and low self-esteem. Clients are encouraged to help design and run sessions e.g. serving refreshments, organising games or welcoming newcomers. A group of clients have volunteered to be mental health trainers, using their personal experience to develop and deliver training to organisations about managing mental health issues in the workplace. We hope to expand this project in 2017.
The cafes help people like Lynne (not her real name). Lynne was diagnosed with schizophrenia four years ago. She regularly attends Skipton community cafe and is one of the volunteer mental health trainers.
She said: “People are scared of me, and wary of me, because I have a personality disorder and schizophrenia. I want to make people aware of the symptoms and how it affects people.
“Volunteering gives me a lot of confidence. It’s made me a lot stronger in myself. I had to get out of my comfort zone to get where I want to be.”
We have 10 volunteers in each area, supervised by the community café facilitator and we expect to work with around 100 clients per year in Craven.
The following figures show the percentages of people who identified improvements after attending the cafes for six months: physical health 62%; emotional resilience 85%; confidence 74%; support networks 90%; community involvement 95%; financial constraints 55%; fuel and food poverty 69%. We aim to meet and exceed these targets in 2017.
Antony Radley, Practice Manager at Dyneley House GP Surgery in Craven, described the Community Cafes as ‘life-changing’.
Jenny Brookes, Library Services Manager for North Yorkshire County Council described the cafes as: ‘Bringing people together, providing important communication networks for isolated people, and sharing ways to enable people to help themselves.’
Emma Taylor, Health Promotion Officer, said: ‘It encourages people to get out of their homes to attend something which is both entertaining, stimulating and means contact with other people and the chance to meet new friends and explore new interests.’
The community cafes have been running in Craven since December 2014. They were originally funded by North Yorkshire County Council’s Transition Fund. This original funding has now run out and Horton Housing is currently funding the cafes on a temporary basis until December 2016.

b@se (a subsidiary of Horton Housing Group)

Location: Craven District, United Kingdom

Some of our clients had become socially isolated and afraid to leave the house. As a result of the community cafes they have met new friends, developed new skills, grown in confidence and become part of a community. We are proud to see them living happier, more fulfilled and independent lives.
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