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Hopespace Cafe is a wellbeing group that meets weekly, on Tuesdays from 6 - 8:30 pm at The Bubble, St John's BA1 1SQ. The group provides a judgment free environment for people who may be feeling isolated, anxious or emotionally vulnerable where they can relax, chat, listen to music and play board games. As of late there has also been a facilitator on hand to provide expertise on crocheting!

 

Read on to hear more from the perspective of a facilitator and group attendee.

A Facilitators Perspective

Talking with Volunteer Facilitator Katrina, we discussed what Hopespace meant to her, and the reason she had decided to embark upon the journey of the group. Prior to Hopespace Katrina had worked in a health and social care environment, and had found it to be rewarding, however, she decided to take a step back following a long career, and left thinking her part in this area had finished. It wasn’t until she got involved with St. Mungo’s and Hopespace, that she realised how much she enjoyed the work it had to offer, and decided to step back into the health and social care environment. Katrina talked about how she enjoyed watching the group develop with different activities such as the crocheting to make a more diverse, entertaining environment for the Tuesday get together. She also commented on getting to know regular clients, and how that really enriched the volunteering experience she had from being involved in Hopespace.

Attending For The First Time

Speaking to a first-time client, Hazel she was vocal in her nerves about entering into a new group, in which she didn’t know anyone. In discussing why she had decided to come to Hopespace, she talked about feeling increasingly isolated from the community following a bereavement. Seeing a poster for Hopespace she decided it might be a low pressure environment to meet other people within the community. She was naturally very shy, and worried that she wouldn’t be able to integrate, but alongside facilitators and other established clients, she began to warm up and feel more comfortable in her surroundings.  Towards the end she had begun to talk with other people in the group more freely. Hazel is now a regular attendee of the group and growing ever more involved.  

In discussions with clients who regularly visited Hopespace, it became apparent that the key aspects that helped promote their overall well-being, was the ability to get out of their usual environment and into a space where you didn’t have to be anything but yourself. Hopespace provided an outlet where you could take a few hours away from your life just to play chess, or competitive scrabble, which I quickly learnt was an integral part of this group for many of the clients. But it was also an area where you could just sit down, with a cup of tea or coffee and listen to music, or have a chat and enjoy the atmosphere.

New Hope exists thanks to St Mungo’s ‘Bridges to Wellbeing’ scheme, which provides funding and support for New Hope and its volunteers. ‘Bridges to Wellbeing’ aims to empower people affected by mental health issues, so they can get involved improving services they use.

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