A new friendship cafe in St Andrews aims to combat loneliness over a cuppa and a chat.
Four organisations have teamed up to help locals and students make new friends.
And next Monday they will host the first of their twice-weekly Let’s Chat! drop-in events.
Anyone looking to meet new people can go along to the North East Fife Community Hub and sit at a table marked with a Let’s Chat! sign.
And volunteers will be waiting with a hot drink and a friendly ear.
The aim is to help anyone who has struggled with isolation during lockdown to make new connections.
The event will alternate between the hub at Albany Park on Mondays and Zest Cafe on South Street every Thursday.
Loneliness has soared
Loneliness has soared during the pandemic and affects people from all backgrounds, including students.
Zest owner Lisa Cathro had been wanting to address the issue for some time by creating a regular opportunity to meet new people.
And then she heard from retiree Wilma Burnett about the Chatty Cafe Scheme, which allows venues to mark tables as ones for those wanting to make friends.
Lisa approached the community hub about-co-hosting something similar and was later approached by Senga Smith From Link Befriending, which enables volunteers to help adults isolated through mental health problems.
Meanwhile, Havana Frakes from the university’s Populus Society also wanted to be involved in a bid to ease student isolaton.
A listening ear without judgement
Before long, they came up with Let’s Chat and all are looking forward to next week’s launch.
Lisa said: “As a local independent business we are so grateful for the huge community support we’ve had.
“We’d love to give some of that back and help people connect.”
Hub project co-ordinator Dave Anderson said the cafe would offer a blether in a safe, friendly, welcoming environment without judgement.
“The Let’s Chat tables encourage customers to join strangers knowing they will find a listening ear,” he said.
“Our area of town badly needs this so we’re delighted to be supporting the event.”
The Monday cafe at the hub will run from 10am until noon, while the Thursday events at Zest are from 5pm to 7pm.