15 Jun 2018

New initiative aims to reduce social isolation in Coleford

GreenSquare Gloucestershire Housing Support has teamed up with Sixteen Community Café and Barnwood Trust, to launch a new initiative to increase opportunities for people to visit the café, a community space in the heart of Coleford, who might otherwise be excluded from doing so.  

The initiative will provide people with vouchers to use at Sixteen Community Café, giving them the choice of a sandwich, soup or jacket potato plus a drink of their choice, to enable more members of the community to access balanced meals and a safe social environment. These vouchers will be distributed to key organisations and support agencies in Coleford and the surrounding areas, who will give the vouchers to people in need of them. 

Sixteen Community Café, which was set up three years ago, is an award-winning social enterprise, operating not only as a not-for-profit café but as a place where people in the community can gain new skills, work experience and training to help them return to paid employment. 

Amanda Zayan, Manager at Sixteen Community Café, said: “We are delighted to be launching this initiative, and to be working with GreenSquare and Barnwood Trust to do so. The scheme not only aims to increase the opportunities for people to visit the café, who would otherwise be excluded from doing so, but also aims to help reduce social isolation across the Coleford community; help to improve people’s health, including mental health, and diet; and increase the opportunity for people to connect with support organisations.

“I hope that once people have spent their vouchers, and become familiar with the café, they will learn more about all the activities and community groups that are also run here, and at other places in the community, that they can access and benefit from.”

GreenSquare Gloucestershire Housing Support works with around 100 vulnerable people who live in Coleford and the surrounding areas who are experiencing financial problems, or struggling with social isolation and exclusion. This includes people of all ages and in all situations, from single people to families. 

James Aldridge, Community Involvement Officer for GreenSquare Gloucestershire Housing Support, said: “By offering this voucher scheme to people in the local community, who are experiencing financial difficulties, we are creating a safe, warm and friendly space for them to come along to have a free drink and snack, and meet up with others.”  

The initiative has benefited from £2,000 of funding from Barnwood Trust, to help support inclusion at a community space, making it accessible and welcoming for everyone.

Martin Hawkins, Head of Social Sustainability from Barnwood Trust, said: “Welcoming and inclusive community spaces can make a huge contribution to our wellbeing. We are pleased to provide funding to Sixteen Community Café to enable people, otherwise unable to afford it, to have the opportunity to meet and connect with others and to take part in shared activities.”