Chat mats arrive in Caversham


SOMETIMES a quiet coffee is just the thing while at other times the chance to chat can make all the difference. Chat Mats at the 3Cs Café in St John’s Church, Caversham, Berkshire, ensure both are available every Tuesday morning.

Chat Mats

Chat Mats were the brainchild of Caroline Billington and spread throughout Newbury. Now, as part of the Coffee Companions project, they are available from Caversham to Cornwall.

Customers can order their drink and ask for a Chat Mat. They put it on their table, red side up and the message ‘Not today, maybe another time’ ensures they are uninterrupted. Leave the green side showing: ‘Say hello and have a chat’ and a Coffee Companion joins them. The idea is to help those who may be lonely but find it hard to go and break into a new gathering. People of all ages at the 3Cs Café are using the mats.

The Revd Penny Cuthbert said: “The Chat Mats are a brilliant idea. It’s not always easy to tell who would like a chat and who would rather be left alone, but the chat mats make that clear. The 3Cs Café is a great place for people to meet and make new friendships, and we hope the Chat Mats will help that to happen.”

The Café, which opens on Tuesdays from 9.30am to 2pm, has a weekly Companions Hour when customers know there will be someone to talk to, from 10.30am to 11.30am.
Working together, Caversham churches and Reading Voluntary Action Champions to End Loneliness plan to see if Chat Mats can be rolled out across all the cafés in Caversham.