Chatterbox – just what the doctor ordered

The Revd Dr Sam Muthuveloe noticed a change in the mental health of parishioners and his medical patients in Downs Barn, Milton Keynes, during the height of the pandemic.

Sudden deaths by suicide of two parishioners prompted Sam to start Chatterbox, a weekly coffee and chat session at Cross and Stable Church for local people to help tackle loneliness and boost wellbeing.

Between 40 and 50 people are joining Chatterbox sessions every Wednesday morning, which have been running since the summer. The Cross and Stable Church offers free hot drinks and cake for local people of all ages, faiths, world views and backgrounds, and the chance to meet new people, share concerns with one another and boost their mental health.

Four women seated round a table smiling, one standing, eating cake and drinking tea.

Three men and dog seated round a table smiling

The Revd Dr Sam Muthuveloe, Associate Priest at the Cross and Stable Church in Downs Barn and GP at Sovereign Medical Centre, said:

“We all have a responsibility to care for neighbours, community and friends. I felt that there was a real need to do something for our community, so we came up with the idea of opening our doors and offering a safe and welcoming space for those who are suffering from loneliness and poor mental health.

“The pandemic has seriously impacted people and communities across the country on many levels. Chatterbox is one of the ways we are beginning to rebuild the local community in Downs Barn and connect with people at the same time as helping to boost mental health.”

Cross and Stable Church is part of Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership in Milton Keynes. The six churches that make up the partnership are of Anglican, Methodist, United Reformed and Baptist congregations, who worship together with services varying in style and format.

Listen to the Revd Sam speaking on BBC Three Counties Radio about the new project: