Night Light Café’s across Lincolnshire call for volunteers on Time to Talk Day 2024
The cafés are safe havens that provide out-of-hours, non-clinical support through compassionate and empathetic teams of trained volunteers, who greet guests with empathy and compassion.
The dedicated volunteers offer a listening ear and invaluable signposting information to individuals facing various challenges. Recognising that some guests may prefer activities, volunteers engage in crafts and board games to create a comfortable and inclusive atmosphere.
Night Light Cafés are part of a wider preventative strategy to support the overall mental health and wellbeing of local populations (including volunteers), reduce loneliness and isolation and the escalation of low-level mental health conditions, therefore reducing the likelihood of additional clinical interventions.
They can also provide signposting advice and information on other organisations that may be able to help with specific needs, such as debt advice or emergency food parcels.
Café environments have been created in church buildings and existing cafes to provide a place of safety where guests are welcomed and cared for.
The volunteers at Night Light Cafés play a crucial role in offering non-clinical support, providing a listening ear, and engaging guests in activities that create a comforting and inclusive atmosphere.
Volunteers are central to the operation of the project and their generosity resonates with guests who say that they feel so cared for and express profound appreciation for the support provided.
Since the first Night Light Cafe scheme opened in 2020 by the Community Mental Health Transformation (CMH) Programme, for Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, guests have visibly grown in confidence, new friendships have been formed and improvements in their mental health are evident. Testimonials from Night Light Café guests reflect the profound impact:
“I think this is a great place to come. I feel that I am free to say how I feel, and nobody judges me. I feel really comfortable to be me and I don’t need to worry about how others may think of me. I have been to other groups where I have had to be careful what I say, but here I can just be me.”
“I am so happy coming here, I look forward to coming all week. It’s a brilliant service and I have made so many new friends.”
Café volunteers are provided with comprehensive training although previous experience of having, or supporting someone with a mental health problem is beneficial, it’s not mandatory. A dedicated volunteer shared their experience:
“If you’re thinking about volunteering for any mental health service or charity, I couldn’t recommend committing to Night Light more! I volunteered with this wonderful service during 2020 - a difficult time for people across the world. Not only did volunteering give me an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and try something I’d always wanted to do, but I met the most incredible people, both co-volunteers and guests alike! I genuinely believe that any volunteer will get just as much out of Night Light as the people who attend, not only do you get to be a part of helping people in their darkest hours, but you also receive training and experience that lasts a lifetime!”
Stacey Marriott, Night Light Café Manager with Lincolnshire-based charity, Acts Trust, who run the cafés across the county, encourages individuals to consider volunteering: “With Time to Talk Day coming up on February 1, perhaps you could be inspired to keep the conversation going all year round by volunteering with your local Night Light Cafe? Please complete the link below to register your interest and one of our team will be in touch”.
To register your interest, or to find out more, please visit: https://forms.gle/YzBkSRHXmTFr13Rc8
Local Night Light cafes in the county include:
Mablethorpe Night Light Cafe runs every Monday and Wednesday 7pm-10pm.
Louth Night Light Cafe runs every Wednesday 4pm-7pm and Thursday 6.30pm-9.30pm.
Horncastle Night Light Cafe runs every Thursday 5.30pm-8.30pm.
Spilsby Night Light Cafe runs every Wednesday and Friday 5pm-8pm.
Skegness Night Light Cafe runs every Wednesday and Friday 5pm-8pm.
Alford Night Light Cafe runs every Thursday and Saturday 5pm-8pm.
Market Rasen: Mondays 6pm-9pm (New Life Church, Serpentine Street)
Gainsborough’s Night Light Cafes are open:
Mondays 6pm-9pm (Connexions, 100 Church Street)
Thursdays 6pm-9pm (Riverside Training, 11-23 Market Street)
Sleaford’s Night Light Cafe is open Tuesdays 4pm-7pm.
(Cafes are set to open in Boston soon).