Exmouth: caring Caron’s cafe cards tackles loneliness

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 February 2018

Caron Sprake recently designed and launched Happy to Share cards, for those sitting alone in cafes who would welcome some company.

Caron Sprake recently designed and launched Happy to Share cards, for those sitting alone in cafes who would welcome some company.

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Exmouth: Caron Sprake recently designed and launched Happy to Share cards, for those sitting alone in cafes who would welcome some company. Caron’s idea has already caught the attention of Age UK; it has shared details of the cards on its Facebook page, saying: “What a great and simple way to help tackle loneliness locally.”

Caron Sprake recently designed and launched Happy to Share cards, for those sitting alone in cafes who would welcome some company.Caron Sprake recently designed and launched Happy to Share cards, for those sitting alone in cafes who would welcome some company.

A fresh idea to tackle loneliness across the UK dreamed up by an Exmouth woman is already impacting internationally.

Caron Sprake recently designed and launched Happy to Share cards, for those sitting alone in cafés who would welcome some company.

Caron, who is a champion for the elderly through her blog Caron Cares, funded the first batch through a £450 grant from Recovery Devon, a charity keen to fund ideas to promote mental wellbeing in Devon.

Caron, aged 49, said: “We are a holiday town and people took them all over the country, they even travelled as far as the US and France.”

She added: “The inspiration behind the cards was my observation of people sat alone; I just wondered how we could encourage them to share tables and start a conversation.”

Caron’s idea has already caught the attention of Age UK; it has shared details of the cards on its Facebook page, saying: ‘What a great and simple way to help tackle loneliness locally’.

Thanks to help from print company Ink Press, Caron printed the first 5,000 Happy to Share cards for free; they were distributed locally and through checkouts at Tesco.

She soon received positive feedback; one woman who used a card said: ‘I stood it up on the table and someone came to sit with me and we ended up chatting. Since I spend, and always have spent, most of my life alone, I think these cards are a fantastic idea’.

Caron hopes to see a nationwide roll-out of the cards, and the idea adopted by charities and agencies.

She said: “It is an incredibly affordable suggestion for a solution to loneliness.

“Elderly people are seen as a societal burden, a drain on resources.

“People forget their contribution to our freedom and prosperity. These people were once beautiful, vibrant and useful.

“To tackle loneliness, we need a complete change in mindset, back to the days of inter-generational living – less about what we can all have and do to reward ourselves and expecting others to scoop up and care for our elderly.

“We all have a role to play: individuals, business and the Government.”

The Happy to Share card says ‘This initiative hopes to reduce loneliness by encouraging people to share tables in public leading to conversation and friendship’.

For more information www.caroncares.co.uk

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