The Mayor of Blackpool, Cllr Kath Rowson received a warm welcome when she visited a pop up café at Central Library to find out more about its work to reduce isolation amongst the local community.
Since opening in 2016, the Camerados Living Room has helped scores of people in the town to overcome loneliness and isolation, from one man who used to call the emergency services everyday just for somebody to talk with, to a woman recovering from depression after losing a child.
Camerados is aimed at helping everybody going through a difficult day or rough time by providing warm meals and a calm space for people to sit, talk and relax.
Accompanied by Mayoress Joan Goldin and Cllr Amy Cross, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Reducing Health Inequalities, The Mayor chatted to people who are benefitting from the project simply by spending time with people or learning new skills.
The Mayor, Cllr Kath Rowson, said: “Camerados is one of the most fantastic places created in recent times. Loneliness can be a terrible thing and can affect mental health and physical problems.
“This environment is so friendly and cosy. It offers people from all walks of life a wonderful opportunity to talk to others and enjoy company. There’s a real sense of community spirit.”
The Living Room has been so successful that Blackpool Council commissioned it to stay in situ for another 12 months late last year, with thanks to a funding grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
The extension allowed for three staff to be hired as trainees; learning new cooking and food preparations skills as well as having a stable job. The staff are going through their own struggles but, with a clear purpose for the day and friends to work with, they are keen to help people across the town to meet new people and share their problems.
Cllr Amy Cross, commented: “Everyone at Camerados is doing a great job. People who normally may be alone can enjoy lunch, socialise or take part in workshops. It gives people a sense of purpose.
“The café is also great for people who work here as it offers them a new opportunity to be part of a team, from the chefs cooking the food to the staff serving it.
“We were delighted that the four week pilot was extended to 12 months given its success. It does and can turn lives around.
“It’s a wonderful project and we continue to hear so many stories of people “paying it forward” by buying an extra meal or drink for anyone who needs it.”
Camerados café opening hours.
9.30am – 4.30pm
9.30am – 4.30pm
9.30am – 4.30pm
9.30am – 7.00pm
9.30am – 4.30pm
10.00am – 3.30pm (from March)
The Camerados Living Room provides warm meals and a calm space for people to visit.
Published September 2016
Since opening, the space has helped dozens of people in the town to overcome isolation, from one man who used call the emergency services every day just for somebody to talk with, to a woman recovering from depression after losing a child.
All of those people now have a place to come regularly and people to talk with to help them get over their issues.
The Living Room has been so successful that Blackpool Council has commissioned it to stay in situ for another year, with thanks to a £57,800 funding grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
The extension has allowed the café to continue for an extra twelve months and for three staff to be hired as trainees for the year, where they will learning new cooking and food preparation skills and as well as having a stable job.
As part of their training, the three staff members have also travelled to London to get special tips from top chef Simon Boyle as well as coming up with a new menu to serve to customers in the café.
Blackpool Council has worked with the Fulfilling Lives project to launch Camerados, which is aimed at helping everybody going through a difficult day or rough patch in their lives.
Camerados is a project that runs throughout the country and is a movement of people looking to provide a solution to tough times by helping people to find more friends and have a more defined purpose in life.
The Living Room is open to everybody, with the aim to reduce social isolation across the town and encourage community spirit.
Many addictions and social problems are born through isolation and a feeling of loneliness or a lack of purpose, something the Camerados project aims to counteract by turning individuals into a team working to run a local café, from the chefs cooking the food to the staff serving it.
The Living Room also includes a generosity box, where customers can buy extra drinks tokens that can be used to help people who need a hot drink but don’t have the ability to pay.
The Camerados café is currently open between 10am and 2pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with later opening times to be announced shortly.
Find out More
Blackpool Central Library is a beautiful building in its own right, and if you like heritage and architecture it’s well worth popping in just to take a look at the inside of the building.
It’s also a well loved and much used community resource – full of all the usual things that you’d find inside any modern library.
Opening times for Blackpool Central Library:
|Monday||9.30am – 5.00pm|
|Tuesday||9.30am – 5.00pm|
|Wednesday||9.30am – 5.00pm|
|Thursday||9.30am – 7.00pm|
|Friday||9.30am – 5.00pm|
|Saturday||9.30am – 4.00pm|
Telephone: 01253 478080
Mayor Councillor Kath Rowson visits Camerados Cafe in Blackpool Central Library
Blackpool Central Library