St Margaret’s Welcome Centre, Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 31 May, 2019. Pictured: Talking Tables

Talking Tables – break the ice and talk to a stranger

Cafes and venues all over Hull are helping people to break the ice and get chatting to each other.

Talking Tables signs can now be found on designated tables at 20 locations, from Trinity Market, Hull Truck Theatre and Age UK in Hull city centre, to The Pennine in Bransholme, and St Margaret’s Welcome Centre and The Coffee Pot in east Hull.

St Margaret’s Welcome Centre in Shannon Road, Longhill estate, runs regular Talking Tables sessions, organised by community worker Karen Okra.

Helen Burling, 43, says: “I regularly come to Talking Tables.  I have problems with anxiety and I wanted to get out and talk to other people. We always have fun.”

Sue Gossop, 60, says: “I like that anything goes, we can all have a laugh but we can talk about the serious stuff too.”

Along with window stickers on venues, the signs on tables let people know they’re in a space where chatting is welcome, and where to sit if they want to start or join a conversation.

Barbara Seddon, 55, says:  “As the weeks progress you get to know people better. It’s about sharing things, reminiscing and reconnecting as much as making friends.”

Edie Simpson, 91, says: “Talking Tables is really good. I was friends with Sue already, so found out through word of mouth.”

Councillor Gwen Lunn, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, says: “It’s been a delight seeing Talking Tables go from strength to strength.

“They are for anyone and everyone, you just have to be happy to talk. If you know someone who’d benefit from that and they might not know about the project, suggest it to them. Particularly for people who feel isolated – which happens to most of us at some point in our lives – they can be a real way into meeting people and making connections. I feel the success of the project is a reflection of Hull and what a friendly, warm city we are.”

For more details, visit the council website. Business owners wanting to offer a table should email publichealth.hull@hullcc.gov.uk

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