— Costa Coffee (@CostaCoffee) August 7, 2018
Loneliness is said to be becoming Britain's most lethal condition, and it isn't just the elderly feeling lonely. With more people living alone, social media becoming a bigger part of our lives than ever, and people's increasing focus on work, it's unsurprising that all ages are feeling the devastating effects of loneliness. The Independent reported that chronic loneliness is comparable to "smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and more dangerous than obesity."
That's why one mother, Alexandra Hoskyn, set up the Chatty Café Scheme in local coffee shops and cafes, encouraging interactions between strangers. "A Chatter and Natter table creates a space for people to talk; whether its for five minutes while you drink a brew, or an hour of good conversation. We're not trying to build friendships — just simple interactions to combat loneliness and to just maybe have a big impact on someone's day."
Now, a national chain has signed up. Costa is the first big coffee chain to adopt the scheme, introducing "chatter and natter" tables to 300 stores, with the aim of tackling loneliness and encouraging conversation. These tables will be marked with a chatter and natter sign for customers who are happy to share a table and chat to other customers.