A postgraduate student has set up a café dedicated to offering mental health support and social inclusion to people in Plymouth.
Dave Breen, who is undertaking an MA in Social Work, led the establishment of the Tamar FOLK Community Café in collaboration with children’s charity and his placement provider, Barnardo’s.
The café is open to everyone and runs every Wednesday from 10am–12pm in The Barn, Barne Barton. The idea initially came through a Barnardo’s conference with service users in the local area, who suggested that it would meet a need within their community.
From there, the charity tasked Dave with the café’s creation, with the brief that it should be somewhere for people to relax, talk, and feel as though their wellbeing was being supported.
In order to promote an inclusive and relaxed environment, customers can pay what they feel for the food and drink on offer, with donations going back into resources for the café.
Leading the project has seen Dave utilise dozens of skills, not least communication, as he explains:
“This was a real challenge as there was a very narrow time window between being tasked with the creation of the café and its first opening date. When setting up the café I firstly visited another children’s centre that has a café and asked for information and support that may help assist me in the initially. This meeting was extremely useful and highlighted some key areas of consideration such as health and safety, food hygiene and café aesthetics.
“Overall the café has been an incredibly enjoyable task to undertake and after two sessions it can be seen to be a hub for people to meet relax and enjoy coffee, cake and a chat. It underlying ethos of promoting social integration is something that is very close to my heart and it has been a joy to see the community coming together.”