Thera South West Support Worker Carolyn starts Shine Friendship Café in Melksham

Posted 28/10/2022

Carolyn, staff member in Thera South West, decided to open the Shine Friendship Café at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to bring people back together.

The COVID-19 lockdowns were a very isolating time for people all over the country, including people supported by Thera South West. When the lockdown restrictions ended, some people were nervous about getting back out and meeting their friends.

Many clubs and groups had shut down because of COVID-19, leaving people without options for meeting friends. Thera South West Support Worker Carolyn wanted to start a group for young adults with a learning disability to get together. She met with a local church who agreed that she could open a Friendship Café in their building.

Carolyn worked hard to gather a team of volunteers and opened for the first time in September 2021. Since then, the café has gone from strength to strength. People with a learning disability can meet, sing, play bingo and more each week.

The Café has people aged 18 to 80 attending from local towns and villages, including many people supported by Thera South West.

It has been great to see people building new friendships and having the opportunity to reunite with friends from other clubs, schools, colleges and local communities. Carolyn

The café was originally funded by donations but is now able to finance itself by selling food and drink.