Coffee Companions

Rural Coffee Caravan is delighted to be the new home for Coffee Companions and Chat Mats.

Coffee Companions logo
REGISTER YOUR INTEREST

Coffee Companions, a social enterprise founded by Caroline Billington in 2016, offers people sat in coffee shops anywhere the opportunity to strike up a friendly conversation and maybe make a new friend.

Coffee Companions ‘Chat Mats’ are a wonderful and simple idea which remove attempts at trying to ‘mind-read’ whether someone sitting in a coffee shop would be open to chatting, or would rather be left undisturbed. Carry them with you and when sat having your cuppa, your Chat Mat can display ‘Say Hello’ if you’d be happy to be approached for a natter, or ‘Not Today’ if you’d prefer some privacy on that occasion.

Coffee Companions Groups

We’ll be updating this list of Coffee Companions Groups as new venues come on board. Keep checking back or register your interest if you’d like to start one near you!

  • Coffee Companions logo people sitting with their cuppasWilliam’s Cafe – Stalbridge, Dorset

    Launching Tuesday 7th September 2021 

    William’s Cafe, Dike & Son Superstore, Ring Street, Stalbridge, Dorset DT10 2NB

    Come and join us every Tuesday from 2pm – 4pm for friendly company and chat, whilst enjoying a special offer of cake and a cuppa for £3.50. Contact Adam Vincent on 01963 362204 for more information. William’s Cafe website.

  • Coffee Companions logo people sitting with their cuppasThe Cafe @ The Slade Centre – Gillingham, Dorset 

    Every Tuesday 11am – 12pm

    The Square, Gillingham, Dorset SP9 4AY 

    Feeling a bit lonely and would like some company? Just turn up, buy your chosen refreshments as you would normally do from the cafe and join others sitting together and have a chat if you’d like to. Contact Beth on 07837 051655 or email her for more information. Gillingham Coffee Companions Facebook Page

  • Coffee Companions logo people sitting with their cuppasGillingham Library, Dorset 

    Every Tuesday 11am – 12pm

    Chantry Fields, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 4UA

    Feeling a bit lonely and would like some company? Just turn up, join others sitting together and have a chat if you’d like to. Refreshments are provided but a donation of £1 per person is suggested. Please bring along your own mug for these sessions as there are no wash-up facilities at the library. Contact Beth on 07837 051655 or email her for more information. Gillingham Coffee Companions Facebook Page

  • Coffee Companions logo people sitting with their cuppasKing Alfred’s Kitchen, Dorset 

    Every Monday 2pm – 3pm

    17 High St, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 8JS

    We welcome you along to Coffee Companions each Monday, held upstairs at King Alfred’s Kitchen.

  • *More Coffee Companions Hours are in the planning. Keep checking back for updates!*

Get Involved

image of both sides of chat mats displayed on a table

Chat Mats

Chat Mats can help anytime, anywhere.

Share the link to our FREE downloadable/printable tester Chat Mats

(an A4 sheet with red/green tester Chat Mats to cut out, and thoughts on how to use them)

or get in touch if you’d like a Coffee Companions Chat Mat Pack for your community group.

Find a local venue hosting a Coffee Companions Hour

Put your postcode into our map.

(*Coming soon*)

Individuals

Take your chat mat with you wherever you go. People aren’t mind readers – use it so others know when to join you or when to respect your privacy. Why not carry a spare Chat Mat and pass it on to someone else over your coffee? Chatting about Chat Mats would be a great ice breaker conversation!

Groups

Why not host a Coffee Companions Hour? If your group is located in Suffolk then why not also consider joining our c-a-f-e (coffee and friends events) network: an initiative helping to connect Suffolk community groups with organisations which can offer free support, advice, training & information, to help them flourish and become sustainable. Set up your Coffee Companions Hour as a c-a-f-e event.

Register your location with us so local folk and others can identify where they, or someone they know, can expect a warm welcome. Those that have newly moved to the area, visitors to your town or village, someone who has recently retired, people being discharged from hospital, community groups and more will all appreciate knowing where to find new friends.

We’ll plot you on our map (coming soon) and help promote your Coffee Companions Hour. Your listing on our website may attract new customers or visitors and act as a reference point for community listings. You could partner with a local voluntary organisation to provide a ‘host’ to help those attending who may prefer a more gentle ‘introduction.’ Let your local GP know about your Coffee Companions hour so that they can share the information with folk they know could benefit from the company.

A regular Coffee Companions Hour at your facility could bring your community together and foster connections. Keep some chat mats to hand for your tables so that those attending can make use of them deciding whether to happily take part in the chat, or to just be content to be out of their own four walls and in company. If you’re located in Suffolk, you could also join our c-a-f-e (coffee and friends event) network which puts you in touch with Suffolk organisations, agencies and services to help build and grow your club or group. Members receive a welcome pack and regular newsletters.

Email us to register here

Do you have a café area which users could visit after a class, club or activity, helping them to make new friends and so be more likely to attend more often?

Email us to register here

Do you have a coffee shop facility where visitors could discuss their experience and might then stay longer to see something they hear they have missed, or visit another of your locations that sounds interesting?

Email us to register here.

Hospitals and other workplaces are amongst locations not listed with us which could order Chat Mats for use by their staff and others. Chat Mats can help new employees identify which groups welcome new faces during lunch and encourage staff from across departments to mix more freely.

Linking to local Coffee Companions Hour venues might help those that have moved house, or who are seconded from another geography, to join other social groups in their community to create connections outside of work too. This can enhance your reputation as a local employer and contribute to the well-being of your staff.

Waiting for appointments in any environment can be stressful and we all deal with the stress in different ways. Chat Mats provide a way to let others know whether talking is a helpful or not.