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LilyAnne’s is a not-for-profit community interest company located within a busy town-centre location, We don’t look or feel like a typical community cafe. To many we are just a coffee shop - but beneath the surface there is much invisible, good help happening around some of those of those who are here for a coffee.

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Creating Companionship 

Trevor Sherwood wanted to create a way of reaching community members experiencing loneliness and isolation, especially those who are too afraid of leaving their home. Creating a coffee shop allowed us to create the environment in which we were able to start supporting people without stigma or using labels.

 

Trevor really cared about this because locally a lot of young males have been committing suicide - loneliness and isolation seemed to be the main reason. We believe it isn’t older people who are most likely to be lonely - the reality is that loneliness is affecting many younger people. Because there was so little support for lonely people, we set about creating this through the unique power of having coffee. We believe that the root to healing loneliness is creating opportunities for companionship through genuine human connection. Through wanting to target the root cause of loneliness Trevor develop the UK’s first socially prescribed coffee scheme with local partners. 

We have created a coffee shop that looks and feels like a high street coffee shop, it’s a relaxed non-clinical environment which aims to reduce mental ill-health, loneliness and social isolation - through companionship. We are not a “mental health cafe”; we don’t apply labels to people.

 

We are a coffee shop that offers nice coffee that can be enjoyed with your family, friends or on your own - with the added extra of being able to tap into the support we offer. We are all about reducing the feelings arising from social isolation & loneliness while creating companionship.

 

This is because being better connected and creating a genuine human connection increases wellbeing through social networks. The best way to reduce these troubling feelings is being around people. We focus on good service, good coffee and good food; all of our profits are being used to support our community in Hartlepool.

 

We are determined that the social benefits we set to create is more than merely applying a sticky plaster. Plasters eventually fall off. Instead, we create a non-judgemental, supportive & friendly atmosphere within the normal setting of a town centre coffee shop. In this way, our customers are empowered to meet their life challenges through the healing power of companionship & community building. 

What is Loneliness? 

Loneliness is being alone when you don’t want to be - or feeling alone when you are with others. People who are experiencing loneliness often find it difficult to make friends because they find it easier to withdraw from social activities leaving them feeling sad and alone.

 

Within our day to day life everyone needs a meaningful contact with others to feel safe, loved and cared for.

 

When you don’t have this it is normal to feel lonely.

 

Choosing to be by yourself is different to loneliness.

 

Making an informed choice to spend time in your own company can be healthy and build resilience.

 

Being lonely can have a negative impact on mental health and lead to difficulties such as anxiety or depression. Loneliness can be found anywhere.

 

Someone can have many social interactions but still feel lonely because they lack a real connection with those around them.

 

While everyone can experience loneliness differently it often results in social isolation, feeling left out, unheard or not belonging. If loneliness is not reduced it will eventually impact on our emotional and physical wellbeing. 

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The power of a human connection

Human connection is the most effective way to reduce the feelings of loneliness.

 

Loneliness occurs when there is lack of genuine human connection to other people.

 

A human connection is a deep bond that’s formed between people when they feel seen, heard and valued by one another.

 

During genuine human connection people exchange positive energy with one another and build trust - enabling them to begin creating companionship.

 

Human connection makes you feel heard and understood and gives you a sense of belonging. We are a social species and wired to connect with one another.

 

According to Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” food, water, safety, love and belonging are the most important, included within these are our desire for interpersonal relations, intimacy connection with others and feeling part of a group.

 

When these needs are met, our overall wellbeing improves and we are able to live a more fulfilled life.