A first-time mum who experienced loneliness has opened a festive ‘chatty cafe’ in Llantwit Major to bring the community together over Christmas.
The event runs as part of The Great Get Together, a UK-wide campaign inspired by the late Jo Cox MP, who aimed to raise public understanding and policy response to the loneliness crisis.
The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission found over nine million people often or always feel lonely.
The report also found over half of parents have had a problem with loneliness.
Organiser Laura Henderson struggled with loneliness when she first became a mother.
“I’d come to a lovely place to live, but all the people that I knew at the time were in work, so I find it really quite shocking and difficult.
“I didn’t really know people around me, I didn’t really know my neighbours.
“I had to make an effort at school-run, at a time when you’re perhaps feeling a little bit vulnerable and everything is a bit scary and new – that was something that hit hard.”
Ms Henderson said since setting up the cafes she has noticed a high number of widows and widowers, carers and people living with disabilities attending.
Angie Beechey, from Llantwit Major, goes to the cafe which is held once a month.
“People are generally cheerful in Llantwit, but when you go home and shut the door and you’re on your own, I don’t think people realise that it can be quite lonely.
“You can have all the best friends in the world, and you can have grandchildren, but it can get very lonely.
“This is another good reason to come out. You see everybody chatting…I think it’s a positive, to bring people out to let them see people that are in the same boat as them.”