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BESS (Blackpool Empowering Social Support) has joined forces with the team at Starbucks Preston New road to help tackle loneliness through social isolation this Christmas.

The idea came after the launch of the BESS PLEDGE which urges employers to understand that loneliness through social isolation does not necessarily mean that those who are alone are of a certain age. Loneliness can, and does, affect each and every one of us and the BESS PLEDGE is urging employers to work with employees who will then in turn work with customers to make connections with those who regularly use their services starting this Christmas. After a brief chat with the manager of Starbucks Preston New Rd about the BESS PLEDGE the chatty Christmas Café idea was formed.

The pop-up Christmas Chatty Café will include coffee for just £1 and a ‘cosy corner’ at one side of the venue where those who might not feel comfortable dining alone can come and make connections. To support this BESS will have volunteers to help facilitate conversation and help to make people feel comfortable – especially when entering the venue for the first time.

BESS service works on a one to one basis with referrals coming from the North West Ambulance Service identified as being lonely and isolated. The support is person centred and works around the individuals needs. To support those that fall outside of this referral criteria there is also a weekly meet up for people to get involved with at Empowerment Base in Bispham.

Each person who attends the Christmas Chatty Café will receive a ‘Christmas Card for Kindness’. These are donated Christmas Cards from the staff at Empowerment Charity and Starbucks who are writing cards to strangers this Christmas to ensure that no one goes without.

BESS Service Co-Ordinator Linzi Cason comments:

“The Christmas Chatty Café is a small way that we can come together as a community this and make those meaningful connections that can help to reduce feelings of being lonely when socially isolated. I urge anyone to come to this coffee morning and to even bring a neighbour or person you know. If you want to come on your own then we will have people greeting you at the door as we understand how hard it can be to making those initial first steps through the door”

Starbucks Manager Heather comments:

“We are always looking to help our community in Blackpool and have worked with BESS and Empowerment a few times hosting regular quiz nights. These are always great for our locals to get involved with and I always get asked when the next one is. Usually people come into Starbucks on their own to relax but it’s also good to have events where people can come together especially at Christmas. My team are really passionate about helping those who are lonely and isolated”

For more information please talk to BESS on 07880077117 or email



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