A cup of tea on a wooden table

Tackling loneliness and social isolation: An evaluation of the Chatty Café Scheme services


Chatty Café Scheme

National Lottery Community Fund

The Tudor Trust



Project team

Dr Jennifer Ferreira


August 2021 - August 2023

The Chatty Cafe Scheme logo

Community Fund logoThe Tudor Trust logo

Project Overview

Loneliness has been linked to depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, increased vulnerability to health problems and even to suicide. Social isolation and loneliness have been linked to early deaths and its health impact is thought to be on a par with other public health priorities like obesity or smoking. According to a recent report by the Jo Cox Commission ‘loneliness is a giant evil on our time’ and in May 2020, the Office for National Statistics stated that around 2.6 million people across the UK are ‘chronically lonely.’

The Chatty Café Scheme provide services to try and help reduce the experience of loneliness and social isolation. They offer services that are face-to-face (through Chatter & Natter tables in placed like cafes), online (via zoom) and on the phone.

This research project is designed to explore the impact of the Chatty Café Services. To explore how people perceive these services, the difference they make in people’s lives and to understand if there are ways in which these services can be improved.

Project Objectives

  • To work with the Chatty Café scheme to build robust evidence on the implementation and impact of their services, to collect new data to inform current and future practice. 
  • To understand ‘what works well’ in the implementation of services, from the perspectives of those supporting and delivering the Chatty Café services. 
  • To identify impacts of the Chatty Café services for the people accessing and delivering them. 
  • To identify strategies for improvement of the Chatty Café services. 
  • To disseminate research findings on the impact of Chatty Café services to relevant stakeholders, to raise awareness of the potential of such services to reduce social isolation.  

Project Impact Statement

This research will examine the activities that have taken place to date and the related outcomes, in order to evaluate the impact of the services. This will provide information on how, and why people are accessing Chatty Café services, evidence on the difference it makes to people’s lives, presenting learning on the most successful elements of the services from the perspectives of those accessing, delivering and supporting them and routes for future development and improvement.  

The research project will play an important role in demonstrating the impact of the Chatty Café scheme services. The research will identify how the different services have impacted people’s lives as well as provide recommendations for how the services could potentially be improved to generate greater impact.

The research findings will be of interest to organisations working on these issues but also policy makers who are focused on tackling issues of loneliness and social isolation.


View the project report here.

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