Hartlepool coffee shop awarded £75,000 from lottery to boost work around loneliness

A Hartlepool coffee shop will continue serving up support for people affected by loneliness and social isolation after securing £75,000 from the National Lottery.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 11:58 am

LilyAnne’s, in Victoria Road, which ploughs all profits back into community initiatives, helps 20 people a week on average to reduce feelings of loneliness and create companionship.

Managers are celebrating after being awarded £75,000 through the National Lottery’s Community Fund to ensure people in need can continue to tap into its support network.

They say the money will help with their aim to help people understand that loneliness is something everyone will experience at some point in their life.

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LilyAnne's owners Trevor Sherwood and Angela Arnold with the cheque for £75,000 from the National Lottery.

Trevor Sherwood, a co-owner of LilyAnne’s, said: “We wouldn’t have been able to achieve the project without this.

"We have been self funding the work from our coffee sales and it’s quite expensive to run a project of this scale in Hartlepool.

"This ensures we can run this project for three years knowing that it will be financially viable.

"For us it’s absolutely fantastic news and it’s going to make such a difference to the support we can offer, and removes the financial strains and pressures.”

Angela and volunteer Brian help run a number of groups and sessions to help tackle loneliness.

LilyAnne’s work includes providing a welcoming environment to people who have gone to their GP for help and are directed to LilyAnne’s through the NHS’s social prescribing service.

They also run group sessions, one to ones, and staff from Let’s Connect – formerly Hartlepool and East Durham Mind – work three days a week from the coffee shop.

Trevor added: “People can come and have a coffee with a specialist if they have got more deep rooted support needs and we can refer them for additional support.”

LilyAnne’s co-owner Angela Arnold and volunteer Brian Footitt also provide light touch mental health support by running support sessions, workshops, cookery sessions, blue light and veterans breakfast clubs, and men and women’s talking groups.

Trevor added: “It all goes back to the aim or reducing loneliness and creating companionship.

“Helping people understand these feelings and how that being around people is the most effective way to reduce these feelings, understand and overcome these.

“Putting people with people ensures this can happen.”

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