By Pam Jenkinson – Night Light Crisis Café Project Worker
Without our committed volunteers, the Night Light Cafes would not be able to function. We have a dedicated team, who want to make a difference to those who may be in crisis and have a desire to provide support and empathy to others.
I visited one of our cafes this week and caught up with one of our faithful volunteers Angela, who has been at the cafes for over six months now. I asked her what inspired her to give up her evenings to run the café and she said she didn’t like to see people struggling and felt this was a great way to help others and promote positive mental health.
Angela is a retired teacher and first heard about the cafes being launched when she was attending her local church at Alive Lincoln South. At first, she thought she would not be qualified to be a volunteer and that she needed to be fully trained in mental health care. However, she then was informed that our volunteers didn’t need qualifications to support in the cafes, but instead they needed to be kind and have a compassion for those who struggle with their mental health; both of which Angela has in abundance!
Moreover, Angela enjoys the fact that she is able to volunteer with her husband Ray and this is something they can do together. Both work at our Brant Road Café on a rota with other volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. It was great to see that evening I attended, there was a range of volunteers from a 2nd Year Psychology student to a semi-retired RAF personnel; each bringing their own life experiences in order to connect with our guests at the café.
I asked Angela what a good evening in a café looks like and she told me that the atmosphere in the cafes can be so rewarding, especially when they are busy. There is a real buzz around the place as people sit at the different tables laid out around the room, chatting together and enjoying each other’s company. Quizzes are always a great success and they have also enjoyed Bingo nights together too!
Angela’s desire would be to see their café used more by people and she is hoping as COVID restrictions are lifted, that people may feel more comfortable to go out in the evening and attend a café, where they will find a safe haven.
We are so grateful to all our volunteers in all our ten cafes up and running around Lincoln from 4 – 11pm every evening; as well as those who volunteer on the phone. They are the glue that hold Night Light Café together and are so devoted and loyal to meeting the needs of those who really need support right now. Thank you Night Light Volunteers!
We are always looking for new volunteers so if you would like to join our team here are some links which will provide you with further information https://www.actstrust.org.uk/get-involved/ https://www.actstrust.org.uk/night-light-cafes/ or email us at email@example.com