An interview with St John the Baptist Ermine Night Light volunteers by Stacey Marriott

The Night Light cafes are safe spaces for people who are experiencing a crisis in their mental health. Night Light cafes operate in various areas of Lincoln on every day of the week. Yesterday I visited the St John’s Night Light cafe on the Ermine in Lincoln and had a chat with two of their volunteers, Jackie and Alice. Here is what they had to say:

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourselves.

Jackie: I am Jackie and I retired last year. I am married and have a daughter and a 2 year old grandson who I look after 2 days a week. I also received an MBE in 2021!
Alice: My name is Alice and I am the curate at St Nicholas’ church. I have also recently started studying for a degree in church law. I am married to Coral and am learning how to knit.

Q: Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Both: Dogs, every time.

Q: What made you want to volunteer with the Night Light cafe?

Jackie: As I had recently retired, I was looking for things to get involved with and this sounded like a good opportunity.

Alice: I was intrigued by the collaboration between the NHS and local churches. I am aware that provision for mental health crisis care can be lacking so I was interested in being part of providing this safe space.

Q: What do you most enjoy about volunteering with the Night Light cafe?

Jackie: Seeing friendships develop between our guests and watching people’s confidence grow.

Alice: When people first come they often don’t know what to expect as we are in a church. They seem pleasantly surprised that we are normal people!

Q: What do you find challenging about the role?

Jackie: I find the phone calls difficult as it can be hard to know what to say.
Alice: It is hard to accept that a lot of the issues we see in the cafe cannot be fixed by us, and it is not our role to try to fix problems. It can be emotionally draining at times.

Q: What message would you like to give to anyone reading this who is struggling with their mental health?

You don’t have to do this alone, we are here for you.

If you would like more information about the Night Light cafes, please visit the Acts Trust website, find us on Facebook @nightlightcafelincoln or call 0300 011 1200

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