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Sainsbury’s trials new initiative in Wales to encourage community connections

In a bid to help people build a closer support network within their local community, Sainsbury’s will be trialling Talking Tables in selected stores in Wales, a new initiative designed to help facilitate more conversations and bridge community connections in store. Talking Tables will be trialled in the local Sainsbury’s Swansea, Pontllanfraith, Cwmbrand and Newport stores.

[aoa id=”1″]It comes as new research from Sainsbury’s latest Living Well Index, developed in partnership with leading researchers Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research, reveals the UK’s sense of wellbeing has fallen in the past twelve months – with loneliness identified as a key characteristic of those with a low sense of wellbeing.[/aoa]

The landmark study of over 8,000 people reveals one in ten Brits feel lonely all or most of the time – equivalent to almost six million adults across Great Britain. In Wales, over a third (38 per cent) of people reported feeling lonely at least some of the time. The results also show a significant decline in people’s perception of their community and support networks – revealing the importance of strong community connections on our overall wellbeing.

Talking Tables has been developed in close association with the Chatty Café Scheme – which was founded by mum Alex Hoskyn, who came up with the idea whilst in a Sainsbury’s café. It will be trialled in various formats – including a simple format with a sign-posted table located in cafés in-store, a variation where colleagues who’d like to be involved can volunteer to be table hosts, and a charity-led format where stores will partner with community groups and work with their volunteer networks to host scheduled sessions. Sainsbury’s will also be trialling the programme internally with colleagues by setting up Talking Tables in back-of-house areas in its stores, depots and Store Support Centres.

Judith Batchelar, Director of Sainsbury’s Brand, believes the new Talking Tables initiative will help to bridge the loneliness gap by bringing people together.

Judith said:

We know from our Living Well Index that community connections are a key driver of helping people to live well. Yet with almost two in five people in Wales feeling lonely some of the time, it’s important that we contribute to helping to improve the lives of our customers and communities. We hope that by bringing locals together at our Talking Tables, we can utilise the potential of our store-space to help people be better connected to the communities they live and work in.”

The Talking Tables initiative will be trialled in around 21 stores across the UK from October to December.