A COMMUNITY cafe is trying to reduce loneliness – one cup of coffee at a time.

LilyAnne's Coffe Bar, in Hartlepool, has launched a "prescribed coffee" project to try and reduce loneliness in the town.

It is working with Hartlepool and Stockton Health to enable GP surgeries to be able to prescribe a cup of coffee to patients they think are suffering from loneliness. 

It has now been given £1,000 by Persimmon Homes Teesside to help it give away thousands of free coffees in the coming months.

Trevor Sherwood, from LilyAnne’s, said: “We are working with our partners, Hartlepool & Stockton Health, to enable GP surgeries across Hartlepool to be able to socially prescribe coffee.

“The reason for this was to enable us to tackle the root cause of loneliness within the town by offering companionship within all the services we offer.  

"Many NHS staff have told us that people come into the GP surgeries and hospitals because they are lonely and go there for someone friendly to talk to despite there being no other medical reason, with their wish that they could prescribe a friend.

"This is the first time that a project of this type has been created within the UK and it's funded by the generosity of our customers and companies such as Persimmon through the suspended coffee scheme and the sale of our products within the coffee shop."

Joan Peart, sales director for Persimmon Homes Teesside, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to offer our support to such a community spirited organisation."

“We always receive so many applications for our Community Champions initiative. I really encourage any charities and groups looking for funding to apply to the scheme for their chance to receive up to £1,000 match-funding for their own cause.”

Each month the builder donates up to £2,000 to community groups across the region. This also happens across Persimmon’s other 31 operating areas, meaning up to £62,000 is dished out every single month – a total of £744,000 a year.

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