Coffee Companions aims to bring together people who just want to have a chat over a cup of coffee. Various cafes around the country have signed up. You need to go to the Coffee Companions website to find one near you - then when you go there, you ask for a 'coffee mat'.
You sit at your table with your mat - and someone knows that you'd like a chat. Or presumably if you spot someone without a mat, you can sit down and make friends with them.
The whole idea of this is to break people out of either self-inflicted isolation (obsessions with phones etc) or to give lonely people the chance for some social contact.
Very many older people can spend an entire day without speaking to anyone.
As Coffee Companions website says:
"Coffee Companions is for anyone, anywhere. Putting the paper down, turning off the phone, just having a chat with their coffee and knowing they aren't intruding - using one of our chat mats is easier than mind reading."They're just starting off so there aren't many cafes signed up as yet.
But I see that the Cafe at Waitrose in Truro has - so I might just try it. I really hope that this works, as it has such potential.