I'd like to introduce myself and the team behind Happy Cafe Ely at Julia's Tearooms and also tell you how it came into being. My name is Kathryn Pearcey and the idea to set up a Happy Cafe came shortly after I stopped work two years ago.
During the first few months at home and not in the best of health, I became an avid researcher and reader of all things to do with mental well-being. In doing this I came across the Action for Happiness website and this became a real lifeline.
Action for Happiness is an amazing organisation with a simple, yet powerful, message. It is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. They want to see a fundamentally different way of life - where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others. They also help people to take action to improve their own personal well-being based on the latest scientific research from fields as diverse as psychology, economics, education and social innovation. The more I read and, most importantly, the more I did made me want to spread this message more widely. I was absolutely convinced that if the resources from Action for Happiness had helped me then they had the potential to help many other people too - provided they had the opportunity to find out about them.
A man called Stan Rosenthal was the instigator of the Happy Cafe movement. As marvellous as the online Action for Happiness resources are, there is no substitute for meeting like-minded people regularly to discuss ideas and this belief was behind the creation of the first Happy Cafe in Brighton in October 2014. The model has since grown steadily and Happy Cafe Ely will not only join the three other Happy Cafes in East Anglia, it will also become the first of its kind in Cambridgeshire.
To start with I had to see if other people were as enthusiastic as I was to see a Happy Cafe for local people. To do this I contacted Spotted in Ely at the beginning of March this year and they kindly wrote an article on my behalf as well as providing some supporting information. Within 48 hours I had received over 20 emails from people expressing interest in the idea, with some asking how they could get involved to make the idea become a reality. An initial meeting was arranged with those who wanted to give their time and talents to the project and a fantastic, enthusiastic and complementary team came together. I am so grateful to them all: Carly Mason, Caroline Broad, Hayley Mason, Marcus Elliott and Tony Sigrist. Their combined contributions have been outstanding.
But nothing would be possible without a venue and this is where we must express our thanks to the excellent team at Julia's Tearooms on the High Street. Dave and his wife Hannah have taken the lead here, demonstrating a keen interest in supporting the community at large. They have been open to discussing a wide range of ideas and they fully support the ethos of the Happy Cafe network. It has been a pleasure to work with them towards the opening of Happy Cafe Ely at Julia's Tearooms and we wouldn't be in this position without them.
The whole Happy Cafe team looks forward to welcoming you at the events during our launch week starting July 10th or thereafter at the regular Wednesday get-togethers at Julia's from 10.30 until noon on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. We have lots of ideas for future events and growth but we'd love to hear your ideas too! Do look at the diary page here for updates, or visit our Facebook page Happy Cafe Ely .