The first year of Happy Cafe Ely

'Be the change you want to see in the world'. Mahatma Gandhi

Happy Cafe Ely launched on July 10th last year with a visit by the writer and mental health campaigner Rachel Kelly. Since then we have: * facilitated 25 Happy Cafe Ely meet-ups on the first and third Wednesday mornings of each month at Julia's Tearooms on the High Street * run the first 8 week Exploring What Matters course from Action for Happiness at the Cathedral Conference Centre * publicised and promoted our cause in many arenas including Ely Soup, a Parish Conference for all East Cambridgeshire Councillors, Ely Hereward Rotary Club, Radio Cambridgeshire and the recent 'Shed Load of Help' event at The Chicken Shed in Fordham. * forged working links with many other voluntary community groups in Ely, as well as with Action for Happiness groups in Cambridge and St Ives * recently received the news that we have been successful in our application for a Community Fund Grant from East Cambridgeshire District Council, which has resulted in a substantial four-figure sum to enable further development of our work.

To date all of this has been possible due to the commitment of three main volunteers, but we are very hopeful that our team will expand as a result of the Exploring What Matters course which only concluded last month. We are currently exploring the possibility of an evening Ely Action for Happiness group to cater for local people who work standard day-time hours and we are running a trial period from September through to the end of the year to gauge interest. The Happy Cafe team is committed to a viable Action for Happiness presence in Ely, whatever that looks like - driven not by numbers, but by the more important fact that people know we are there and on a regular basis. We try to embody the ethos of Action for Happiness in all we do, from our own self-care practice to how we interact with others. It is so encouraging to see new faces still turning up to our Wednesday morning sessions. Here are a few thoughts from participants over the last year. 'I realise that my actions have power to make a positive change'. 'I welcome having the opportunity to discuss these types of topics with others and having a more in-depth conversation than I usually have'. 'The 10 Keys from Action for Happiness are the things we should be talking about to make a difference to ourselves and to others'. 'I think Happy Cafe is fab!' At the moment there is increasing publicity and awareness of 'lifestyle medicine': a holistic approach to our well-being which encourages and empowers us to be pro-active and to take control of all aspects of our health. We we will continue to publicise the science-based resources from Action for Happiness because we believe their strategies have great potential in promoting and protecting everyone's mental wellness.

We can assure newcomers a warm welcome at our Happy Cafe Ely gatherings, or you can find out more and contact us through the links below. Facebook@HappyCafeEly Twitter@happycafeely

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