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The Stratford cafe helping people cope with daily life

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 September 2017

Sacha Berendj, Jacks Thomas and Tom Weldon chat with Ruby Wax at the launch of the Frazzled Cafe (Picture: Alexandra Wyman/SilverHub)

Sacha Berendj, Jacks Thomas and Tom Weldon chat with Ruby Wax at the launch of the Frazzled Cafe (Picture: Alexandra Wyman/SilverHub)

Alexandra Wyman/SilverHub

Modern life can be stressful, and finding someone to listen to your worries with a sympathetic ear can be difficult.

Comedian Ruby Wax set up the Frazzled Cafes (Picture: Alexandra Wyman/SilverHub) Comedian Ruby Wax set up the Frazzled Cafes (Picture: Alexandra Wyman/SilverHub)

But that’s where the Frazzled Cafe comes in.

Set up by comedian Ruby Wax, the cafe offers people who are feeling under pressure a chance to talk about their problems in a safe, confidential environment.

“For the last ten years, in the second half of my shows, the audience speak out,” Ruby explained.

“It’s nothing to do with mental illness, it’s just people who want to speak, to talk about their lives.

“They were safe in that theatre, and I said that one day I wanted to open a safe space for people to talk.”

That safe space now exists. Participants meet fortnightly in a Marks and Spencer cafe, which is closed off to the public, to discuss their lives and support each other.

“It’s operating in about 15 stores so far, but eventually we want to set them up all over the country,” Ruby said.

“We’ve got quite a few planned for the new year.”

The Marks and Spencer store in Westfield Stratford City is among the locations, and the cafes are designed for people “who don’t want to bother others” to share their thoughts and worries and receive advice.

The sessions involve no more than 20 people and are led by volunteer facilitators, who manage the conversations in a non-judgemental way and allow everyone the chance to speak if they want to.

Those who attend do so with the understanding of confidentiality, and while some do so to help cope with mental health issues, others do so to help cope with everyday stresses of life.

“One of the great things is that there are people from all different walks of life,” Ruby said.

“Some of them have even met up outside of the cafes.”

Ruby, who has been made an OBE for services to mental health, has attended some of the Frazzled Cafes herself, and said that she “wished something like this existed” when she was younger.

For more information or to sign up, visit frazzledcafe.org

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