The College’s Happy Café is part of the worldwide Happy Café network, created by Action for Happiness, a global movement that says it aims to promote emotional wellbeing based on the latest scientific research. There are over 50 cafes in the network, both in the UK and overseas in countries including Australia, the Philippines, the US, Italy and Germany. The Crosskeys Café is the first of its kind in Wales.
Happy Cafés provide a warm welcome for anyone interested in happiness and wellbeing - and encourage them to meet together for a drink and friendly chat. The Cafés also display inspiring and informative material to encourage people to discover new ways of improving their own wellbeing and to help make others happier too.
Coleg Gwent’s School of Care ILS (Independent Living Skills) lecturer, Victoria English, decided with her ASDAN* and Childcare students to join the network and transform an area of the Crosskeys Campus into Wales’ first ever Happy Café.
“We take the health and wellbeing of our students and our staff very seriously”, explained Victoria.
“So our aim is to not only to create a warm and welcoming vibe in the cafe, but also to offer staff and students of the college the chance to connect and socialise, and learn about staying mentally healthy. We have posters, books, leaflets and videos about mental wellbeing, we’ll be practising meditation and learning other skills to promote positivity and relaxation. Life for young people can be stressful, so we hope that after visiting our Café, they can leave feeling better about themselves and others”.
Stan Rosenthal is Action for Happiness’s Happy Café Network national coordinator. He welcomed Coleg Gwent’s new café’.
“I am delighted that Coleg Gwent is bringing the Happy Cafe concept to Wales, joining educational establishments in other parts of the UK who see it as an important way of improving the psychological wellbeing of their staff and students”, he said.
“The Dalai Lama
amongst others has recently acknowledged Happy Cafes as "an inspiring force for good in communities all around the world" so it would be great if Coleg Gwent could be a trail blazer for more Happy Cafes in Wales”, he added.
And Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, said: "It's fantastic to see the launch of this new Happy Cafe for Coleg Gwent students. The most striking finding from all the happiness research is the vital importance of our relationships with other people. These local connections hold the key to happier lives and a happier society".
For more information on ILS courses at Coleg Gwent, visit Coleggwent.ac.uk/IndependentLivingSkills