Happy to Share is back!

Recovery Devon are extremely proud to be relaunching the Happy to Share project post-pandemic. Refresh your brain on the project and read all about our relaunch below.
Text reads. Happy to share is back. Visit www.happytoshare.co.uk. Email happytoshare@recoverydevon.co.uk.
Happy to Share project has been relaunched this February, 2023.

The history

Back in early 2020, we were encouraging people to place ‘Happy to Share’ cards on their tables in communal spaces. This was in a bid to combat loneliness and isolation. Then, a pandemic hit, and everyone became locked down and social distancing became a way of life. Meanwhile, loneliness was increasing among the population. Almost a quarter of adults felt lonely during lockdown, and many of us were feeling the effects of isolation.

As we emerge from the pandemic, people can now reconnect with their communities and the things they enjoy again (if they wish to). And whilst Covid still lives around us, it’s important we are there to help welcome back members of the community who have been affected most. Those still affected by poor mental health, isolation and loneliness.

What’s more, Mind’s research found that when asked ‘what support do adults want to receive after the pandemic?, 55% of mental health sufferers chose ‘more opportunities to socialise and interact with other people’ as their top answer. Which is why Happy to Share is just one way that we can help people recover from what has been an extremely challenging few years.

About the project

For those of you new to the Happy to Share project, it is a very simple initiative. People are invited to place a card on their table, to indicate to others when they are welcoming of sharing their table with someone else. It can be used in any communal space, such as cafés, eateries and canteens. The original idea was brought to us by Caron Sprake in 2016. After her successful bid through our Development Fund, this then led to the first printing of the cards. The initiative went on to attracting national attention, including a Points of Light award.

Unfortunately, social distancing and repeated lockdowns meant we had to put this wonderful initiative on hold for a few years. However not before many establishments had made the cards available to their community.

Recovery Devon worked with Exeter University in 2020, to conduct research into the experience café owners had previously had with the cards before the pandemic. It was great to learn how the project was supporting different communities. And despite this research being collected at a very challenging time for the hospitality sector, the responses showed overwhelming support for the Happy to Share iniative.

The relaunch

As part of our relaunch, we will be getting in touch with everyone who had previously engaged with the project. We will also be looking for new businesses and organisations to join us in our cause to reduce loneliness in Devon.

We recognise that times are different, with financial hardship for many and the cost of living crisis. So we also understand that going out to cafés, is a luxury that not everyone can afford. This is why we are looking for new and innovative ways to make this project as accessible as possible.

Happy to share cards displayed on table.
We have bundles of Happy to Share Cards to send out to communities.

If you are interested in finding out how you can be involved with this project, please get in touch. We would love to hear ideas about how you could introduce this initiative to your community. You can email us at happytoshare@recoverydevon.co.uk. Our Community Developer Worker, Jody Coyle, is the new point of contact for the project.