Night of music, friendship and fashion in aid of Donegal’s wellness cafés

A ‘Mental Health and the Arts Variety Concert’ is set to take place in An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny, on January 26 at 8pm.

A night of song, music, friendship and fashion is expected with all proceeds on the night going to the wellness café network in Donegal.

Tickets are €5 and are available at


In 2019, the first wellness café was launched in Donegal which acted as a social space for many where friendships were formed reducing isolation and loneliness.

Speaking to the Donegal News, Donegal Wellness Café’s founder Sharon Ferguson said she set up the café in a bid to reduce the stigma around mental health.

“It all began with a nine week program in An Grianan Theatre. We had tea and coffee and talked about mental health. I started floating the idea that this could be our wellness café. The group I was working with got on board with it and they supported us.

“We launched our first wellness café in 2019. Through all of this I tracked the learning so we could then provide training for anyone that wanted to come on board,” she said.

Unfortunately, shortly after the launch Covid-19 struck.

When restrictions settled down, Sharon began delivering training around the county.

Aiming to train 25 people, numerous online information sessions were held which resulted in training 50 peers.


What started out as a small project has resulted in cafés in Clonmany, Dunfanaghy, Moville, Ballybofey, Stranorlar, Carndonagh, Falcarragh, Lifford, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Dungloe, Ramelton, Downings, Donegal Town and Gaoth Dobhair.

Anyone can attend a wellness café and Sharon said they attract a wide age range.

“We have people in their early 20s to people in their 80s attending. In the cafés there are no expectations, no one is expected to talk about mental health. People come to a wellness café as a social outing. People really look forward to coming and getting their cup of tea or coffee. They see it as their day out,” she said.

A ‘sponsor a cuppa’ campaign has recently been launched throughout wellness cafés in Donegal.

The campaign was launched due to the cost of living crisis as there were fears people would stop attending the cafés.

Sharon says the idea behind the campaign is for people to “pay it forward”.

The Donegal Wellness Café is currently recruiting peers.

If you or someone you know would be interested in becoming a peer contact the Donegal Wellness Café via their Facebook page.

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