Ten more wellness cafés to be opened across Donegal

FOLLOWING the success of Letterkenny’s wellness café, 10 more were launched virtually on Friday.
The new cafés are in Dungloe, Gaoth Dobhair, Falcarragh, Dunfanaghy, Swilly/Mulroy, Buncrana, Moville, Carndonagh and Clonmany.
Majella O’Donnell, from Donegal Mind Wellness, launched the new wellness cafés.  She has supported the training for the new cafés, which are working alongside Donegal Mental Health Services.
Marie Duffy, Wellness Café facilitator in Letterkenny’s café, said such was the response to  Letterkenny Wellness Café with people coming through the doors week after week, it was decided more cafés were needed dotted around the county.
Speaking to the Donegal News, she said: “The new cafés will allow people from the more rural areas of Donegal to have a space to support their well-being over a cup of tea, a chat and a laugh.”
She said the benefits of the wellness cafés are far-reaching, particularly given the challenges people encountered with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’re finding that especially with Covid people experienced huge isolation and loneliness and those feelings can have a huge impact on a person’s mental health. The success of the Letterkenny wellness café has revealed people are seeing their confidence return. They are meeting new people, forming friendships and enjoying some ‘down’ time in a very informal setting over a cuppa. The idea behind the wellness cafés is a very simple one but also very effective and it is working.
“The wellness cafes have been set up to allow people to support their well-being by meeting up for a couple of hours a week in a relaxed space to have a chat with others over a cup of tea or coffee. The cafés hope to combat the loneliness and isolation that Covid had caused so many people by offering a chance to get out of the house and meet other like-minded people.”
The cafés run during the day and are accessible to those aged 18 years and over. Marie said she is not seeing any distinction in the age demographic of those attending.
“We are finding they are appealing to young men and women and older men and women, there is no specific age demographic. It’s great to see that they are appealing to such a wide age group.
There are hopes the wellness cafés could be rolled out in other areas of the county.
“We’ve been listening to the different communities hearing what they would like to see delivered. The launch of such a high number of cafés is great to see, there are still some areas of the county that are not as yet covered that we will be turning our attention to.
“I would encourage anyone to come along and try it out for themselves.”
Letterkenny Wellness Café runs every Thursday from 10.30am to 12 noon in An Grianán Theatre. Gaoth Dobhair’s wellness café takes place in Ionad Naomh Pádraig every Friday from 12.30pm to 2pm.
Dungloe’s wellness café meets every Thursday from 11am to 1pm in The old Chapel Café in Ionad Teampall Chróine.
Dunfanaghy’s wellness café meets every second and fourth Monday from 10.30am to 12 noon in The Workhouse.  The Batch in Falcarragh hosts a wellness café every Wednesday from 10.30am to 12 noon, and Swilly/Mulroy’s wellness café takes place Thursday fortnightly in Mulroy Woods Hotel and The Gallery, Downings.
Ring The Willows on (074) 91 88329 for more information on any of the wellness cafés.

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