A pop-up café launched in a Middlesbrough shopping centre today to help people find new friends and give their social life a bit of a boost.
The PALentine’s Café opened on Thursday 13 (a date marked more recently to celebrate friendship, and some would say an antidote to the romantic pressures of February 14) for a trial day at the Hillstreet Centre, inside the Creative Factory.
Visitors were able to find out about all the social clubs, community hubs and friendly activities available locally to where they live.
Discounts for The Shoe Cake Comedy Club in Stockton and Laughing Pug Comedy in Middlesbrough were up for grabs, and Billingham Players handed out a ‘bring a friend for free’ voucher for its latest theatre production, The Lion in Winter.
Ageing Better hosted 18 successful events in January, in the Creative Factory, attracting over 1700 people, and it also ran a stall at the PALentine’s Café alongside partners from the Food and Friendship project.
Peter Drabble, centre manager at Hillstreet, said: “We have all been really looking forward to the PALentine’s Café launch and it was great to see it succeed.
“There are so many great things to do with friends or places to meet new friends in Middlesbrough and neighbouring areas, which are available more locally than people think.
“Our aim was to bring all of these under one roof for people to learn about over a free cup of tea and a biscuit.
“It was great to see people of all ages playing the games together and new friendships being built.”
Paula Marshall, a locality hub manager from Middlesbrough Council, was there representing the eight community hubs in Middlesbrough, as well as local libraries.
She said: “I think the PALentine’s Café is a brilliant idea to bring people together.
“I manage the Easterside and Grove Hill Community Hub and Libraries and there is always something going on for everyone.
“We run events for older people and younger people, animal friendly events, entertaining events, educational events – you name it, we do it.
“It’s surprising how many people are unaware of the socialising opportunities available to them right on their doorstep and the PALentine’s Café helped change that.”
For more information, visit www.hillstreetshopping.com or follow @hillstreetshopping on Facebook.