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Monday, June 17, 2024

Derry café tackling loneliness in the migrant community


A new café in Londonderry is aiming to tackle loneliness and isolation among the migrant community.

The Social Connection Café is run through the North West Migrants Forum.

Director of programmes at the forum, Lilian Seenoi-Barr, said the café gave people from all backgrounds an opportunity to connect with others.

“We wanted to tackle loneliness and isolation by providing a space where people feel welcome and at home.” Ms Seenoi-Barr told BBC Radio Foyle.

“We wanted to create a connected Derry, where people can feel like they are home, even if they are originally from far away.”

People who attend the café can get food, hot drinks, play board games and also have the opportunity to speak to people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Lillian Seenoi-Barr

Ms Seenoi-Barr said the café was mainly for people who may “feel socially isolated within the community” but is open to everyone.

“There are a lot of people who may feel alienated from society, they are newcomers within the city and may have no family or friends here,” Ms Seenoi-Barr said.

Nixon Yaa from Kenya said he was very pleased to come along to the café and very much enjoyed his time there.



“I’m meeting new people, making friends with new people and it’s really fun,” Mr Yaa said.

“This is very important because I am refreshing my mind here and I am enjoying the day.”

‘A place where I can unwind’

Bintan Ashorobi, who is an international student in Derry, said she had no family in the city and because of her work pattern, she has found it hard to make time to socialise.

“I don’t have any shifts today so when I heard about the social café over the next few days I wanted to come down,” Ms Ashorobi said.

“It’s a place where I can unwind and meet other people as well.”

Ms Ashorobi said the café also hosted an amazing Christmas dinner and party on Friday for people to come and celebrate the festive season together.

“It was so lovely and so nice, the kids got loads and loads of gifts so we were very happy about that,” she said.

“We are far away from home and the festive period can be hard because you remember all the gatherings and people at home so a place like this helps take your mind off that.”

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