Posted on: 2 April 2019

Patients have collaborated with charity workers and CNWL NHS to open a café at St Charles Hospital’s Mental Health Unit, aimed at providing a friendly space for patients and their families.

The Charles Café was the brainchild of service users at the hospital, who worked together with staff from our Trust and charities SMART and Hestia to design every aspect of the space, from the lighting, art on the walls, menu and set-up to keep it calm and non-clinical.

It will be run by volunteers from charities, supported by service users.

“It’s so good to see it as such a welcoming space, a bridge for the community and hospital where people can come together to meet,” said Cate Latto, Service User and Carer Lead at the Unit. “It is such a unique transitional space where we can continue to embed our great service user work in the local community.


Staff at the soft launch

Following a recent soft launch, the café is now open from 10am to 12:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It serves teas, coffees, water and a range of low-sugar snacks and fruit.
Ann Nguyen, Business and Transformation Manager, and Lucy Cook, Service Manager were part of the organising team.

“The café has provided a unique opportunity for service user recovery, ownership of the space and a space for developing choice and confidence in recovery. It is a social area for people and will be used to signpost and promote well being and recovery in the Borough. It is an excellent example of true co production.

“If you are in the neighbourhood, please do come by for a local cup of coffee!”

At the soft launch, volunteers said they were pleased to be involved in the project.

“We have friends who were patients on the wards at St Charles at some point, so we recognise how important it is to have a place like the St Charles Café to go to. In addition, we simply want to give back and support the Trust as we know how much good work is taking place here. We wanted to be part of something new, creative and inclusive for all.”