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Coffee club launched by learners in Bury St Edmunds still going strong

PUBLISHED: 06:59 14 April 2019 | UPDATED: 06:59 14 April 2019

The chatter and natter coffee club was formed two years ago Picture: REALISE FUTURES

The chatter and natter coffee club was formed two years ago Picture: REALISE FUTURES

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A weekly coffee club which was set up by a group of learners who wanted to stay in touch after completing a course in Bury St Edmunds is still going strong two years on.

A group of learners who wanted to stay in touch started the club Picture: REALISE FUTURESA group of learners who wanted to stay in touch started the club Picture: REALISE FUTURES

After finishing their pre-employment skills course at The Centre in St John’s Street, the group launched the chatter and natter coffee club at the venue’s café Just Traid.

Two years later, the learners are still meeting each week - and they now welcome and mentor other learners on the LaunchPad course run at the venue by Realise Futures, an adult community learning provider in Suffolk.

LaunchPad is a pre-employment skills course designed to help people who are long-term unemployed, have long-term health conditions and/or disadvantages, to get ready for work or to possibly undertake further learning.

Learners are signposted to the confidence-building course by the Job Centre and Realise Futures has delivered the class to more than 200 learners in Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds.

As well as Thursday morning get-togethers, members of the group also have an annual barbecue, a teddy bears’ picnic and run other social events.

Former learner Donna Potts, from Bury St Edmunds, who came up with the idea for the coffee club, said: “It’s a great group of people. We all help one another and help new people attending the classes to feel at ease. If people are feeling low, we can support them. They realise they are not on their own; what they are feeling is what other people are feeling.”

Realise Futures course tutor Viv Carter said some past learners are now in work or help at organisations as volunteers.

“The club helps people to build up their confidence and people say they can meet friends, socialise and not feel alone with their problems,” she said.

The social enterprise has been providing community learning in Suffolk for more than 25 years and runs adult community learning courses from centres in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Newmarket and Lowestoft as well as other community locations.

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