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Happy To Chat!

Bexhill-on-Sea Happy To Chat!


The Happy to Chat Scheme hopes to make a positive contribution to a strong and safe community and recognize the right of every individual to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

This policy seeks to ensure that the Happy to Chat Scheme undertakes its responsibilities with regards to protection of vulnerable adults and will respond to concerns appropriately. This policy establishes a framework to support the practices and clarifies expectations.

The aim of this is to provide a safe space for lonely people to meet up and be able to talk together. Initially this is a table in a café but later may include benches in outdoor spaces. ‘Chatters’ will sit at the table and be joined by those wishing to chat. The tables will be clearly marked and rules for engagement will be on a leaflet on each table and a QR code will also be around to scan the full terms and conditions. The proprietor, a designated member of staff, or a volunteer would ideally, be available to support the ‘Chatters’ as a liaison officer to the scheme and ensure the rules are not being abused. They would also be available to hear and log complaints and issues.   

The expected demographic for this scheme is likely to be primarily, older people but anyone from the community is welcome

Safeguarding Statement:

It is understood that at times, the people who engage with these services at the tables, might need protecting from harm, abuse, exploitation, or neglect. Our organization has a responsibility for safeguarding the people who participate and work within this initiative and we want to be proactive and responsive towards safeguarding concerns. We will work closely with proprietors, staff and volunteers to create a collaborative and standard approach to recognizing, recording and reporting concerns relating to abuse.

Reporting and recording:

Any incidents in the first instance should be reported to the relevant Liaison officer in the venue. We will provide an appropriate form for this. These will then need to be sent to the Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council office for logging (and actioning if necessary.) Any amendments to procedure will be sent back to the venues as an update. Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council will keep a file of all incidents and accidents connected with the scheme.

Codes of conduct:

Liaison Officers: their duties are to promote the scheme and exercise a duty of care to the users.

They should:

  • Treat all customers equally regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation or religion
  • Please check the person at the Happy to Chat table is aware of its purpose and is happy for someone to potentially join them.
  • Please be polite and courteous at all times.
  • Advise and assist a customer on codewords and listen for them in case a customer needs assistance.

Customers: The rules for participants in the scheme are as follows:

  • Treat all ‘Chatters’ equally regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation or religion
  • Please check that the person you are joining is happy for you to do so.
  • Please be polite and courteous at all times.
  • Do not make derogatory, racist or sexist remarks
  • Please respect personal space
  • Please leave the table if requested to do so by your companion or a member of staff.
  • If you feel more comfortable – create a code word that you can use to get assistance from the Liaison officer



Codewords are a device used to request assistance without alerting a potential threat. This need to be set up between the liaison officer and customer prior to any meeting. It should be a word or phrase that may not sound out of place in the environment. But is obvious to the Liaison Officer (Who may need to write the word or phrase down!).

Equal Opportunities Statement and Policy

The Happy to Chat Scheme recognises the fundamental importance of equal opportunities both as an employer and in our role within our local community.

We therefore take every care to treat each individual as a person in their own right. We recognise that everyone has a personal responsibility for the positive application of equal opportunities and that equality of opportunity is fundamentally about fairness and respect. It is achieved by ensuring that discriminatory behaviour, in any form, is not tolerated.

We are totally committed to the principle of equal opportunities and to creating a working environment in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and which is free from unlawful discrimination, victimisation or harassment on the ground of:

  • Colour, race, nationality or ethnic origin
  • Sex, marital status or gender reassignment
  • Disability of any kind
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion

Our commitment to all aspects of our organisation includes:

  • recruitment and advertisement of jobs/volunteering opportunities
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • training, personal development and progression
  • grievance and disciplinary procedures
  • relationships between members of staff and volunteers.
  • Such values require a commitment from staff, Directors, members and volunteers to accept a code of conduct which:
  • encourages respect for every individual
  • encourages collective action to challenge prejudice and the structures that perpetuate it
  • challenges stereotyped images internally and externally and, in their place, promotes positive images
  • declares as unacceptable any language, action or belief which is prejudiced or which encourages prejudice in others
  • does not tolerate any from of behaviour which is derogatory, demeaning or insulting to other persons or groups on the ground of race, gender, reassignment, disability, religion, culture, political beliefs, sex, sexual orientation or age
  • creates an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all our Directors, members and volunteers are recognised and valued.

In addition:

  • Everyone is entitled to an environment that provides dignity and respect to all.
  • No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated.
  • All will be recruited, selected and trained on the basis of the objective criteria.


Happy To Chat- More Info!