Funding Success Stories (Hammersmith): The Invisible Café

Innovation Fund Feedback from our friend Roslyn at The Invisible Café

The Invisible Café was awarded the Innovation Fund to provide a space and supportive environment for individuals with invisible illnesses where they could work together, help each other, finding out ‘what works best for them’ and take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

The Invisible Café was due to launch March 2020. However, due to the current pandemic and government restrictions, the launch was postponed. Roslyn stated that additional funding that they raised was redirected to support the fight against Covid-19 in the community.

Roslyn said that she started fundraising again, September 2020 due to losing some of their other funding, and had to change how she was to deliver the project. As community centres and services closed, followed by entering into higher tiers; our movement was restricted, she moved as much as she could online. Many of the organisations the Invisible Café had originally teamed up with, had to close and that had a direct impact on the service The Invisible Café could offer.

They are due to launch online in April 2021 and will have Pilates classes, Counselling sessions, coffee mornings/afternoons and Mindfulness classes. Roslyn stated that she has also joined forces with other community groups. These include:

  • Maggie’s – A network of drop in centres aimed at anyone who has been affected by cancer.
  • AGE UK.
  • Mental Health (MH) Big Room Team at Charing Cross.
  • Hammersmith Community Gardens.

Roslyn said the organisations will be working together and sharing their services. They have also been in talks with Hammersmith & Fulham council to paint a mural, at their local community gym. This is something that Roslyn believes will bring the community together and be good for residents wellbeing. This should hopefully take place in the summer, providing we are Covid free, by then.  

Roslyn stated that since the soft launch in April, The Invisible Café has been able to interact with 1183 people in total. The website gets on average 250 views per month and they have followers on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.  

Roslyn informed me that they had a promotion campaign from 1st – 7th May, which reached 1929 people and over 448 people watched their promotional video.

Feedback from participants who benefitted from The Invisible Café was very positive including the following:

“It’s really helpful to know I have a resource to refer to in the future for my health and well-being”.

“My wife Jackie and I have taken part in a number of Invisible Cafe Pilates sessions. My wife has MS and I have chronic back pain. The sessions have been great for both of us and really good value”.

 “I think the Invisible Cafe is a great concept and will con4nue to take advantage of its offerings”.

“I have followed their crea4on and success from the beginning and am excited to watch how it grows. This is an essential avenue for people like me who need to access therapy options online. It is also a great way to connect with likeminded people. I have been taking part in the online Pilates group since April and always look forward to this group as it is small and personal”.

“I joined the Invisible Cafe on the recommendation of a friend who like me, has MS”.

Roslyn stated “These figures are from our soft launch, as we do not officially launch until September 2021. We anticipate the project could reach at least 10% of the community in Hammersmith and Fulham by 2022”.

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