Building works transform Jami’s mental health caféAugust 9, 2022
Head Room celebrates official reopeningMarch 22, 2023
Jami’s bigger and better mental health café is eager to serve
Head Room by Jami, the charity’s mental health café in Golders Green, has now fully reopened, following major expansion and a revamp. This social enterprise, providing an extensive free programme of daily activities and groups to improve mental wellbeing, alongside a vibrant kosher food and drinks menu, is, as its new branding claims, “more than a café, a place to connect.” According to Jami’s chief executive Laurie Rackind: “It’s a real community hub on the high street. It’s a place where people can walk in off the street to get mental health support, while others sit down to eat shakshuka.”
The café was extended into the available premises next door because more space was required to deliver all the groups that Jami wants to run and to enable greater collaboration with other organisations to deliver support. As Rackind explains: “Ultimately, we just needed to make the existing area bigger and better, so that many more people in the community can benefit from everything Jami’s café has to offer.”
Head Room’s in-person and online community programme, open to everyone in the community from Monday to Friday, improves personal and communal mental health and wellbeing, and provides people with a sense of purpose. There are opportunities to explore one’s creativity in a weekly art class, join a friendly discussion group, go on a leisurely walk or simply enjoy a coffee and a chat. The café’s new cosy corners also mean that visitors can just come, relax and be with others, with no pressure to participate in the groups if they choose not to.
Karen Conway, who facilitates many of the groups, says: “One of the primary objectives of the café is to reduce isolation and loneliness by bringing people together. We’re about building connections and relationships.” And one simple way that Head Room is also enabling people to connect with others is through its Pay it Forward scheme, where customers can pay forward for a hot drink, soup or sandwich to support someone else in the community who may be struggling with money or just having a difficult day.
However, the Head Room team’s ultimate goal is to build a community around what Jami does and to develop new groups for people to attend, such as music, games, creative writing, poetry and open mic sessions. There are also plans to set up a book-swap facility and community library on the premises. Now the café has more space, introducing new resources and developing additional groups will be much easier and support more sessions for more people each day.
Head Room’s capacity to entertain larger numbers means it will now be able to accommodate private events and catered business meetings too. Offering welcoming staff, a delicious kosher menu and just a five-minute walk from Golders Green station, the cafe is an ideal venue for any community event or personal occasion. Similarly, it is the perfect place for families and friends to get together for a bite to eat and to enjoy the board games available.
But, perhaps most importantly, Head Room by Jami is changing the way the Jewish and wider community think about mental illness by taking mental health support from an institutional setting to the high street. Providing support and education to everyone while normalising conversations about mental health and mental distress, this café is a true pioneer, leading the way for others to follow.
The Head Room team invites everyone to join its daily programme of events. To join a session or for further information, go to headroomcafe.org/whats-on or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for the latest info: @headroomcafe
If you need support or are supporting someone who needs help, go to jamiuk.org/get-support/ or contact 020 8458 2223.