Marks & Sparks have announced a new initiative to help their frazzled shoppers, launching a new fortnightly event at eleven stores across the UK.
M&S’ ‘Frazzle Cafes’ are to be fronted by mental health advocate Ruby Wax, who has been outspoken about her own struggle with depression, writing about the topic in books such as Sane New World: Taming the Mind and A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled.
The project, which will be hosted by trained volunteers, will initially take place across 11 stores across the UK, including London, Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury, and Norwich.
What exactly is the aim of these cafes? Well, the high street retailer is keen to point out that their fortnightly sessions aren’t “therapy” but, rather, a safe space “where people can talk openly with others who understand how they are feeling”.
According to the official blurb on their website: ‘Frazzled Cafe meetings provide a ‘talk-in’ place where people who are feeling frazzled can meet on a regular basis to talk and share their personal stories in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environment – a place where it’s ok, to not be ok.’
The Frazzled Cafe Project is now in the process of becoming registered as a charity and Ruby Wax, whose theatre show Sane New World really inspired this collaboration, is its champion.
“It’s special to get a company like M&S on board,” Wax said. “I’m grateful for the set-up support they’ve given us and access to their cafe network is a huge boost.”
M&S retail director Sacha Berendji added: “This is a simple, pressure-free way of tackling what can be a taboo subject – feeling stressed. We hope that by providing free and calm venues after the cafe has closed, we can help any members of the community who simply need to talk about things and what’s happening in their lives.”
Only time will tell if Ruby and M&S’ plan will encourage shoppers to stop by. To try out one of these frazzled Cafes for yourself, you can find out where your nearest one is – and sign up to the mailing list – here.