Free mental wellbeing space opens in the Square Mile

A new project has officially launched providing City workers and residents with a space to relax and recharge in the Square Mile, along with free wellbeing workshops, therapies and support. The six-month pilot – ‘Dragon Café in the City’ – is funded by the City of London Corporation, Carnegie UK and the Wellcome Trust’s ‘Engaging Libraries’ programme. It will provide a range of free activities including Tai Chi, Yoga, mindfulness and talks on a wide variety of subjects to promote and support mental wellbeing in the Square Mile.

The pilot builds on the City Corporation’s first mental health campaign -“Release the Pressure” – which launched in summer 2017 and encouraged City workers, residents and visitors to look after their mental health and wellbeing. The campaign signposted people to free resources they could access and encouraged them to speak o someone about issues they were experiencing.

Dragon Café in the City will welcome anyone living or working in the Square Mile who is feeling the pressures of work or life. The pilot is a collaboration between Mental Fight Club, the City of London Corporation, and Output Arts.

Mental Fight Club has been running the Dragon Café near London Bridge for the past five years. It is the UK’s first creative mental wellbeing café and is highly successful. Mental Fight Club has long recognised the need for a similar space for those working and living in the business hub that is the Square Mile.

Running fortnightly on Thursdays, from noon until 8:30pm, Dragon Café in the City will offer short massage and complementary therapy sessions, creative workshops and talks on a wide variety of subjects, Tai Chi, Yoga and movement workshops, mindfulness, and more. The timetable of activities will change on a fortnightly basis to reflect the wide-ranging needs of City workers and residents. Visitors will also be welcome to bring their lunch along, to enable them to drop by Dragon Café in the City during lunch, or even after work on their way to catch the train.

HR and wellbeing professionals from over 40 well-known City businesses attended a sneak peek taster session of Dragon Café in the City last week and have committed to promoting this fantastic resource among their employees. The importance of creative activity to mental wellbeing was strongly advocated by a senior member of Deloitte’s workforce, who spoke to the audience about the exploratory work the global firm is doing in this space.

Joyce Nash, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing board, said: “Mental health issues have a wide array of causes and seemingly low-level stressors, if left alone and without support, can turn into something more serious. We are committed to providing a relaxing sanctuary space for City workers and residents and to promoting good mental wellbeing. We hope that Dragon Café in the City will have a positive impact on the lives of those working and living in the Square Mile.”

Jessica Tyler, Operations Manager, Mental Fight Club said: “Providing spaces where people can connect with others and look after their mental wellbeing is integral to Mental Fight Club’s ethos. This collaboration, working with Shoe Lane Library and the City of London Corporation, will provide a unique place for those living and working in the Square Mile, giving people space to relax and recharge.”

Copper pipes, taps and a bath will appear throughout the library as a trail for discovery and interaction. Turning a tap will allow people to hear recordings of people speaking of an activity or strategy that they use to release emotional or psychological pressures, inspiring visitors to look after their own mental health and to support that of those close to them.