From October, Lincoln’s Night Light Cafes will be open seven nights a week for people struggling with their mental health.

The cafes work on a referral-only basis, with guests referring themselves. Photo: Marta Dzedyshko via

The cafes, which first appeared in March, were originally open from 8pm to midnight, four days a week.

They work on a referral-only basis, with guests referring themselves by contacting the cafes in advance.

There are currently cafes at Portland Street, Bailgate, Newark Road and Boultham, with two more set to open in Lincoln centre and Brant Road.

Stacey Marriott is the crisis cafe coordinator for Acts Trust, a Lincoln-based charity which oversees the project.

Ms Marriott said: “The cafes aim to be there to support people experiencing a crisis, hope to reduce the suicide rate and offer hope that there are people out there that care.”

After a brief spell of operating online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cafes have resumed their in-person work, adhering to the current government guidelines. 

Ms Marriott said these include the use of hand sanitiser, regular checks, completing a risk assessment for each venue and ensuring everything is cleaned. 

She added: “We only have three guests a night, working in teams of three volunteers per night, in bubbles.”

“The cafes have peaceful atmospheres where people can relax and destress, and they have food and drink which we don’t charge for,” said Ms Marriott. Photo: Night Light Cafe Lincoln via Facebook, used with permission.

For those wondering what to expect from the cafes, Ms Marriott said they are “led by volunteers who are not trained councillors but are trained to listen and signpost to groups and professional advice.”

“The cafes have peaceful atmospheres where people can relax and destress, and they have food and drink which we don’t charge for.

“There are also different activities, if people want to do jigsaw puzzles, craft activities to help them relax – and it is a friendly environment with no judgement,” she said.

Shine Mental Health Network in Lincolnshire is a network of individuals and organisations which have experience of or are involved with challenges facing mental health.   

Mike Martin, administrator for Shine Lincolnshire, said: “The Night Light cafes have been making a big difference to people’s lives in the city of Lincoln since they started operating earlier in the year.

“The news that they will be operating a seven-night-a-week service is very welcome and we wish them all success providing this most valuable service.”

Shine Lincolnshire also provide weekly virtual coffee meetings, which anyone can attend. 

Mr Martin said: “Our own coffee meetings, held on Zoom three times a week, have proved popular with regular and also infrequent attendees.”

He said the meetings “provide social interaction between people who may not otherwise have any contact with the outside world, or need to connect with others outside their social bubble during this time of restrictions with social activities.”

Meanwhile, The Peace of Mind Society at the University of Lincoln is working to promote positive mental health and well-being, primarily among students.

President of the Peace of Mind Society, Becka Sharp said: “The Peace of Mind Society has been working incredibly hard behind closed doors to ensure that we can provide wonderful socials and campaigns for the upcoming academic year, to help students handle their mental health and well-being during the ongoing pandemic.”

She added: “We would like to reassure students that it is completely normal to be struggling with your mental health and well-being under the current circumstances and we are here to help provide impartial advice and signpost them into a direction for those who can offer them more support.”

Increased concern around students’ mental health and well-being comes after a series of stories in the media, including reported cases of COVID-19 at universities and interviews with politicians. 

The Night Light cafes can be contacted for a self-referral on 0300 011 1200 or via email at

By Abbey Warne

News Editor at The Linc.