Menopause Cafe - a space for conversation

By Kieron James

07 Jan 19

Anyone can host a Menopause Cafe. All you need is a little time, a relaxing and relatively quiet venue and a few members of the community to turn up.

After watching a documentary presented by Kirsty Wark entitled ‘The Insiders Guide to the Menopause’, it occurred to Rachel that out of all predictable life events, menopause was not one she was prepared for. Being firmly of the forewarned is forearmed persuasion, Rachel set about to change this, and the Menopause Café movement was born.

A Facebook post lead to Lorna Fotheringham & Gail Jack helping Rachel run the world’s very first Menopause Café at Blend coffee lounge in Perth. The rest as they say is history. There have now been over 120 individual Menopause Café events held all over the UK from London to Aberdeen, Northern Ireland to Ipswich, and even one in Toronto, Canada.

Our format is simple & based on the Death Café model developed by the late Jon Underwood. We provide spaces for conversations about menopause. That’s it. There are no speakers, no agenda and no products or outcomes are promoted. We welcome men & women, young & old to join in a group-directed discussion held in a relaxing environment with refreshing drinks and yes, we admit it, cake.

Menopause Café, which became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) in June 2018 is run entirely by 6 volunteers, all with busy day-jobs and families. We also have a four-legged member (Bobby) who occasionally gets co-opted into the more physical aspects of fundraising, such as the recent Perth Santa 5K fun run.

Menopause Cafés vary in size. Some cafés have had 5 people attend, at others there have been 35. However, the numbers are not important. What matters is the creation of a relaxed, safe space within which everyone feels comfortable and respected.

If you would like to host a Menopause Café event, we have created a comprehensive ‘how-to’ guide which can be found on our website (where we also list upcoming Menopause Café events). If you would like to host a Menopause Café event, we have created a comprehensive ‘how-to’ guide which can be found on our website (where we also list upcoming Menopause Café events).

Feedback from our events is overwhelmingly positive and very often quite humbling. Little did we know that what started off as a wee kernel of an idea would become so popular and provide such a well-needed platform for folk to come together and share experiences & tips, or as some attendees do, just to sit and listen to the stories of others who have been in a similar situation.

Menopause Café recently won a Community Commitment Award from the Association of Scottish Business Women, and our founder, Rachel Weiss was given a ‘Point of Light’ award by the Prime Minister Theresa May in recognition of her work in the local community. We now have Kirsty Wark as our patron, which is a pleasing arc to our story.

Are we resting on our laurels you ask? Never fear. We are full speed ahead with planning a Menopause Festival to be held at the newly refurbished Perth Theatre on 26th & 27th April 2019 - for the latest festival news, please click here. The focus will be on both Menopause in the workplace as well as having a heavy creative element. After all, menopause is not all doom and gloom. We hope to see some of you in Perth next year to help us break the taboo and have some fun!

We put a couple of questions to the founders of Menopause Café:

How did you discover Wonderful?

When we decided to start fundraising, we carried out an internet search and were dismayed to find most of the sites either charged fees to the charity or took a percentage of the donation. We firmly believed that each and every penny donated to our charity, should reach our charity.

Did you have any initial reservations about the platform? If so, what are they and have they since been overcome?

Yes, because of the limited number of other charities that had signed up. However, we were reassured by the fact that Wonderful were registered with the Fundraising Regulator.

What made you decide to become a Wonderful charity?

The fact that 100% of donations are passed onto Menopause Café, that donors are not charged transaction fees and as a charity, we are not charged to use the platform.

How has Wonderful helped your charity in particular?

Wonderful has taken the stress and hassle out of the administrative side of fundraising.

Tell us about a particular appeal or fundraising page that is worthy of mention.

We are still busy frenetically fundraising for our upcoming Menopause Festival in Perth next April. The 5K Santa run in Perth on Saturday 8th December was just one of many fundraising streams that we are actively pursuing. The other streams are less physically exhausting but no less important in helping us reach our funding target of £4337.00.

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