All aboard the celebration express

Talking Café regulars get ready to go…

It was all aboard the Community Connect Christmas special when West Somerset Village and Community Agents celebrated a great year of connecting communities with a festive West Somerset Railway trip.

The steam train trip was just the ticket for around 300 people involved in West Somerset’s Talking Cafés – both those who have benefitted from the cafes and those who helped them.

It was a chance for Somerset Community Connect – developed by Somerset County Council in partnership with Community Council for Somerset (CCS) and other community organisations – to say a heartfelt thank-you to those involved in making Talking Cafés such a success.

Community Connect helps people to live independently at home for longer by connecting them to support and activities within their community; bringing community organisations, social care, health, and the voluntary sector together in the Talking Cafés across Somerset.

The Cafés act as community hubs where any person aged 18+  can meet CCS agents and access support for themselves, a family member or friend, across a range of services, as well as enjoying some company and a chat.

A majestic steam locomotive powered the trip through the West Somerset countryside from Minehead to Williton and back again, with Father Christmas greeting the travellers at the end of their journey.  There was a gift for everyone on board – including the 30 nursery children who entertained everyone with Christmas Carols on the platform.

Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “This time of year can be difficult for those who may be socially isolated. The Talking Cafes provide so much more than advice by bringing communities together and providing a space where people can talk. The steam train ride was an inspirational way to celebrate.”

CCS Agents play a vital role in the initiative, helping to run Talking Cafes in 17 locations across the county. They bring together people from care, health, district councils, community and voluntary groups to see how they can help anyone who feels like they, or someone they know, need it. You can find a café in your area here:

If you want to find out what else is on in your local area over the festive period, for yourself or for your family CCS Agents have also compiled their annual festive event listings:


Submitted by Communications