The Dragon Café is Mental Fight Club’s latest creative project: a relaxing café and imaginative space, open to all, located in the Crypt of St George the Martyr Church, Borough High St, SE1 1JA, opposite Borough tube station. (Map). Open every Monday (but only on a Monday) from 12 midday to 8.30 pm.
The Dragon Café provides a simple, affordable, healthy menu each week, and a wide range of creative and well-being activities, all of which are free and open to all. No enrolment is required for groups, just turn up and take part, as much or as little as you like. Click here for next Monday’s programme (latest version put up each Thursday).
This October we welcome Guest Curator Hannah Chamberlain for Storytelling in Space & Time: an exploration of the places, spaces, and times that our mental health stories come from. It looks at how we are nurtured by our stories and how to work through the elements that are no longer feeding us. It also looks at how to reclaim our mental health experiences which were real to us, though we may have discounted them as they weren’t real to anyone else. And how to discover: what are our themes? What is our mental geography? What does that say to us?
An inspiration to us all, Sarah Wheeler
It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our friend and colleague Sarah Wheeler passed away in the early hours of Tuesday 19th April. As you may know Sarah was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and it was only recently that she moved into a hospice. Throughout her illness she remained engaged in many activities and continued to speak up for those with lived experience of mental illness.
Sarah has been an inspirational figure to many of us personally and also across the mental health sector and wider community. Sarah was that rarest of human beings, a visionary. Sarah’s friendship, her vision and her ability to create and communicate will always be remembered, and she will be greatly missed. Mental Fight Club (MFC) and the pioneering Dragon Café are her legacy to us all, and we will be continuing to develop and expand the important work that MFC does.
Funeral details will be announced in the next few days, and we ask people to respect the family’s privacy at this upsetting time.
We hope that in Sarah’s spirit you come along to The Dragon Café soon and celebrate her life through the many creative interactions available.
We are very excited to have trialed a pop-up Dragon Café @ Morley College as part of the Connect and Discover programme. We were at Morley College Refectory on 10 Fridays between September 2015 and March 2016 from 2 – 5 pm offering a range of creative activities for your mental wellbeing, all free and open to everyone. It was a great success and we shall keep you posted on any future plans for a return.
On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th February 2016 we had a fantastic weekend curating the Mind Space in partnership with the Southbank Centre, as part of Changing Minds – a weekend festival about mental health and the arts featuring music, talks, performance and workshops. The atmosphere was welcoming and vibrant and we hope that this festival will return next year!
We are delighted to let you know that we recently welcomed our 5000th Patron to the Cafe! An amazing number for a one day a week creative project that has been open a little over two years. Well done all!
We are also thrilled to be able to announce that The Dragon Café won the Celebrating Diversity Award at the Southwark Arts Forum Awards (the SAFTAs), held on Wednesday 24 June at the lovely Unicorn Theatre. The award was sponsored by RE/MAX and we would like to thank them as well as Southwark Arts Forum, and offer our congratulations to all the other nominees and winners. Creativity is clearly thriving in the borough of Southwark!
(Declan and Seth received the Celebrating Diversity Award on behalf of The Dragon Cafe team.)
On 9th February 2015 The Dragon Cafe reached a major milestone – our 100th Monday. To keep going we need your help to raise £100,000. Join the DRAGONCAFE100 campaign and donate here to keep the cafe running. Your support is greatly appreciated.
In the countdown to the 100th Dragon Cafe we had some exciting and perceptive coverage in the media – national and global! Guardian columnist, Christina Patterson wrote about her experience of visiting The Dragon Cafe and reflected on in its importance in relation to wider society and her late sister’s experience of mental breakdown. Click here to read.
Meanwhile, Kate Vandy from the World Service’s Weekend news programme explored the space in sound and talked to Sarah, Seth, Kate in the kitchen and two patrons. Click here to listen (the piece appears at 35 minutes). BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live also paid a visit to the Dragon Café and you listen to it here (about 32 minutes in) and The Dragon Café paid a visit to Resonance Radio 104.4 FM, and was featured on the hour long Clear Spot slot, available here.
Go Well & See You Soon!
Click here for this week’s full programme.