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Banana Chat – meet Alex Hoskyn

This week’s Banana Chat is with our inspirational person of the week – Alex Hoskyn, a Mum, part time social worker and founder of The Chatty Cafe Scheme……..

My name is Alex Hoskyn and I live in Oldham in Lancashire. I got married in January 2018 and have one son Henry. I am a social worker two days a week and am the founder of The Chatty Cafe Scheme. I went travelling on my own when I was 26 and absolutely loved that. I met and made lots of really good friends during my travels. I worked in several random jobs during this period, including on a farm and in call centres. Whilst I was in Sydney I lived in a room with five other people!! To relax I love watching TV, especially Towie and lounging around in my PJs. When I get the chance I work really hard on The Chatty Cafe Scheme and I want people to know what it is. I work on this from home. It is amazing exactly what you can do with a laptop and perseverance.

What is your favourite joke?
What do you call it when someone steals your early morning coffee ?
Mugging!!

What makes you smile?
My little boy Henry as he is at a very cheeky and giggly stage and that just makes me smile.

What is your favourite good news story?
This Friday I am starting a chatter and play group for children in a local nursing home, which brings people from different generations together. Since researching this scheme and preparing for the sessions, I have found so many different stories about similar things where people of different ages have been brought together which has benefitted them all. This bringing together of people is such good news.

What inspires you?
Bringing lots of different people together and making a difference.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I would stop child cruelty – having a child makes you realise how precious children are and the crimes that go on against some children are just so horrible.

If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
To cure people from illness and to make people feel better so that no one has to suffer. Seeing people go through pain and suffering is just unbearable so to be able to prevent this would be a great superpower to have.

What is your favourite food?
Pizza – My absolute favourite at the moment is a Margherita pizza with extra tomato and fresh basil – It has to be a proper big thick pizza though,  nothing thin and healthy!!

What is your favourite drink?
It used to be a pint of shandy but I am now trying to be a bit more sophisticated. So Amaretto and coke is my current tipple of choice.

If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
A book!! I have a young son, a job and a business venture so don’t have much time and I absolutely love reading so for me a book and time to read it would be pure luxury  and something that I really enjoy so that would definitely be my luxury item.

If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
If I had the power to make one law I would have a big shake up of things like prisons, social care and the legal system to get rid of red tape and to make all laws more relevant for now and not from when the laws were made.

Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know ?
I lived in Australia for two years in Melbourne and absolutely loved it. I backpacked on my own firstly to China and then onto Thailand. Everyone I met said I had to go to Australia so I just got a cheap flight and just went and worked all sort of jobs in that period so that I could stay. A really amazing experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope to go back again in the near future.

What is your favourite phrase or saying?
I call a lot of men and women “Babe” – sometimes just as I can’t remember people’s names!! Probably not very PC!

What cause, project or event would you like to promote?
The Chatty Cafe Scheme which is encouraging cafes and restaurants across the United Kingdom to have a “chatter and natter table” which is where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to others. If venues want to be involved then they can pay a one off £10 which entitles them to get all the information enabling them to sign up and get involved, including a listing on the website.  Venues can be cafes of any size from tiny cafes to huge chains. Costa Coffee has just signed up!!  A chatter and natter table is for anyone ……. If you are on your own, in a couple, with a friend , if you are a carer why not sit there with who you care for, mums and babies, dads and babies, grandparents and babies, young people, older people and anyone in-between. When you are deciding where to sit look for the chatter and natter table and sit there. Stay for five minutes while you have your drink or longer. It is not about making friends just about having good old fashioned human interaction.

Who is your favourite music artist?
At the moment Larkins , this is a band that includes someone I work with and the album is really great listen to. I love the music and at the moment this is certainly top of my play list. I am sure that they will hit the big time really soon.

Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
My Dad – he worked really hard and persevered in whatever he did. He was self motivated and worked for himself. He actually passed away twelve years ago but gave me a really good grounding in hard work. You had to be at deaths door not to go into work. If you were off school you had to be really really poorly but this certainly gave me a really good work ethic.

PJ’s or Not?

Hot or cold? Hot

Cat or dog? Neither, allergic to both

Blue or pink? Blue 

Tea or coffee? Tea

Glass half-empty or glass half-full? My husband would say half empty but I would say half full!!

Pyjamas or not? Pyjamas 

Night out or night in? Night out  but then going home to my own house, pjs on and a nice cup of tea

Pizza or pasta? Pizza

Biscuits or cake? Cake

Wine or beer? Trying to get into red wine 

Football or rugby? Neither – avoid like the plague!

Cinema or theatre? Theatre musicals 

Gym or TV? TV

Naughty or nice? Nice

Silver or gold? Gold is my preference at the moment

Tent or hotel? Hotel

Bath or shower? Shower

Starter or pudding? Both

Sheets or duvet? Duvet

Love Island or Game of Thrones? Love Island

Finally, apple or banana?  Banana

If you want to find out more about The Chatty Cafe Scheme you can read our previous Good News Story that was written recently when Costa Coffee joined up to the scheme. We wish Alex all the best with this.

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