The History of the Dragon Café in the City
In 2017, the City of London Corporation launched Release the Pressure,
a suicide prevention campaign aimed at City workers, residents and visitors to encourage mental health and wellbeing. During this time, Shoe Lane Library was undergoing a small refurbishment to emphasise its place as a sanctuary in the heart of the City, while Mental Fight Club were looking for a way to bring their unique model of mental wellbeing support into the City of London.
The Libraries service and Mental Fight Club were brought together by Public Health, as Carnegie UK Trust and Wellcome Trust announced their Engaging Libraries programme. Following a successful bid by Barbican & Community Libraries, and a further bid by Public Health to the City’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Dragon Café in the City launched in February 2018 as a six-month pilot project in Shoe Lane Library.
The aim of the event was to engage those in the City with their mental wellbeing through a monthly programme of events in the library that encouraged self-care, conversation, and learning. As a result of the outstanding response, funding has been secured for another two years, allowing the sessions to be delivered on a fortnightly basis.
At present, Dragon Café in the City runs every other Wednesday between 12pm - 7.30pm, providing a unique offering of events that mixes fortnightly staples of yoga, chess, and free massages, with a variety of workshops and activities to spark relaxation, interest and imagination.