A BOVEY Tracey couple are setting up a new initiative to help those in the community living with chronic pain. The new Templar Way Pain Café started on last week and will run every Friday in the Riverside Community Centre, Bovey Tracey from 2-4pm.

The founders of the café, Kevin and Helen Ashford, both live with chronic pain. After being helped by a similar scheme in Torbay, the couple decided to set something up with the help of the Social Prescribing team at Riverside Surgery.

With an estimated 15.5 million people in England, 34% of the population, living with chronic pain, a café like this could be indispensable to the community

‘Basically it’s a safe space with anyone with a chronic pain condition, or mental health issue,’ said Kevin. ‘Whether it be ME, fibromyalgia, diabetes, anxiety. Whatever it you suffer with or if you’re a carer helping them through it. If you just need a change of scenery or a non-judgemental space to just sit, have a cup of tea and talk.

‘You don’t have to talk about your condition, you don’t even have to divulge what your conditions are.’

Kevin, a keen night photographer, knows the positive impact hobbies and good mental health has on chronic pain.

Kevin said: ‘Everyone has their own outlets to keep their mind positive and active. But often, they’re quite isolating. Something there isn’t a lot of is actual peer support. I hope that this café can provide that support but with no judgement.

‘If you can be happier mentally, it will have a positive effect on your physical wellbeing.’