The toolkit has been produced in partnership with Scottish Government to support groups to host their own Cafés.

The ALLIANCE is pleased to launch a Conversation Café toolkit in support of the Scottish Government Women’s Health Plan. With this toolkit we bring together resources, recommendations and guidance on hosting independent Conversation Cafes to encourage information sharing and peer support on areas of women’s health1.

A Conversation Café is an informal space where a small group of people can come together in a facilitated but open conversation on a particular topic. There is emphasis placed on creating an environment where relationships are formed, where everyone feels comfortable to speak, but where listening is also a valuable act.

We aim to use the model of Conversation Cafés as a way to bring women and people with lived experience of the areas within the Women’s Health Plan together in a safe and supportive environment. The Conversation Cafés can act as platforms for debunking myths and dispelling shame and stigma that may surround many health conditions and experiences. Conversation Cafés can provide a space for connection, tackle isolation and make women feel valued. This is important for discussing women’s health, particularly within certain groups, where lack of information, poor access to services and misinformation means many women feel disempowered when discussing their health.

The toolkit is a guide for delivery, which can be used flexibly by organisations, community groups, employee groups or with friends to set up, host and evaluate an independent Café.

The toolkit includes:
• Information on conversation cafes and peer discussions
• Outline of the priority areas for discussion, in line with the Women’s Health Plan
• A planning summary guide
• Example Café sessions
• Starter questions and prompts
• Support for building safe and supportive spaces
• Facilitator support information
• Evaluation templates
• Key considerations for ensuring your Café is reflective of different experiences
• And more…

Alongside the toolkit the ALLIANCE have developed a resource hub, which provides additional resources to support discussion: ensuring that Café participants can be signposted to expert clinical information, and that facilitators have access to resources to spark further discussion.

The toolkit is free to download here. We are also happy to provide print copies for those looking to set up their own Café. Email to arrange.

If you decide to use the toolkit to set up your own Café then please let us know – we’d love to stay updated and hear about the great work you are doing in encouraging positive and affirming discussions on women’s health areas


[1] The Women’s Health Plan uses the term ‘women/woman’ throughout but it is important to highlight that it is not only those who identify as women who require access to women’s health and reproductive services. The actions within the Plan make it clear that all healthcare services should be respectful and responsive to individual needs.

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