Photo of Hannah Ingham

Hannah Ingham

Hannah Ingham is the Founder of The Talk Scheme, a new social enterprise idea that encourages people to talk, especially to strangers, in a positive way to combat isolation, mental health stigmas and much more.

Through the scheme, Hannah sells badges to promote and encourage people to chat. Her strapline: ‘Reviving conversation, one badge at a time’.

Hannah’s Story

Late January 2018, sitting in a bus station, I got chatting to an elderly woman. A widow, she travelled out twice a week to play bingo with her friends and when my bus arrived, apologised for speaking to me.

Surprised, I told her not to be silly, but this indeed got me thinking. How about instead of letting the art of conversation die away, we bring it back? And bring it back we shall… All with a simple accessory!

Who will the initiative help/who has it helped already?

It aims to help everyone! We have a very broad audience, so although we focus on the elderly with the huge problem of isolation at the moment, we understand younger people can be affected in the same way, hence why we are open to all.

Although we have only been set up for just over two months, we have already had really positive feedback, with people going out of their way to chat to people on their own and make sure they’re okay!

And of course, my aim is for the scheme to help people like the elderly woman I met late January waiting for my bus who had a right good natter with me, but then she apologised for it all. She’s the one who started The Talk Scheme really.

What’s worked?

The badges! So many people now are asking about the meaning, the story and how they can get one. Using social media to my advantage has done wonders.

I’ve met some great people online who have helped me hugely in terms of contacts and advise into this new business world that I’m not used to!

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

I’ve learnt that everyone is different, or should I say I knew this already but the phrase has become a lot more meaningful now. Just because one charity or business does something one way, doesn’t mean I have to follow and do it too.

I can do things the way I want to, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll learn from those mistakes. I guess the biggest challenge, one that’s still ongoing, is getting the message out there.

We especially want to reach those who don’t use the internet, as these are the people who we’re trying to help the most.

I’m getting helpful tips each day however and so our audience is forever growing.

What’s next?

Big things are in the pipeline. As we only started a few months ago but are growing so quickly, I’m in the process of securing the scheme as a social enterprise officially.

From there, we are in talks with a number of different venues to start regular ‘Talk Groups’ so people of all ages and from any background can come along, have some fun and make a few friends!

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

To be brutally honest, anything! I’m young and inexperienced in the field so I’m up for any sort of advice as far as getting the scheme known to all goes.

I would love the scheme to be seen more in the general public’s eye, we’re doing really well spreading in Yorkshire and are slowly getting there on the national scale now, it’s just taking some time.

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!