This page provides answers to a range of Frequently
Asked Questions relating to Happy Cafés. If you're interested in getting
a local Happy Café going, please start by reading these.
What is a Happy Café?
A Happy Café is a café that is part of the Happy Café Network
created by members of the Action for Happiness movement. It is a place
where those seeking happier lives for themselves and others can
connect with each other over a coffee and learn science-based
skills for enhancing psychological wellbeing. These skills are set
out in the Ten Keys to
Happier Living, which include developing good
relationships, doing good for others, taking a positive approach,
trying out new things and being comfortable with who you are.
What is Action for Happiness?
Happiness is a rapidly-growing movement of people taking action
for a happier and kinder world. Since its launch in 2011, millions
of people spread across 170 countries have engaged with its ideas
and hundreds of thousands have joined the global community. The
central idea is simple, but profound: people commit to
living in a way which creates more happiness - both for themselves
and for others too.
The movement is secular, science-based and open to all. The
movement's Patron is His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whose
universal messages about happiness and kindness resonate with
people of all backgrounds. Its co-founders are economist Professor Lord Richard Layard, social
innovator Geoff Mulgan and educator Sir Anthony
How many Happy Cafés are in Network?
More than 30 cafés in many parts of the UK and beyond
have joined the network since it was set up in October 2014.
They can be located on an interactive map on our Happy Café page.
Happy Cafés have also been set up in Italy, Germany, Romania,
Canada, Costa Rica, Cambodia, the Philippines, Taiwan and
Australia. Many more are in prospect. Happy Cafés are also being
established in schools, universities, and community centres. A
large company is planning to turn their in-house cafés into
What marks out a Happy
Happy Cafés are identified by having a Happy Café sticker in
their window announcing they are part of the Happy Café Network.
Inside the café you will find leaflets explaining the Happy Café
concept, postcards summarising the Ten Keys to
Happier Living, guidebooks explaining the Ten Keys in
more detail, colourful posters inspiring you to put the Ten
Keys into practice and badges which you can wear to connect up with
others. There might also be a selection of relevant books
which can be browsed through at the café and various wellbeing
activities might be staged there.
How can I start a Happy Café?
The simplest and most common way to start a Happy Café is to
find an existing local café - with a similar ethos
and supportive café owner - and invite them to join the
network and turn their cafe into a Happy Café. You can use this Invitation to Become a Happy
Cafe to share the idea with them. As an incentive you can
point out that this could attract publicity for their café and put
them on an interactive map potentially reaching hundreds of
thousands of Action for Happiness supporters. We can also encourage
AfH members living near a successful Happy Café to visit it.
An alternative - and more complicated - way is to take over an
empty café, shop or community building and turn it into a Happy
Café, possibly with the help of some social enterprise, local
authority or crowdfunding. Useful sites for raising funds include
KnowHowNonProfit and Crowdfunder. Another less expensive option
is to rent space for a "pop-up" Happy Café which can be made more
permanent if successful. An agency like Appear Here
can be used for this purpose.
Is there a charge to join the network?
We want the Happy Café concept to spread as far and wide as
possible. There is no charge at present for the Starter Pack and
downloading the resources. However we are a small non-profit
organisation and a donation to cover expenses
would be greatly appreciated. There will also be a modest charge
for any replacement stocks. The only requirement for joining
the network is adhering to the Action for Happiness mission and ethos, which
is summarised in this message from the Dalai Lama:
What are the next steps?
Once you are in a position to start a Happy Café,
a Starter Pack will be sent to you
consisting of window stickers, Ten Keys postcards and guidebooks,
and Action for Happiness badges to be worn at the café. There is
also artwork available online for printing the Action for
Happiness posters and Happy Café flyer in
print-shop ready formats. At this point, or after a launch
event for the café, your Happy Café will be placed on the interactive map on our
What can be done at a Happy Café?
On a day to day basis, people can meet up and browse through
literature as described above, perhaps putting their thoughts on a
"What makes me happy" or "Gratitude" wall. There can also be
scheduled meetups, say once a week, which will increase the chances
of making connections with like-minded people. These can involve
more structured, hosted conversations revolving around the Ten Keys to Happier
Living or other related topics which are of particular interest
to those present.
Other activities that can be organised at a Happy Café
- Running the 8-week Action for Happiness Exploring What Matters course
- Talks on different themes relating to wellbeing - e.g.
resilience, relationships, positive psychology, compassion,
- Watching relevant TED
talks or videos from the Action for Happiness YouTube channel
- Screening Happiness-related movies (we can recommend a
- Wellbeing board games (we have an excellent one from
- Experiential activities (e.g. mindfulness, meditation, yoga,
- Speed-relating, modelled on speed-dating (we'll show you
- Other group activities, such as colouring, singing or fun
Who hosts events at a Happy Café?
If the café owner is not available or willing to host Happy Café
activities and events, hosts can potentially be found from
local Action for Happiness members and from those attending the
café. For example, a notice can be put up at the café where those
interested in joining the group and in playing an active part can
leave their contact details. We have hosting guidelines and are
currently considering other ways of attracting volunteers for this
There is no requirement for organised events at Happy Cafés -
and these cafés can still be a place for connecting with other
people and focusing on how to live a happier life. However, having
organised events obviously helps and make a big difference in terms
of engaging people and building a local community of like-minded
How are Happy Cafés promoted?
You can attract people to a Happy Café firstly by
organising a Launch Event. To maximise the publicity for the
launch, you can approach your local newspaper or broadcasting
channel as they tend to be very keen on positive stories like this.
Here are examples of local news coverage and broadcast coverage.
Social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, Streetlife etc) can also be used to spread the
word about Happy Cafés. Also our introductory Happy Café
leaflets can be left in various public places (e.g.
libraries, colleges, bookshops, health shops, community centres,
doctor's surgeries etc.). Being on the Happy Café map on our site will also help
raise awareness about the café.
Why is this worth doing?
By being part of the Happy Café Network, café owners are
supporting a great cause and will hopefully also gain extra
customers through their connection with Action for Happiness. Local
Action for Happiness groups, in turn, potentially gain a venue for
their activities at the café and encourage more people to join the
Downloads and Resources