- Abide by the Menopause Cafe principles
- Find people to help you
- Agree who is going to be the host and who will be the facilitator
- Sign and return the working with us agreement
- Wait to receive your Welcome Pack
- Set your venue, date and time
- Post your events on our website, using the registration link.
- Publicise your event
- Enjoy your Menopause Café!
- Debrief and evaluate
- Complete the Menopause Cafe Facilitator’s Feedback form
We love talking with and supporting folk who start a Menopause Café, so do get in touch with your ideas and questions, at any stage.
For online workplace events, we can co-facilitate your first Café in return for a donation to our charity, and train and debrief your volunteers so that they are confident to run subsequent events without us.
To hold a Menopause Cafe you need:
- A least 2 people, to be the host and the facilitator
- A suitable physical venue or an online platform
- People who want to talk about menopause
That’s it! The Menopause Café format is flexible, lightweight and straightforward.
Menopause Cafe hosts are the people who make the Menopause Cafe happen. Being a Menopause Cafe host tends to be an enlightening and pleasant way of working with menopause in the community or workplace and to invest in your personal growth.
- The main qualities of a host are enthusiasm for talking about menopause and high ethical standards. It also helps to have good organisational skills, good networks, a flair for publicity and some patience!
- To host a Menopause Cafe read this Guide thoroughly and then follow the steps in our Quick Start Guide.
- You are responsible for the quality and safety of your event, so:
- Check all facilitators meet the criteria in the section below.
- Have a minimum of 2 Menopause Cafe people at the event.
- Ensure you know where and how to refer people who need more support eg local menopause clinics, counselling services
- Check whether you need any public liability insurance
- Refuse to admit anyone who comes to a Menopause Cafe intoxicated.
- Ensure people know that Menopause Cafe is not a support group.
- Email us if you’d like to chat with a more experienced host. We also hold occasional online meetups for our volunteer hosts, to build community and so that we can hear what’s working and what isn’t.
Facilitation is essential for a Menopause Café. This role can be summarised as making people feel safe to talk about menopause. The facilitator can be the same person as the host or different but, unlike hosts, a facilitator only performs their role during the Menopause Café session.
- In general the facilitator's role consists of:
- Welcoming people and introducing the session.
- Ensuring that our principles are respected, especially regarding tolerance for others' views.
- Bringing people into the discussion, if you think they want to say something.
- Moving the discussion on, if things get stuck.
- Managing any difficult situations, fortunately these instances are very rare.
- Encouraging people to move tables eg by ringing a bell or closing the breakout rooms
- Closing the session and asking for feedback.
- Facilitators do not need to be menopause experts, but they should:
- Be able to listen to and discuss all aspects of menopause calmly and without embarrassment.
- Have group facilitation skills.
- Be able to handle any issues or problematic situations at or arising from the Menopause Café.
Along with the skills above, the main qualities of a facilitator are enthusiasm for
talking about menopause, empathy, clear boundaries, flexibility and a friendly
- In the Menopause Café there are no hierarchies. We all meet simply as
people who are interested in the menopause. As such any facilitators who work in the field of menopause should be willing to leave their professional identity at the door.
- In general facilitators leave a Menopause Café feeling uplifted, but this doesn't always happen. It is not unusual to feel concerned or even downcast, so it’s useful to have support people in place, these could be your fellow-organisers.
A good venue is important, as a pleasant environment helps people relax and talk menopause. The Menopause Cafe is very flexible and can be run successfully in a variety of setting including people's homes, cafés, community centres and workplaces, as well as online.
- The following questions may help you find the right venue for your
- Where will you feel most comfortable and relaxed?
- Where will you get free room rental? Cafés are often happy to open for
your exclusive use, provided they make enough in sales to cover their
- Where is it easy to obtain refreshments? Cafés are good in respect of this
as people can just buy their own refreshments.
- Where is a convenient, accessible location?
- If it’s online, are you familiar with the platform, can you easily put people
into breakout rooms and gather them back again?
Coffee and cake is popular. However, any sort of food and drink can be on offer, so this can be geared to your community.
- There are a range of options for providing food and drink in person:
- Ask people to buy their own from a café on the premises
- Host a potluck where attendees contribute food to share.
- You provide the food and drink.
- If you decide to have home-prepared food or potluck, remember to observe food preparation and handling guidelines and regulation. It is the host's responsibility to ensure that any food and drink provided is safe.
- People often ask how regularly they should organise a Menopause Cafe.
Do it as often as you have the time and energy to do so, whenever feels right for you. Some Menopause Cafes take place monthly but most are on an as-and-when basis.
- Menopause Café usually last 1-2 hours. When considering your timings please remember that people often take time to settle.
- Remember, a Menopause Cafe doesn't include having specific topics, set
questions or guest speakers.
- It’s OK to situate your Menopause Cafe alongside other events e.g. after an information session. However, the menopause Cafe should always be separate from these, and observe our principles.
- In general Menopause Cafes are open to, and respectful of, people of all ages and genders (or none). However, it is fine to have Menopause Cafes for specific groups e.g. prisoners, employees of a particular organisation. Wherever possible these should be facilitated by people who are from that
- At events in public places, we put a poster at the door and greet people with “Have you come for the Menopause Cafe?”, to prevent innocents wandering in thinking they are just going into a normal café and then being surprised when strangers join them and start talking menopause! Inside, volunteers invite people to sit at small tables in groups of 4-8.
- At an online event, everyone gathers in the main room. A good icebreaker is to invite people to say, or type into the chat, where they are based geographically (eg nearest town) and how they heard about the event.
At the start of your Menopause Cafe , the facilitator explains:
- What a Menopause Café is and our principles, we will send you a slide of
the principles in the Welcome Pack which you can share onscreen in an
- Whether you're asking for donations and, if so, what these are for
- Suggestions eg ‘ use “I” not “you” , for example “I find HRT helps me” not “you should take HRT”
- Thank the venue for hosting, and ask people to buy plenty of tea and cake to support the venue.
- In person: encourage people to move tables regularly. Let them know you’ll ring a bell as a reminder to change tables, if they wish to do so.
Online: explain you will split people into breakout rooms and say how long these will last, show how mute/unmute, raise hand and reactions work.
- If you are going to take photos, say what they will be used for and ask if anyone wants to be kept out of photos. We’d love some more photos for our website and social media, and you can use them to publicise future events.
- Suggest each group starts with everyone going round saying why they’ve come, and that it’s OK to say “I’d just like to listen”, and see where the
conversation goes from there.
- When we have male participants in person, I usually talk to them when they arrive and suggest they stay put when the bell rings, so that female participants can choose whether to sit at a mixed-gender table or not.
- The host stays in the main room with a few participants, so that any latecomers can join that group, whilst the others are in breakout rooms
- Close the breakout rooms after 20 mins or so, have a whole-group session for 10 mins or so, inviting people to share what they’ve learned, then split into different breakout rooms for another 20 mins or so, and repeat.
- Someone stay by the door to greet latecomers and to accompany them to a table, since it can be daunting to walk in on your own.
- We find useful to ring a bell every 20 mins or so and encourage people to get up and move tables, if they wish to do so. It helps if the facilitators set a good example here!
You may like to gather people together and invite them to say what they have appreciated about the event: something they’ve learnt or realised or enjoyed.
Thank everybody for attending and ask them to evaluate the session. There is an example feedback form in your Welcome Pack. Or you can ask folk to complete the online Participants Feedback form, but then you don’t get to see it, since it is sent straight to us.
You may want to ask people for their email addresses, so that you can send them details of future events.
It's good to stay around after the session has ended to talk to anyone who wants to. It's also good to debrief with the other hosts and facilitators: what went well, what was challenging, what would you do differently next time?
Please complete the online Facilitation Form after each event with a brief account of how it went and stats on attendance and any feedback comments. This keeps our records up to date for journalists or funders. If you hold many events, you could send us your stats every 6 months.
- The objective of Menopause Cafe is to start conversations about menopause. Publicising your Menopause Cafe is a great way to do this, since people who hear about it often talk about menopause, even if they don’t attend in person. They may join our conversations on social media or talk with their friends.
- Please name your event “Menopause Cafe” + Place + Country eg “Menopause Café, Dundee, Scotland” this avoids confusion, and helps website viewers to find cafes near them.
- There are many ways to publicise your Menopause Cafe :
- Create an online booking site (eg using EventBrite, MeetUp or TicketTailor) where folk can book their free place. This lets you know roughly how many people to expect and makes it easy to share details.
- Send a press release to your local media. We include a template press release for your first café in your Welcome Pack. Send to local newspapers, radio and TV stations and to any networking associations and groups which you are a member of.
- Put up posters at the venue, in local cafes, supermarkets and community noticeboards. We include a template poster in your Welcome Pack for you to adapt.
- Post on social media, please use #MenopauseCafe and tag the Menopause Cafe Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts on @Menopause_Cafe and www.facebook.com/meno17 .
- Ask the venue to share details of your event on their social media channels and website. Tag them in any advance publicity on social media.
- Tell your friends and colleagues!
- When creating your online booking site and when talking with the media please state our principles and give a link to www.menopausecafe.net.
- If the press ask to attend the event, bear in mind that the subject is potentially very sensitive, and some participants may not be comfortable talking with a journalist. Encourage the journalist to participate, not just observe. Let participants know which table or breakout room the journalist will be in, so they can choose whether to join them or not, and whether to be quoted anonymously or not.
- Make Menopause Cafe sustainable and accessible by minimising costs. Cafes often won’t charge you, provided participants spend enough on refreshments. Supermarkets sometimes have community rooms.
- However, you may sometimes incur costs, in which case you could ask for donations, making it clear what these will be used for, so people can see it accords with our not-for-profit principle.
- You may apply for grants to fund your event or organisations may offer contributions towards your event eg
- Money for expenses or publicity
- Provision of a room, or refreshments
We usually thank the organisation or grant-body in our introduction or summing up during the café. If you are given a sum of money, please contact us and we can discuss whether you might set up a separate bank account and send us accounts, or we can accept the money into the Menopause Café charity bank account, ring-fence it for you in Reserved Funds, and reimburse you for expenses on submission of receipts.
- Don’t accept contributions from private sector organisations in the menopause products or services sector, since this would compromise our
neutral stance on menopause treatments.
- If you collect more money than needed to cover your costs, please donate the excess to the Menopause Cafe charity (SC048435). You can donate here: https://www.givey.com/menopausecafeperth.
Some participants inadvertently dominate the conversation, and need guidance to allow others to peak. Others forget the principles of respecting different views and listening for understanding, not agreement. Others start promoting products. Gently put firmly remind them of the principles.
Some useful phrases for involving quieter participants are:
- Would anyone like to offer another point of view?
- I’m wondering if you have any thoughts or feelings about what you’ve been hearing?
- I can hear your enthusiasm/passion on this point, I wonder what other people think?
- Tell me more about…
- This is what I heard you say…., is that what you meant?
- Would those of you who haven’t spoken yet (said much yet), like to share your thoughts?
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