‘Breather Bubbles’ to be installed in Cardiff for people needing a break from the Christmas shopping chaos
Two new ‘Breather Bubbles’ launch in Cardiff this month – for those people needing a moment of calm amidst the Christmas chaos.
A new survey conducted by FOR Cardiff revealed that 41 per cent of people feel anxious at the thought of crowds of Christmas shoppers, while 52 per cent said they would benefit from having somewhere to relax and reflect while visiting a city centre over the festive period.
To help provide a safe haven for those who need it, two unique ‘Breather Bubbles’ will open on weekends in John Lewis and the Morgan Quarter between the 4th and 19th of December.
Designed by Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama alumni, Cadi Lane, the bubbles will resemble a home-from-home, with soft furnishings and plants to create a calming environment.
There will also be an opportunity to speak to a friendly face with volunteers from the Samaritans, while ‘Yurt in the City’ – a wellbeing centre in Cardiff – will be on hand to give free holistic therapies to visitors.
Director of Outreach for Cardiff & District Samaritans, Kat Jones, said: “Christmas can be an overwhelming time for many, with financial and personal pressures.
“Many people may have lost loved ones during the pandemic and given this is our first Christmas without the Covid-19 restrictions of 2020, people may find it difficult to engage with holiday traditions.
“The ‘Breather Bubble’ spaces offer people a moment away from the Christmas rush and provide them with the chance to reflect and think about all they’ve been through over the last 18 months.
“Although the bubbles are only open at certain times, the Samaritans are always here to talk.
“We’re proud to be on hand to support the public at this time.”
The ‘Breather Bubble’ spaces are free and open from 10am-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays leading up until Christmas. Visitors will be able to help themselves to bottled water, provided by Princes Gate, and free masks and sanitiser will also be available to ensure safety for all.
Carolyn Brownell, Associate Director at FOR Cardiff said, “The ‘Breather Bubble’ spaces will act as a sanctuary for anyone in the city centre who feels overwhelmed, emotional, or worn-out by the return to Christmas as normal this year.”
“We understand that this is not an enjoyable time for everyone. Whilst we provide entertainment for those who love the bright lights, festivities and traditions of Christmas – we also want to support those who are struggling.”
The survey of 2,000 people also showed that over three-quarters of people missed spending time with friends and family over the festive period, more than any other Christmas tradition.
To help give families and friends the opportunity to come together safely and make new festive memories, FOR Cardiff has installed three light installations across the city.
The installations include an interactive light maze at St John’s Gardens, created by international designer Ben Busche of Brut Deluxe, a Christmas-themed light projection show on The Old Library building which runs every evening between 4pm – 9pm, and a 12-metre-high Christmas tree in Central Square which the public can walk underneath and witness the ever-changing display of colours.
One parent who experienced the installations with her two-year-old child was Sara Hibbert.
She said: “This is my son’s first proper experience of Christmas lights in the city, and to see him exploring the maze with a look of absolute wonder on his face was incredibly special.”
We loved watching the light projection onto the Old Library, too. We’re so glad we got to experience them and make wonderful Christmas memories as a family.”
All three installations will be open until January and are free to enjoy.
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Why don’t stores provide these spaces as the classier ones always did in days gone by? One fashion store in Cheltenham used to automatically brew me a coffee as I slumped into their armchair. The women’s fashion franchises in David Morgan and Howell’s used to have chairs for bedraggled partners.