Things might be very far from normal at the moment, but the Back to Ours team are determined to keep connecting with people right in the comfort of their own homes.
The Living Room – their National Lottery Community Fund-funded Bransholme Chat Shop – has moved to a telephone service to support the most isolated people in Hull neighbourhoods, with staff currently contacting people to offer advice and support.
Louise Yates, Back to Ours Director, says: “It was really important for us to respond quickly. Our first priority was The Living Room. Being a Chat Shop, it’s a place where people spend time and talk, so we wanted to still offer that service in a safe and supportive way.
“The second thought was, of course, giving people some entertainment in their own homes, so we’ve moved our events online and programmed some new ones to raise a few smiles and keep people singing and dancing round the house.”
Launching Right on your Sofa last week in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Back to Ours team have moved their programme digitally to lift sprits. For them, it’s all about providing some light relief while people are locked down and isolated, as well as reinforcing the message of staying home to save lives.
The programme started last Thursday with a live DJ battle, as well as regular Monday evening bedtime stories. They’ve also hosted The Gold Man and one of their – now-iconic – Secret Gigs virtually, and have recently announced Hull’s own Yasmin Coe will be performing on Saturday evening.
Lou continues: “As part of Goodwin Development Trust, we’re proud to be part of a cohesive effort to provide support across the city. Our thanks to them and to our funders – Arts Council England, The National Lottery Community Fund and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation – for making us feel so supported.
“We’ll always be about people, and we’ll do whatever we can to connect, entertain, and spread a bit of sparkle.”
There’s a lot more to come from Right on your Sofa, so watch this space and check the Back to Ours Facebook page @BacktooursHull for all the latest news.
If you or anyone you know would benefit from phone calls from The Living Room, please contact their Facebook page at @TheLivingRoomBTO.
[Chrissie Lewis – Back to Ours]