Back to Ours is and always has been about people, and what do people like doing best? Having a good old natter!
Enter The Living Room; at the heart of the project is bringing people together and helping to build new friendships at a time when social isolation is at its highest. It’s a place where anyone and everyone can come and talk about what’s happening in their community or lives, encouraging chat and discussions between local people.
Back to Ours Engagement Manager Tony Forrester says:
“The news that the National Lottery Community Fund has agreed to fund The Living Room is wonderful for the local people.
“Back to Ours and the North Point Shopping Centre Management have been working with some of the local residents to create a space that they can simply drop in, chat and maybe try something new – now we have the support from the lotteries we can now start to work with the community to give them something unique and new.
“We want to encourage lots of chat and try to create some events based on some of those conversations, and we hope the space will keep changing its look and direction as we move further down the line.
“We’ve got a very exciting three years ahead of us; everyone’s welcome to drop in and have a cuppa and a slice of chat!”
The space is multi-functional, with the front room open for drop-in chat and the back room used for exhibitions, workshops, and even theatre shows – Back to Ours’ in-house children’s show High Horse premiered at The Living Room for a week during May half-term, before moving onto The Big Malarkey and Freedom Festival next month.
Steering Group member Marilyn Milner adds:
“I’ve been waiting for the decision for weeks and I’ve been on tender hooks. Back to Ours has been supporting the idea for the last three months, but now we have Lottery support we can start planning and looking forward to the next three years.
Back to Ours is one of 21 Arts Council-funded People and Places Projects across the UK, working with communities across Hull to bring world-class arts experiences to people’s doorsteps.
They’ve produced eight half-term festivals over the past three years, transforming schools, community centres, churches and shopping centres into Big Tops, theatre stages, gig spaces and comedy clubs. They also support other events and artists in the city, and have Hubs that people can join to gain more insight into programming work and developing ideas.
“We now have a place to meet and try new things, and we want to encourage all our friends and neighbours to come and get involved in The Living Room.”
The Living Room will be closed in August for staff holidays, but will re-open in September; everyone’s welcome to pop in, chat, share ideas and skills, or just come and take the weight off their feet with a brew.
For more information, follow the BTO team on Facebook, twitter and Instagram @btohull, or visit their website at backtoours.co.uk
[Christina Lewis – Back To Ours]