Bransholme Chat in North Point Shopping Centre, Bransholme, has been awarded funding for three more years by the National Lottery Community Fund.
Run by Hull-based arts organisation Back to Ours, the Chat Shop’s all about reducing isolation and making connections across the Bransholme community by encouraging people to get together for different activities, events, and that all-important chat.
The news comes after a three-year funded period with the shop hosting events and exhibitions focussing on bringing people together, including We Are Bransholme, an exhibition by documentary photographer Jason Shipley, the Back to Ours family show High Horse, the world premiere of the first Hologram Jukebox by artists Davy & Kristin McGuire, Guest Chatters including the National Caribbean Heritage Museum and artist Dom Heffer, a Pride party by Same Circle Theatre Company, and even its own online Chat Show.
Even lockdown couldn’t stop the chat, with the shop swiftly adapting to the challenge of the pandemic by launching a dedicated phone service where staff and volunteers called vulnerable people for a chat.
Alongside bespoke newsletters, over 250 phone calls – an incredible 15707 minutes of chatting – have proved to be an invaluable support network for many isolated Hull people across lockdowns to present day.
Speaking about the funding and how invaluable the shop is within the Bransholme community, Sheila Cooper – who started as a service user and is now a Steering Group member of Bransholme Chat as well as a Back to Ours Hub member – says: “It’s hard for me to describe just how important Bransholme Chat has been for me. When I first moved here from North Hull, I didn’t really know anyone, so to be able to speak to the team here was amazing.
“Bransholme Chat is a lifeline for me. It helps me interact with others in a way I never would otherwise, so three years of funding is incredibly valuable.”
Engagement Coordinator Jen Halliwell says: “Bransholme Chat has literally been a lifeline for locals. A simple chat and some company can mean a lot!
“I’m so pleased we can continue our work, because I know it makes a difference to people’s lives.”
Louise Smith, North Point Shopping Centre Manager says: “At North Point, our aim is to serve the needs of the community by providing variety and value, and this goes beyond our retailers.
“The services provided by Back to Ours mean so much to the local community, and we’re so pleased that such a unique and passionate organisation will continue to thrive in our centre.”