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Pop-up living room proves a huge hit in Rochdale

21 February 2020 · Categories: Communities Care

New year, new ideas! Our Community Catalyst, Karen Williams, has been busy turning the idea of a pop-up community living room into reality in Rochdale. It’s part of her ongoing work within the area to support local people set up small enterprises which help those who need care or support to live their life their way. These enterprises vary from community initiatives and groups to support in the home.

“The Langley Living Room was born out of the Ideas Shop project which was facilitated by Action Together. I attended three collaborator sessions in October 2019 where, in small groups, we had to come up with an idea to create a space where systems and people meet and take action. The world was our oyster as to what that might look like!

Our group decided that we wanted our idea to be an inclusive, welcoming space for people to meet new people, take part in an activity or just come and chat to friends over a brew.

I knew about Camerados and their Public Living Room (PLR) idea and shared this with the rest of the group. There was an agreement that with limited time, money and resources it would be useful to use a tried and tested idea and put our own spin on it. The Camerados PLR fitted our ideas perfectly and so the idea to hold a pop-up living room in Langley, Rochdale, was born.

First things first, we contacted the wonderful Camerados and they promptly sent us a Living Room box with lots of items in it for us to use, such as fairy lights, cushion covers, cups and bunting.

We then approached Burnside Community Centre to host our living room as it’s in a great location within a housing estate which is well used by various age groups in the local community. Kerry, the Community Centre’s Manager, kindly allowed us to use their reception area to create our living room.

Our next stop was Emmaus charity shop where we got a sofa and other items to make the living room homely and inviting. We also worked with the local secondary school, St Anne’s Academy, who kindly created a cushion, bunting and a selection of fantastic art work for the living room.

The Langley Living Room took place 13th – 17th January and was a huge hit with various groups. From local people using it as a workspace to empowering women’s groups and the local church using it for weekly meetings, it was a hive of activity and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

“Visited today – so productive and relaxing getting out of the office and having a chat on the sofa for the morning”

“It was a pleasure to drop by, have a brew, and catch up with some lovely people. Some old faces, some new. A thoroughly relaxing half hour away from our repurposing and joinery workshop”

“A great opportunity to catch up and have some time for ourselves before school pick up”

I also used the space as a base for the day and met up with the lovely entrepreneurs and community activists I support to offer care to people in their local community. We were able to sit and catch up in a comfortable space over a brew and biscuits.

The feedback was fantastic and it was such a success that it moved to a new home the following week at Bowlee Pavilion for a series of events they were holding as part of the Ideas Workshop.

The pop-up living room is a fantastic way to get people engaging with each other, considering if community enterprise might be for them and linking with me and the Community Catalysts’ project. It’s so fantastic that I am making plans to have a more permanent Public Living Room in the borough… watch this space!

This is one of many ideas we have at Community Catalysts that support people who want to set up their own ventures, helping others in their local community. I’d love to hear from anyone who has a great idea. If this is you then get in contact to find out how you can join our development programme and get support to turn your own idea into a reality.”

Karen Williams, Community Enterprise Catalyst (Rochdale Borough)

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