Knaresborough Connectors aim to bring community together in ‘living rooms’
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Last updated Oct 21, 2022
Community living rooms will be set up at Chain Lane Community Centre and Knaresborough Library
Community living rooms will be set up at Chain Lane Community Centre and Knaresborough Library

A community organisation in Knaresborough is hoping to bring people together for mutual support through the cost of living crisis.

Knaresborough Connectors is establishing a number of “public living rooms” – a home from home offering a comfortable, warm space to be.

Rather than inviting the elderly or vulnerable to sit in them, though, the group is keen to ensure the whole community comes together through the rooms for everyone’s benefit.

Director Nick Garrett said:

“We aren’t going for the idea of welcoming in poor people from the cold. All the evidence says if you target towards frail, elderly people, they don’t come. This is for anyone and everyone.

“The rooms will be like someone’s living room at home: warm and comfy and with nice furnishings.

“[Knaresborough councillor] Hannah Gostlow’s background is in interior design. She’s designing some really cool-looking living rooms for us.”

The first community living room will be in Knaresborough Library‘s chill-out zone, which is currently being designed and transformed by volunteers.

A further two will follow at Chain Lane Community Hub and Gracious Street Methodist Church. There will also be a co-working space at 8 York Place.

The aim is for people to use them as a social space. They might go there to knit, to have a cup of tea or watch TV, or to play board games or read books. While there, they might meet others who want to learn to knit or play a game, or who might simply want someone to talk to.


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Mr Garrett said the community living rooms would run alongside support from Resurrected Bites, which runs a community grocery and a pay-as-you-feel cafe in the town.

Knaresborough Connectors is also using social prescribing, encouraging people and businesses in the community to refer others to its team to access what they need.

He said:

“There was a hairdresser in Knaresborough who was cutting a customer’s hair and he told her he was on the brink of homelessness. She contacted us through someone else and he’s now been rehoused.

“There will be lots of people like that coming out of the woodwork because they can’t afford things. There’s also lots of support and advice from Knaresborough Connectors.”

The group is now urging everyone in the town to get involved in one of three ways: engaging with people simply by saying hello, using talents and gifts to help others, and sharing what they can, such as donating to local charity shops and community organisations.

Mr Garrett said research showed reducing social isolation also helped to relieve pressure on the NHS as people were less likely to visit the GP or be admitted to hospital if they were well supported in the community.

By engaging people who are struggling to be part of the network of support, Mr Garrett said everyone could make a difference for each other.

For more details, visit the Warm and Welcome page of the Knaresborough Connectors website.

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