Take a seat outdoors: pop-up living room comes to Hartlepool town centre

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A pop-up living room is coming to Hartlepool shortly as part of an international movement to bring people together.

The pop-up pavement “living room” is coming to Hartlepool’s York Road on Tuesday, March 14, from 1pm until 4pm, where there will be sofas and chairs set up for passers-by to sit down and chat.

The first ‘public living room’ was set up by a company called Camerados in Sheffield in 2016 and there are currently 163 active “public living rooms” across the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

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Maff Potts, founder of Camerados, said: "The Camerados movement is all about bringing people together and looking out for one another and aims to be a catalyst, enabling people to feel more connected and communities to be more unified during tough times.”

Maff Potts at one of his pop-up living room events.Maff Potts at one of his pop-up living room events.
Maff Potts at one of his pop-up living room events.

Public “living rooms” are agenda-free places where people do not have to worry about spending money and can be found in community spaces including community centres, disused shops, libraries and hospitals.

Mr Potts said: “They are spaces where people can connect with and support one another, and they provide a welcoming and pressure-free alternative to traditional services.”

After facing challenges with his mental health and homelessness, Mr Potts wanted to do something for others in similar situations.

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He said: “The cost-of-living crisis is causing a cost-of-connection crisis. Many people are cutting down on socialising to save money, and the stress of money worries is causing others to withdraw from friends.”

He added: “That’s why it’s so important to have spaces where people can connect with others without having to worry about spending money or anything being expected of them.”