Thursday, February 6, 2020

News: Rotherham hotel helping to combat loneliness


Rotherham's Carlton Park Hotel is backing a new campaign to combat loneliness and help to guide people through tough times after teaming up with social change movement Camerados to create the town's first public living room, designed to offer a safe environment to share worries or concerns without judgement.

The new public living room forms part of the international Camerados project, a global movement of people who believe that many societal issues can be resolved by bringing people together and making connections and was inspired by temporary tepee installed at Rotherham Hospital last summer, which caught the imagination of sales manager, Jason Gossop.

During a trip to hospital with his young son, Jason noticed the colourful tepee sitting in the hospital atrium and inspired by the project, decided to contact Camerados to ensure that a permanent home in the town could be found.

Carlton Park's public living room opens during the first Monday of each month where guests can help themselves to complimentary tea, coffee, biscuits, cakes and of course, meet others.

The name camerado was first coined by American poet Walt Whitman in his 1856 poem Song of the Open Road, describing a camerado as being someone beside you to share the journey: halfway between a friend and a stranger who looks out for you and vice-versa, without judgement.

Camerados Public Living Rooms have been very successful across a number of locations.The Rotherham tepee attracted nearly 20,000 visits during its temporary stay with the Rotherham Foundation Trust and by providing a regular meeting place, Carlton Park hopes to build on the programme, continuing to provide a safe, relaxed, and friendly, environment, where a problem shared is a problem halved.


Jason Gossop, sales manager at The Carlton Park Hotel, said: "Last summer I needed to take my young son to hospital. It's something which can be quite a frightening experience, but I was instantly struck by how the tepee instantly became a talking point which strangers mused about.

"Loneliness can effect anyone at any time during their lives. It seems that as we become more connected digitally, the more isolated many of us can feel. This can often have a knock-on effect into other areas of our lives such as mental health and even physical illnesses.

"Following the success of the tepee project at Rotherham Hospital I was keen to ensure that the town didn’t lose this valued resource. Our work with Camerados and Rotherham Hospital has enabled Carlton Park to continue this work, with regular monthly drop-in sessions being hosted each month."

Gemma Hayden, team leader at the Rotherham Foundation Trust, added: "Our temporary installation proved to be an instant hit, attracting more than 20,000 visitors and countless conversations. We're delighted that what started as a one-off temporary project has secured a new home, ensuring people living and working in Rotherham have a safe, friendly environment where people can come together to meet, talk and support others.

"Camerados is a global project and it’s fantastic for our town to be able to continue benefitting from this fantastic resource which has enabled strangers to become acquaintances, acquaintances to become friends and everyone involved in the sessions to meet others."

Carlton Park website

Images: Carlton Park


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