Worthing’s first ‘public living room’ is open for business as Worthing Borough Council has turned one of its seafront beach huts into a space you can call home for a few hours.
Every Friday lunchtime for the next month, Beach Hut 72, located between Heene Road and Grand Avenue, will be set up as a welcoming public space where people can gather – to socialise or simply relax in company – for free.
Kitted out with home comforts such as games, magazines and drawing materials for children, as well as a bit of ambient chilled summer music, the public living room is a place where anyone can come, on good days and bad, to be around people, make connections and enjoy being out of the house.
As one of the first places in the UK to join the public living room trial, council staff will open the hut every Friday between 11am and 3pm until June 8.
There is also an open invite for individuals and community groups to help keep the area open at other times of the day. All you need to be able to do is greet any visitors and welcome them in, with groups encouraged to decorate the living room in whatever welcoming style they want.
Councillor Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The idea is to create a public space that people are able to come together in and make connections with other members of their community. It’s a ‘third space’ that is not about accessing services, but also not about sitting alone in a cafe trying to strike up a conversation.”
The movement Camerados invited Worthing to join the public living room trial which is also underway in other places in the UK and around the world including Belfast, Glasgow, Baltimore, Malmo and Melbourne.
After signing up to the scheme, staff at Worthing Borough Council’s wellbeing team were sent a mystery box, within which contained everything that was needed to create a welcoming free space for all.
After June 8th, the council will be passing on their experience and the living room ‘props’ to Worthing Churches Homeless Project who will open their own public living room in St Clare’s Community Hub.
If you are interested in getting involved in opening the public living room on the seafront, contact Sophie Whitehouse in Adur and Worthing Councils’ Early Help and Wellbeing Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org