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/ 11 May 2017

Camden church hosts London’s first public living room

Public living room at St Michael's Camden Town

A Camden church is playing host to London’s first Public Living Room, as part of a new initiative to bring together people from diverse backgrounds for mutual support and friendship.

St Michael’s Church in Camden is working in partnership with the community interest company Camerados to transform its garden into a Public Living Room that will provide a place where people, whatever their background or circumstance, can come together for mutual support, counsel and friendship.

Founded eighteen months ago, the Association of Camerados has already established Public Living Rooms in Blackpool, Sheffield, and Oxford, and works to change the lives of those in need by empowering them to help one another, whether they are homeless, bereaved, unemployed, or simply lonely.

There are currently plans to establish Public Living Rooms overseas in Brooklyn, Baltimore and South Maryland, and St Michael’s Church represents a new attempt to bring the movement to London, and will be run from the church for the next three weeks. Afterwards, Camerados hope that the community will take ownership of the Public Living Room, with the Camerados team providing mentoring and advice to ensure that it proves a success.

Fr Tom Plant, Vicar at St Michael’s Church, said:

“We are really pleased to be hosting London’s first Public Living Room. St Michael’s is place of sanctuary and healing for the isolation and mental stresses of life in the capital, and our mission as a church has always been to help make a family out of strangers.”

Maff Potts, founder of Camerados, said:

“We are extremely grateful for all of Fr Tom’s help in setting up our new living room. Camerados works on the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous, helping those in need by providing a place of mutual support. Feeling empowered and valued is essential to our mental health, and sometimes sharing a cup of tea, and speaking with someone who has also struggled can help lift a person from their darkest moments.”

The Public Living Room will run from St Michael’s Church from 8 to 28 May, and be open Monday to Fridays from 11:00am to 4:00pm.

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