Chat and Chomp: The Finale

Chat and Chomp: The Finale

A few years back, Phil Hewitson of Carlisle Speakeasy and Caldew Press, roped me into a community project based in Upperby, Carlisle, just around the corner from where I live. The idea was to create a space where people could meet up, have a craic – and do that over a meal. With the support of ST Margaret mary’s Community Centre and an array of councillors from Carlisle City Council as it was then, Chat and Chomp born.

Phil’s connection was filming the project for Tony Brown the community organiser who kept the organisation running and did the donkey work of applying for the necessary grants, reporting and MC-ing the Monday lunchtime sessions. The results of those filming projects can be seen here, in the Chat & Chomp: Currock and Upperby Films playlist belonging to film cumbria.

The funding for this came from a Healthy Communities initiative aimed at improving social cohesion and reducing the grim effects of loneliness, which blights so many lives now. Tony brought a whole host of other colourful characters to bear in the course of the 4 years through which the events ran. Tony the artist brought his ideas of art for everybody and story telling to the sessions. Visiting singers and musicians were also roped in at various times.

For many of the older and less fit members of this group, Tony and the committee also organised trips out to various places around Carlisle. It was all very low key and a good many friendships were created.

As with so many community oriented groups, the issue is funding. This year those funds dried up and despite some pretty heroic efforts, even Tony B couldn’t track down a source of funding to keep things going.

With the last bit of cash in the bank account, an event was held in St Margaret Mary’s Community Centre on February 21st 2024 to celebrate the end of this little era. here are a few photos and videos of that event.

As part of the celebration there was food laid on by the community centre and music from Ukes Akimbo.

A quick rendition of Sweet Caroline even had Phil gyrating 😉

When was the last time you heard National Express from the Divine Comedy?