Surbiton’s The Community Brain creates online ‘Grand Hall’ for socialising during lockdown

By Jake Harrison
March 31 2020, 08:20

The Community Brain, a non-profit organisation in Surbiton has created an online space to help people through difficult periods of loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The team behind the creative concept, which was conceived on video communications software, Zoom, has called their virtual experience ‘Grand Hall’.

It is a virtual room for members of the public to visit, at any time, to allow them to stay active and social and keep themselves occupied while in quarantine. 

Robin Hutchinson MBE, 62, director of The Community Brain, said: “The Community Brain is based on the concept that everybody’s brilliant if they’ve been given the help and support.

“What’s obviously happened through COVID-19 is people are losing what I call ‘bump’ spaces, those chances just to bump into people and have a chat.”

The small team, which has been going strong for the past ten years, has also set-up regular events for the locals in the past, such as a Ski Sunday event and also a food festival. 

The idea is free-for-all, easy to use, and is available to anybody throughout the country looking to sign up and get involved.

Mr Hutchinson said: “What we’re about is creating creating playgrounds for adults and make those space in which adults can remind themselves that they do have ideas and they do have energy and they do have talent.

“The Grand Hall concept is the idea of a virtual online space that you can go at any point during the day.” 

Sharon Sumner, Green Party councillor for Kingston and Surbiton has experienced the idea for herself and said: “The Grand Rooms initiative is a fantastic idea and any concept which allows our community to socialise during the lock-down is a huge benefit to everyone’s mental health. 

“Especially for our children whom are finding social distancing especially difficult.”

Cllr Sumner also said that The Green Party has added The Grand Rooms to its directory of local companies offering online and delivery services during the lock-down.

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