Places to talk

Places to talk logo

About Places to Talk

The Places to Talk project is helping to bring people together to talk about their experiences of living through the Covid-19 pandemic and to share their hopes for the future. We want to help people across Cumbria to come together and have a "place to talk". Read about how to get involved in the Places to Talk leaflet (PDF 4MB).

The videos

We've made a short 20-minute video and some clips that tell different people from Cumbria's stories about the pandemic. You can play the video(s) which can be found to the right of this page. You can turn on text captions for the videos by clicking on the settings. If you have internet connectivity issues and would like a DVD or USB pen drive to use with your group, please contact Dani at or telephone 01768 425666.

All the videos will have text captions included.

Background to the videos

All the Places to Talk videos were shot in 2022. The videos show people from Cumbria talking about their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic was a difficult time for everyone. If this film raises any issues, you could talk to a friend or family member about your feelings. If you need different support these help organisations would be good places to try Sources of support (PDF 183KB)

If you're part of a club or a group in Cumbria and you think that your group might be interested in sharing and listening to each other's stories of the pandemic, then this project is for you. 

You might be a member of youth club, sports group, or a social club like a knit and natter project, or a Book Club. Or you might be a café that has a weekly pensioners' lunch, or a business that would like to bring your employees together to talk.

We've made a short 20-minute video and some clips that tell different people from Cumbria's stories about the pandemic. 

If you need a bit of financial help to hold your session to do things like to cover room hire for your group, or for tea and cake then we can help with that too.

After the session we will ask you to give us some feedback to let us know how things went.

We want you to hold your session during 2022.

If you need some financial help to run a session you can apply for a financial award using this application form:

Application form

If you have any problems filling out the form contact Dani at ACTion with Communities in Cumbria by email or phone 01768 425666.

An option that you could take is to suggest people from your group watch the videos at home, with friends and family. You then you run a discussion at your next group session. This will work if you do not have the technology to show the film. We can still offer you support to run the discussion this way too.

It's great that you will be running a Places to Talk session; thanks so much for being involved. We've put together a list of tips below that can help you when you run your session.

Remember that listening to people's stories doesn't require any special skills. It's just about listening and giving everyone the opportunity to speak (if they want to).

People usually respond best to things when they feel comfortable, safe and amongst friends. 

If you're meeting inside making sure that the room is at the right temperature and is well ventilated. If your group works best when you go for a walk or meet outside then you might want to keep to your usual routine. If you are meeting inside make sure there are enough chairs for everyone; that the group know where the toilets are; and remember to make a fire safety announcement at the start of your session. 

Think about how you sit together. Depending on how many people are coming to the session, all sitting in a big group might be a bit overwhelming for some people. If you have the space and furniture, they might prefer to sit in smaller groups around tables, or to sit in small rows or circles.

Groups are of different sizes and work in different ways. Some groups might be noisy and lively, and others might be smaller and quieter. The same thing applies to the people in your group.

If you're a big group, you might want to split down into smaller groups to watch the film - this would help people who are quieter to engage and chat. Some people also don't feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with a roomful of people so smaller groups may be best.  You know your group, so choose what you know works for you.

It's a good idea to test any technology that you are using before the session starts. 

If you're using the internet to stream the film, make sure you can access and play the film online. It can be a good idea to check that you've got the Wi-Fi password, that you have the right leads and power cables and that your laptop or DVD player works. If you're playing the film on a DVD player, you might want to try the DVD before the session starts.

If talking is not your group's thing then you could maybe think of other ways of sharing the experience of living though the pandemic.  Could your group draw, paint or use another way of expressing themselves?  All ways of expressing people's stories, thoughts, feelings and emotions are valid.

A lot of walking groups have discussions, as they walk and this can be another way to put people at ease and have valuable chats about the issues raised in the videos.

You can make your group feel at home by providing refreshments for the session - your group might love tea and cake, or you might have a regular pizza or a curry night. 

It's possible to get some financial support from the Places to Talk project to provide some food for the session. To find out more about this, contact Dani at or telephone 01768 425666.

You'll need to find a time when people aren't busy getting on with other things. This session will work best if it's the focus of your meeting and if people have time and space to talk and listen. 

Remember to give people enough notice before the session takes place - whether that's if it's going to be a one-off meeting or is part of a routine group meeting.

As they are talking together, your group may raise particular issues, problems or concerns.  Try to make sure that these are captured in some way - for example, people could put them on a post it note and these could be shared at the end of the session.  

Of course, your group may also come up with some great ideas for the future!  Don't lose those - you may want to discuss them at another meeting or raise them with someone else.  

Remember to agree any next steps with the group before you finish the session.

ACTion with communities in Cumbria can help you follow up with a Neighbourliness project, if that's something participants in the group could be interested in. Look at the ACT website for some information, or contact ACT directly.

Useful contacts

General information

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is our delivery partner for this project and you can contact Dani at ACT on or telephone 01768 425666. ACT is the rural and community development charity for Cumbria. ACT champion community and rural issues, and support communities to: Plan for the future; Develop projects; Work with others; and Influence and change policy. You can find out more here: