The Common Room - an initiative started in Huddersfield and now global, created to help people deal with the challenges of isolation.

The Common Room. It’s a place where friends and family can come to be entertained, informed and educated with bite sized posts related to coronavirus and hopefully avoid feeling isolated.

There are already over 1,600 members since its launch on 27th March and are planning nights in (of course!) at the theatre watching the live stream from The National Theatre in our Zoom Room through to dance classes from world champion Michal Litke; boxing classes; drumming tutorials; drawing classes from cartoonists, artists and hopefully James Sommerville, head of design at Coca Cola and our school mate ...chefs, musicians, magicians etc

The purpose of the site is to support each other during this prolonged period of isolation and reach has already gone from the founders school friends (hence The Common Room from All Saints School ) to other schools and colleges across KIrklees and now to all ends of the globe as they are reconnected to expats who we’ve not heard from in over 30 years.

“Whilst many of us are coping well with the social distancing and self-isolation, it is still early days and we might have several weeks to go. By setting up the group now, and building on existing and, in some cases, lapsed friendships, we are building a safe haven for people to enjoy. There’s already some wonderful acts of good will being shared amongst the group. Personally, I’m loving the coming together of All Saints and Deighton ... traditionally we were arch enemies but now we find ourselves in this together”, said Nadio Granata co-founder.

“On hearing about the lockdown and living in London, I mentioned an idea to my good friend Nadio (and marketing guru!) about wanting more engagement with all of our family and friends who still live in Huddersfield. By doing something that would give us the opportunity to interact with each other, something positive to help each other through these difficult times - initially the idea was to have Nadio give us Italian lessons and so the seed was sown. Nadio scaled the concept up bringing in John Woods and Ade Sherlock and the rest is as they say, history. Ironically enough we're still waiting for our Italian classes!” added Steve Caton, co-founder.

And finally, Facebook allows groups to offer ‘mentoring’ so we have lined up mental healthcare workers to respond to anyone who reaches out for support.

“Initially, we grew the group through our own personal contacts but now it’s gone way beyond that. We monitor all the posts which go on there, avoiding anything overtly political for example, and we definitely do not want to just repeat the news bulletins ... our members have already told us that they don’t want that. There’s some really fun stuff in there and now we’ve got more people helping us with original content, it just gets better and better”, said John Woods, co-founder.

“I left Huddersfield when I went to university and have not lived there since. But I still have most of my family there and still take a pride in all that is great about the place. Through my friendship with Nadio and his connections, I’ve recently joined the Southern Terriers which has enabled me to rediscover my love of Huddersfield Town and many of these Town fans are now in The Common Room. It’s brilliant to see us all coming together, all supporting the NHS and other key workers many of which are also in the group and we cannot thank them enough for all they are doing”, added Adrian Sherlock, co-founder.

“Your support could help us grow exponentially thereby supporting more and more of us during these unprecedented times. We are looking for more people to keep providing more original content ... poets, plumbers, potters ... you get the idea! Come on in, The Common Room is always open!” concluded Nadio.

Nadio Granata
Stephen Caton
John Woods
Adrian Sherlock

Link to the group: