We were very lucky to receive funding from the EFDSS to promote Ceilidh Dancing in the community we took our music to Open Doors in Hull a very special place. Open Doors is a welcoming place and helps destitute asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers it is a safe and warm welcoming place for socialising: Over 60 to 70 people from more than 20 nationalities sit under one roof and benefit each other’s experiences and get to know each other. Open doors cook fresh food and serve nearly 50 to 60 clients weekly. Thursday morning from 10am to 3pm. Open Doors Hull (open-doors.org.uk)
The event took place on the 2nd of June the first day of the Queen’s Jubilee during the morning session of Open Doors 10-30am to 12pm. One of the clients Sergio was very interested in the mandolin and had ago on it for whilst we were setting up.
Live music was played as people arrived and people sat and listened whilst having their breakfast. The children were very curious at 11am the dancing started with our caller Amanda Lowe calling the dances and demonstrating / leading moves for the dancers, many of whom had never experienced a ceilidh before but who were keen and willing to participate in the dancing. Many of the youngsters and their parents engaged in the dancing throughout. When we finished playing at noon people left and the space was tidied.
Feedback From Open Doors
Cecil Jones the manager of Open Doors told me that this was the first live music that they had hosted at Open Doors in over two years and that in his view that the event had been a great success and was really appreciated by the Open Doors Community both clients and staff.. He said that although some of the people had only been watching that they had enjoyed the music and seeing the dancers. He suggested a return visit for the band later in the year.
Here is a video from the BBC which explains the work of the organisation and the situation of their clients.
Impact of Covid on venues
Covid made booking halls for public dancing in the period and after the pandemic very difficult with many places simply closing their doors to all booking enquiries or simply not re-opening. This made organising a Ceilidh in one of these spaces impossible. We tried to partner with a number of organisations and were fortunate to make use of an existing contact Quentin had with Open Doors just a short distance from the centre of Hull on Princes Avenue.