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Chris’ Chats- Hillside in the Spotlight

May 8th, 2024

Watch online here or read the transcript:

CC- Hello, good afternoon, my names Chris and welcome to Chris’ Chats! And for todays guest we have got Hillside!
CC- So we’re going to go this way and I’m going to ask your names if that’s okay!
C- My name’s Chris
A- My name’s Alan, I’m the good-looking one!
J- My name’s Julie and he pushed in!
C- I’m the host, Chris!
E- I’m Emily
W- And I’m Wayne.
CC- So this room has changed and I don’t know why but I know someone who does! Alan, can you tell me why this room has changed?
A- Because the centre we’ve got is brilliant and we’ve got some special staff.
CC- Plus I understand you’ve had some decorators in as well haven’t you?
A- Correct!
CC- Yes!
J- Chris was wondering why it looks different in here today. What’s happening in here?
A- Because we had, it wasn’t like this before. There were like lines going down the walls.
J- It was getting a bit dirty wasn’t it?
A- Dirty, yes
CC- So you’ve got some decorators in to freshen it up?
A- Yes
CC- Perfect
A- Nice painters.
CC- So what does your standard day at Hillside look like?
J- I think the thing about Hillside is that we don’t really have a standard day. Every day’s different and you guys choose what you want to do. So, Chris, do you want to tell us what we do on a Monday?
C- Mondays we go bowling. Tuesdays we do with like playing the organs.
J- We’ve been very lucky to have someone from Vera Media, who are also in Hillside, and they come down and they’re teaching us some keyboard skills. And Tuesday we also have a theatre group here called The Ginger Cats, don’t know if you’ve ever heard of us?
CC- I have heard!
J- And we get people that come from Rothwell day services and sometimes Garforth and they join in the drama group.
E- So Wednesday is our fun day, we are at Bright Sparks all day! So do you want to say what Bright Sparks is, Chris?
C- Bright Sparks is like a drama group, where we go practise to do our drama, and when we’ve practised it we do a play of it. And Wednesday we did the play in the afternoon, we did really well and I was the landlord of the club!
J- The Paradise Club
C- The play was called The Paradise Club. That’s what the play was called.
J- And you was a reporter wasn’t you Wayne?
W- I was! For once I wasn’t a ‘dodgy geezer’!
J- Yes! Wayne does get typecast as a dodgy geezer quite a lot!
E- What else do you do at Bright Sparks Wayne, because you’ve really got your confidence up, so what do you do now that we thought you’d never do before?
W- Act!
E- Yeah, act, and-?
W- They’ve got me doing filming. SO when we have our dinner break and we make a film together, I film it on my phone to put on the Bright Sparks facebook page! // Thursdays there’s a group that goes out on the minibus, there we go out all over the place, all across Leeds. And othen we’ve got Julie who does the zoom on a Thursday morning. And sometimes there’s some of us that like to stay behind and do that. And then Thursday afternoon we go to an exercise class up at Beeston Community Centre with Julie Gill.
J- And then that brings us to the last day of the week, which is Friday. Which is, I think, one of our favourite days isn’t it? What do we do on a Friday, Alan? Do we go singing somewhere?
A- Oh yeah, singing! Off By Heart choir.
J- Off By Heart, yeah. And then the last thing of the week, once we’ve been singing, we go to Yorkshire Dance, so we go to the dance studios in Leeds and we have a big dance to end our Fridays. We love going there and having a dance with them.
CC- Cool!
C- It’s really good cause we’ve got two people that do the dancing with us.
CC- Right, and who are?
C- Mattie and Charlotte!
CC- Right, well I am very familiar with those girls because they come to Kirkstall Leisure!
E- They do, yeah!
CC- We do a bit of dance there
C- That’s good
J- They’re lovely aren’t they?
CC- Very nice!
E- But of course if people don’t want to do a bit of dancing, they don’t feel like it, then we have got our My Tunes, which is the zoom that our Wayne runs isn’t it?
W- It is!
E- So what’s My Tunes Wayne, tell us about it.
W- So My Tunes is, you can log onto Zoom and it’s an hour long and you can send in requests and I can do you a playlist of your favourite artist, or if you’ve got like 10 songs, send a list of your 10 favourite songs and we’ll play your 10 favourite songs.
CC- So we’ve got Yorkshire Dance, you guys literally, obviously, work with Yorkshire Dance. Are there any other people you work with as well as Yorkshire Dance?
E- There is, yeah!
C- There is!
E- We work with Bright Sparks very closely. I mean they’re a fantastic inclusive theatre company and we really enjoy with Marc, John and Elaine.
J- It’s one of my favourite things of the week because as Emily said, it’s really inclusive but also they give people the chance to perform on professional stages. You know, like other actors get that chance, so I think it’s only fair that these guys get that chance too.
CC- I totally agree.
E- Um, and I think the partner we’ve been working with the longest has got to be YAMSEN. For me it’s been 17 years, for Julie it’s been longer than that.
J- About 50 I think!
CC- Oh right!
E- So yeah, YAMSEN’s the choir and the workshop and it’s run by Mavis and Joanna.
J- I think as you can see, we’ve got some Leeds United fans among us. And we’re quite lucky in that often get tickets to Leeds games.
E- So we try to get out if there’s events going on, don’t we? We’ve worked with the Party People Project
J- Yeah that’s a good one!
E- It’s a great club night, Chris!
CC- Is it?
E- Really good, yeah! And [Beautiful] Octopus Club at the [Leeds] Playhouse.
J- We’re members with the Leeds Playhouse, so if you become a Community Network member you get cheap tickets to go see the shows and we were lucky enough to all go see Oliver recently. So it’s work joining up with them if you can.
W- And we’ve recently started working with a group called Lippy People, who, again, are also based in Hillside. They basically run a course where if you’ve lost someone in your life you can make a little video telling the story of what it was like to lose someone, how you feel about it now. It’s a really good project to go on and me, Alan and Chris all did a video about people that we’ve lost in our lives.
J- And it sounds, when we first heard about the project it sounds like it’s going to be a very sad thing to be part of and talking about every week, but it wasn’t like that at all, it was really uplifting, wasn’t it? Like Wayne said, we’d recommend that to anyone now. It was really uplifting.
CC- So you’ve clearly done a lot of performances, from the past year can you tell me about your performances?
J- Yeah, Chris would you like to start with something we did in January [2023] that was quite a big event?
C- We did a show
E- It was the dance wasn’t it? Do you remember with the traffic?
C- Yeah yeah, we did a dance with like traffic and that we did.
E- So it was part of Leeds 202o, oh god, 2020! I mean Leeds 2023 the City of Culture so we performed at The Awakening, and there was over 10,000 people in the audience, it was very scary. Scary for everyone except Julie, who loved it! // Um, Alan, what else have we done this year? Any performances? You’ve done a couple of things haven’t you? You did the AGM,
J- We did a rather naughty piece at the AGM, we did a drama piece where support workers weren’t listening to customers and they were reading the papers and on their mobile phones and they wouldn’t take them anywhere, so we did a piece about that and how you should say if people don’t let you do things. Cause I think drama can be useful to be used like that.
CC- It can be!
J- It can be used in a role playing way, to get other peoples voices across, can’t it? So Ginger Cats, although we do some silly things, we do sometimes like to get a serious message across.
CC- So lots of these performances are amazing, so what have you learned from those performances?
C- I’ve learned, like my lines that I’ve been told to say.
J- So reading the script
C- Reading the script, I have!
E- And you’ve not had to rely on it when you’re on stage have you? You’ve been able to remember your lines without having someone telling you. It’s really good.
CC- Well that’s quite good, because-
C- Cause what I’m doing is I’m trying to remember it in my head.
CC- Well that’s quite good because I used to be an actor myself and learning a script it can be very domineering and what you’ve done is absolutely amazing, because I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve done that as well, so if I can do it so can you!
J- That’s nice!
CC- And I think you can go a long way on this.
E- What have you learned from performing?
A- Um, I’ve learned my script can be better in big letters and sometimes I can speak to Julie about the lyrics and that.
E- Yeah, so you’ve learned that we can make changes to scripts so you can read them and I think that you’ve learned it’s okay to ask, if you need help.
W- Um, what have I learned? I learned how to do lighting because last years Christmas show, I wasn’t involved in that- because they didn’t like me back then so I wasn’t involved in that one, so they had me do lighting for one of the shows. I do photography, I do filming, I now act aswell. They’ve got me doing all sorts!
CC- Wow!
E- I think Wayne, for you, the biggest thing is your confidence. You didn’t want to say a word when we first went to Bright Sparks and this latest show, like you’re up there you’re acting and you’re doing really well. Your confidence has really grown. I think it’s worked wonders!
CC- So Hillside have a lot of close friendships and we have here our newest member!
D- Hi, I’m Dominic and I like Hillside because on Thursdays I like going out in minibuses to different places.
CC- So can you tell me what kind of friends you are making?
C- I’m like Dominic’s friend! I am! That’s what I am. I’m Dominic’s friend.
CC- Awh, that’s very nice!
J- We’ve noticed a little bond forming today as we’ve been out to YAMSEN this morning and who did you ask to sit next to Dominic?
D- Chris!
CC- Oh how nice!
J- And I don’t know if you know Chris, but sitting beside you, you’ve got the winner of the Aspire Friendship Award here!
CC- I do! Congratulations Alan!
J- So he can tell you about his friendships.
CC- So Alan, can you tell me about your friendship please?
A- Yep, me and Dan, we won the friendship award. He’s from another country-
J- He came from Spain didn’t he?
A- Spain! Yep!
J- But you won the Friendship Award didn’t you?
A- Yep! We won the Friendship Award.
E- It was a nice bond. I think you’re all very , very close.
CC- So that is your favourite thing about Hillside?
C- My favourite thing, I’ve got friends who I can talk to.
J- Alan, what’s your favourite thing about Hillside?
A- Good staffing in here. Amazing! I love them to bits, always big hearts! Heart to heart. I’ll always love them so much.
J- Oh thank you Alan! How much is that? [laughs] Shall I tell you my favourite thing about Hillside?
CC- Please!
J- I like coming to work here, I think I’m very lucky to work here and I like the chance to give people a voice to be heard. So I think it’s really important that people just listen to what people want to do.
W- My favourite thing about Hillside? When we go home!
A- Boo!
W- No I’m joking! My favourite thing about Hillside is that 99.9% of the time we all get along. I think, like everyone said, we’re all pretty close.
E- There’s so much, these guys make it so I absolutely love my job and I’ve always said if I won the lottery, I’d still work at Hillside with these guys because I think we are a family! Seeing everyone’s bonds that they’ve made it’s been a very good 17 years so far!
CC- So, thank you very much Hillside for joining me! So tune in next time I have got a very special guest and I’m not gonna say who it is!