by Erin Cullinan
The Florrie is a gorgeous beacon of hope. My first visit it was like walking into an old friend’s front room, only a lot grander and if it’s possible; warmer. With a ‘the door’s always open’ attitude and a smile on every face, it’s hard to not feel like you’ve made it to a home away from home.
The Florrie honours its history in every crevice of the magnificent renovation it underwent a few years ago, but it proves amazingly progressive in its community engagement and commitment to social inclusion.
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The weekly Ukulele class is quite awe inspiring, with a range of different abilities and a group of people coming together to take up a new skill, or maybe develop an old skill that they’ve let go of slightly.
As I go to my first class during early December, the track list of the class is very varied with loads of Christmas cheer sprinkled throughout, (Blue Christmas, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree & Merry Christmas Everyone) but it also doesn’t shy away from guitar classics (Oasis’ Half the World Away) and current pop hit (Bruno Mars’ I Think I Wanna Marry You). There really is something for everyone here…
Take Kevin, a retired man sitting at the back of the class, gabbing and chuckling throughout the class with his mates like naughty school kids on the back of the bus. There’s something really endearing about him and then he tells me that his kids bought him a (quite expensive) ukulele for Christmas the year previous, and it’s just been sitting around the house collecting dust until he heard about The Florrie’s weekly classes. Since coming along, he’s been able to get to grips with his ukulele, he’s getting out regularly, meeting new people and apparently his wife is grateful to have 5 minutes peace back at home whilst he’s out. Maybe she hasn’t yet considered that when he comes back he’s going to be playing all the classic Christmas hits on his newly learn 4 string instrument.
Overall there’s completely different levels of experience within the room but it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or an expert, everyone in the class is met with the same warm reception and support from the session leaders, who encouragingly shout ‘Go on girl!’ to a woman at the front of the class who’s absolutely living her best in the North West.
All round a lovely class with a welcoming atmosphere, why not come along in 2020 and learn a new skill and become the newest member of this gorgeous group. It’s one big gang of mates.