Our host Rob Hanna is re-joined by the inspirational Lewis Alexander Baxter, Founder of The Blurred Line Group, the UK’s first mental health services funding hub, for a special minisode discussing his latest charitable venture.
A brand new organisation, chit-chat, launched in late March with one simple mission: ‘connecting the nation through conversation’. Through their phone line and social media hub, chit-chat strives to keep everyday conversations, be the go-to place for a chat and play an active part in addressing loneliness, isolation and mental health.
chit-chat LINE is open 9am – 9pm, seven days per week.
0333 002 0333
chit-chat. For everyone.
Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally SpeakingPodcast powered by Kissoon Carr. This week, we have a special minisode where I’m delighted to be rejoined by Lewis Alexander Baxter. Lewis is a 21 year old founder and CEO of The Blurred Line Group, the U. K’s first funding hub for local mental health charities and community projects. It doesn’t stop there. He is also a Non-Executive Director, Public Speaker and Radio Presenter, and has also very recently launched his brand new initiative chit-chat Britain. So welcome back, Lewis.
Lewis Alexander Baxter: Thanks for having me yet again!
Rob Hanna: [Laughter] Indeed, indeed! And it is very clear you’ve not sat still since we last spoke and I guess we’re really keen to hear more about your new initiative that is chit-chat Britain, do you want to tell us a bit about your your reasons for launching that and what it’s all about?
Lewis Alexander Baxter: Absolutely. I mean, as we know, we’re in very unprecedented times at the moment with the the Coronavirus outbreak and the challenges that it’s brought to business to students, to people and down the country on chit-chat is here to have a conversation with people. Anyone up and down the country can give us a call on our number and have a chitchat with one of our volunteers. And so it’s been a bit of a whirlwind these last couple of weeks. We’ve been going for just over 2.5 weeks now. We’ve got almost 50 volunteers that are supporting us on the phone lines that are having chats with people. And, we are a very low level support service. We’re not here to offer mental health support. We’re not here to give counselling or anything like that. We’re here for a conversation. And, it started when actually a few Twitter followers reached out, and they’re a little bit lonely. 88 year old Morris, who I know very well from from London, is a virtual friend of mine. Just said he’d not been able to go to the local shop and collect his newspaper or see his friends at the coffee shop. So having something like chit chat has given him a chance to have a chat with one of our volunteers. So it’s gone really well so far.
Rob Hanna: You’ve already had lots of, you know, media attention. I know. I think you featured on some of the BBC, New radios and things like that gonna tell us a bit more?
Lewis Alexander Baxter: Absolutely! So in the first 2 weeks we had over 51,000 people reached through us on social media, in calls, in some engagement, which have been absolutely fantastic. Some press features on Radio Five Live, Radio Essex, on BBC Radio Leeds. Some fantastic publicity to get behind this initiative and we want to shout out to all those amazing community projects. We’re here to join the dots of local outreach programmes and local community hubs that we’re seeing crop up in our communities. So I’ve got one in my local town and people doing great deeds, and supporting those that are vulnerable and those that are lonely. And I think chitchat is here just for anyone who wants a conversation. We’re doing specific appeals to those that are frontline workers and NHS staff who have finished a shift and want a conversation. Or it might be those that are living in loneliness or in isolation in rural communities who might want someone to chat to. And of course, we’ve got university students as well and young people who are in very, very uncertain times at the moment with their studies, and we’re here to chitchat with them if they want.
Rob Hanna: I think that’s the key message. It is for everyone this, so you know it’s not a case of, you know, you’re particularly targeting a demographic or a type of person. This really is for everyone. And so if people do want to reach out, you know, what are the various contacts, how can they do that? We live in a virtual world now as well, so have you got any sort of e-communications? Yeah, how can people get in touch?
Lewis Alexander Baxter: Absolutely. I just want to say that the ‘for everyone’ is our strap line actually. And I think it just encompasses exactly what chit chat is all about. We’re here for anyone of any age, any background, any religion, any part of the UK. And people can reach out to us. And we cater for all of us have got a phone line which is 03330020333. And that’s for those that do want to pick up the phone and have a chat with us. We’ve also got some anonymous messaging services as well. And that’s on our social media @chit-chatbritain. So all of those are for anyone. If you’ve got social media, social media is the best place to start.
Rob Hanna: And if people are listening to this and think actually, you know what, I’ve got lots of free time, I’d love to give back. Are you still open to volunteers or people want to get involved, how they do that?
Lewis Alexander Baxter: Absolutely. This is a very, very exciting campaign, and we’re less than three weeks into it, which makes it even more exciting. So we’re constantly moving it, constantly changing. We’ve got lots of different things in the pipeline, some really exciting plans over the next few weeks. So of course, if you want to volunteer on the phones or support our PR, or marketing or outreach, business developments, whatever. I’m up for lots of suggestions because this is a real community effort, bringing everyone together because chit-chat is for everyone who wants to, you know, have a conversation. But it’s also for everyone who wants to volunteer as well.
Rob Hanna: That’s great and I guess from our side, we’ve seen how much of an impact this has made already following the launch. So you know, we have every confidence this is going to have so much value to so many people during this, you know, these tough times, this crisis that we are living in. Is there anything else you would just like to ask or add to that as sort of any final comments?
Lewis Alexander Baxter: I think the final thing is we’ve been blown away with the amount of support that with heart. I thank the volunteers. I of course thank the amazing, you know, emergency services and Frontline workers who are doing an amazing job. And for me, I’m not able to be a front line worker due to personal reasons. So this is my way of giving back if I can. And all the people that are involved are all doing a sterling job so far. So we’re gonna keep going these next couple of weeks and hopefully beyond as well.
Rob Hanna: No, absolutely. And Lewis you’re a dear friend to the Legally Speaking Podcast community. So it’s been an absolute pleasure having you back on. And we always knew you would continue to do lots of valuable on initiatives to want to give back and help so many people. So it really is commendable, everything you’re doing. We give you every support, every possible avenue we can to help raise your awareness for chit-chat Britain because we do think it’s great. So keep doing what you’re doing. And thanks so much for hopping on, and doubt we’ll see you again, feature on the podcast in the not too distant future.
Lewis Alexander Baxter: Absolutely. Thank you very much for your support.