Doorbells: Covid-19 Response

Doorbells Covid-19 is a humorous, poignant and reflective film short that asks questions about where and how we live as we grow older.

Whether living alone, ageing without children or caring for others, what are our options? How do Kathleen’s choices resonate with our own decisions about how we live? What choices do we really have about where we live now and in the future?

Doorbells Covid-19 has been commissioned by Care & Repair England and Elders Council of Newcastle and is supported by Rayne Foundation and Arts Council Emergency Funding..and involved 2 x national fully booked webinars where the film was an artistic provocation into the debate and especially for those living in isolation.

Each film screening was followed by an informal Q&A and a discussion in small groups about housing and ageing and trying to live more connected lives, share your thoughts and questions about where and how we live as we grow older.

Thinking about the character (as well as your own experiences), has the film prompted you to think about your current housing, where and how you’re living? If so, how?

The discussion is part of Northumbria University’s evaluation of the Doorbells project and some of the anonymised discussion notes may be used in project reports and journal articles. Input will help the Doorbells team to research ways of improving housing services for older people, people ageing without children, and carers to be more integrated and have a recognised voice in policies going forward.

The webinars had attendees from across the country and involved national partners – Rayne Foundation, Care & Repair England alongside Skimstone Arts, Elders Council and Northumbria University. We also had interviews and featured on Radio Tyneside and Llarn Radio.

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which talk about how the arts instigates provocations around themes that include those isolated.

Recorded responses from participants of all ages at VOICE GLOBAL webinar

“It was very inspiring”

“I think this film is a fantastic way to engage people in talking about age, loneliness and social interactions during lockdown. I think this film is far more powerful to people than a Powerpoint.”

“ You’ve dealt with this whole thing brilliantly because the film really got me thinking. This has been such a wonderful experience for me “

Emailed responses following the Fuse webinar.


“I just wanted to say again (to you and the team behind Doorbells) that I thoroughly enjoyed the film format. It was humorous, sad, thought-provoking, relatable and very relevant. Using film has the ability to reach a far wider audience than a presentation ever would. I’m sure there will be a lot of interest on social media, from housing associations, charities, community groups, LAs etc. on the issues raised in the film when it goes out more widely. Good luck with it all. “Annmarie Ruse, Assistant Administrator AskFuse and ARC NENC integration theme, Teeside University

“Hi, just wanted to drop you a line to say how much I enjoyed the Doorbells Event yesterday, it was really thought provoking and the discussion group was very interesting too. I loved the film (it should be on mainstream TV – it’s such an important topic).Housing and having financial security in later life are such important issues, especially at the moment and it’s great that you have been able to reach new audiences in this way. Thanks once again for all your hard work – it was definitely worth it!” Kind regards Lynne Livsey, Community Wellbeing Officer, Adult Social Care and Integrated Services Newcastle City Council, Fourth Floor, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8QH

“I enjoyed your “Doorbells” short, as both a unique way of getting the message across of Social Distancing, but also highlighting what can be achieved even such conditions with regard to filmmaking projects. All credit to you and those involved. I though the use of other actors, cut-aways and flashbacks very imaginative in their use. They kept the story alive whereas a single monologue style might have felt a bit repetitive and “talking Heads”, even though there was just one head.” Phillip