Meet Caroline Heelbeck from SocialLifeUK
As Leeds’ most friendly networking platform, SocialLifeUK is introducing the people of Leeds to each other. We met up with one of their hosts Caroline Heelbeck to find out why you need to get involved!
Can you tell us about yourself and your role at SocialLifeUK?
Certainly, I am originally from Scarborough but I moved to Leeds about 23 years ago, after I left University. After doing a few temp jobs, I then got a permanent job at a Stockbrokers in the City Centre as a complaints handler in Customer Services. I have worked in this role for 18 years.
I first joined a social site myself in Leeds many years ago because all my friends were in serious relationships, moving towards marriage and babies. Over the years my circle of friends who I went out with got smaller and smaller to a point where I was spending weekends staying in on my own and feeling pretty miserable. I decided I wanted to change my life and following on from this I found a social site online, joined it and never looked back. I must have met about five people at the first event with similar interests to myself who I got on with. Since this time I have built up a huge circle of friends, many of whom I still see. This experience also built up my confidence to talk to others, it does not phase me anymore to meet a bunch of strangers in a bar.
Last year my new circle of friends tailored off a bit, again people finding new relationships or moving away from Leeds. When Julie mentioned earlier on in the year that she wanted to run a social site herself and asked if I would be a Host, I jumped at the chance. We started the social events recently and so far they are going really well.
What do you think is going to make SocialLifeUK’s events really stand out?
Anyone who has met Julie can probably answer this question. She is a great Host, first of all, with a very warming and bubbly personality! In fact, Julie was one of the people I met at my very first event eight years ago and we have remained good friends ever since. All of the hosts on SocialLifeUK know each other well, we have a good rapport together, and we all like to turn up and support each other’s events. So far we have had good feedback and members love the places that we have taken them to. We like to do different events to reach out to people’s tastes, it could include meeting in a bar, meeting up for a coffee, dog walking, language classes, dance lessons or walks in the countryside.
But the events we are really trying to concentrate on at the moment is aimed at single people in Leeds. This is a niche we feel that Leeds lacks in, compared to cities such as Manchester and London.
Some of these will be music to the ears of our single readers. Can you tell us a bit about these nights? Why do you think our readers should attend?
We are looking to do monthly singles events in city centre bars, which for a small price will get you a free drink on arrival, a host to greet and meet you when you walk in, ice breakers to make sure you talk to others, and the chance to win drinks during the night. We are also looking to do events which although are aimed at single people do not have the pressure of being matched up on the night, ie ‘Singles who like to Mingle’.
At the moment we are putting on events such as bowling, these kind of events give you the opportunity to meet other singles in a very relaxed environment. We are a diverse group and welcome people of all ages and all nationalities.
For any of our readers that are interested in coming to an event for the first time, what advice would you give them?
It is very important that you familiarise yourself with the location of the event which will all be on our website. We do try to be as precise as possible as to where we are, but if you are new to Leeds you may not find it so easy.
It always best to turn up on time, and please take a note of the Host’s phone number (we will always put this on the event) and if there’s any problems do not hesitate to text us or call us. Our photographs are all on the site so hopefully you will recognise us, but from experience I know it can be hard to walk into a busy place and to match a face with a small picture. So don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. You can post a comment on the website to introduce yourself too! We try not to start an event until everyone arrives so if you do change your mind last minute please let us know by text or cancel your place via the website.
Finally, as someone that is a host for social networking company, what do you do in your social life?
I absolutely love Leeds, it’s a place that is evolving all the time, you can never get bored. I keep a close eye on all the new bars and restaurants and try to visit as many as I can. I have recently found some of Leeds ‘Hidden Bars’ which are amazing and I will be looking to show off these bars to our members soon.
I live in Kirkstall near Kirkstall Abbey which I love. I regularly go to the Abbey to check out what is on, I am so fortunate to have this place on my doorstep. Sometimes I go here just to jog or walk around, it is a place I find to be very therapeutic and relaxing.
Sign up and keep up to date with SocialLifeUK’s events on their website: www.sociallifeuk.com