A group of charitable bingo enthusiasts from Gourock near Greenock in Scotland have made the most of the lockdown period with Friday night games of virtual online bingo.
The group known as the Bingo Belters, led by Gourock lady Louise Hampsey, have been playing virtual rounds of bingo every Friday night since lockdown began.
What started out between Louise, her family and her friends quickly grew to become a community of over 360 people from all around Inverclyde.
As well as having a bit of fun, the Bingo Belters have raised thousands of pounds towards good causes.
The big-hearted group formed a ‘hit list' of community organisations after deciding to donate 50 percent of their money raised to go to these groups in need.
So far, more than £2,500 has been generated from the bingo games and distributed in via cake boxes from a local baker as well as cash donations. The Bingo Belters also purchased an iPad for patients in the Inverclyde Royal ward treating COVID patients.
Other Inverclyde organisations to benefit from the cash boost include Orchard View, Ardgowan Hospice, Compassionate Inverclyde, Craigmarloch School, Larkfield View, Alt na Craig care home, Man On Inverclyde, Children in Poverty Inverclyde, Kincaid House and the Richmond Fellowship.
Louise who calls the balls herself in the games told the local paper:
“It started off with family and friends and it just took off.
“Everyone in the group nominated different charities and key worker organisations.
“We thought that the iPad for patients in the hospital would be good for people who had been separated from their families.
“It's been fabulous and I'm so glad I invested the time in it.”
Bingo an Essential Lifeline
The bingo sessions have proved to be an essential lifeline for some feeling isolated during a very testing lockdown period.
Louise who also hosted a collection for Compassionate Inverclyde last month raising a total £1,700, added:
“The laughs we've had on our Friday nights have raised the spirits of so many people.
“We made it into a social event and made sure everyone had their drinks ready every week.
“I’ve been bombarded with messages of thanks to say that the nights were the only form of communication and joy some people who have been shielding have had during lockdown.
“It helped bring families together and created a wee community.
“People have said it was a lifeline for them and gave them something to look forward to every week.
“I've had some lovely gifts from people thanking me for being the bingo queen.
“I've really enjoyed doing it.”