Greetings fellow East Lancashirians! Is anyone else thinking what I am thinking, that there seems little of any real substance to do around Blackburn-Darwen, unless your sole interest in clubbing? Does anyone else want to meet up for interesting conversations, whilst doing meaningful activities, and whilst building supportive local networks?
So I (Jenny) have set up an informal social organisation to do just that, for the Blackburn/Darwen and/or surrounding area. And goodness, have we grown. 98 members and counting, and 20 meetups under our belts to-date. A wide range of lovely people from their mid-twenties to late-sixties; from unemployed to Chief Exec; from general British to South-East Asian to Irish to German (and many other backgrounds), and who all seem to get on so well. Our group strength really seems to have been our welcoming nature, eager to offer meaningful supportive social relationships, as well as meaningful social activities. And our Newbie-policy is still going strong. All Newbies are the guests of honour, we know it can be nerve-wracking to join a new group!
A bit about me (Jenny). I’m an overly-enthusiastic ex-student 31 year-old from Darwen, and I’m happiest meeting new people - but was climbing up the walls before my life got more exciting through this group. I’m easy-going and get along with everyone. And as Matt would tell you, I'm the one who can be spotted by the two wine glasses in front of me at the bar (it's only because they won't take my card for less than a fiver, honestly, Matt!!!)
Helping me to co-organise the group nowadays are Claire and Chris Cooper, but with wonderful events also organised by Chris Astley, Matt and Fiona so far. Any suggestions anyone has for events are welcome, as are volunteers to actually be an event organiser.
And of course, the group would not be the group without our wonderful members (95 in total at time of writing). We are represented by inhabitants of a whopping 21 towns. The town most-represented is Darwen (25.6%), closely followed by Blackburn (13.5%) and Burnley (12.6%). However, wherever people come from, we've gelled very easily. Never thought Burnley folk and Darwen folk would sit happily in same room without a war breaking out!!
Examples of group activities so far are (and we're open to any suggestions).....
Walking/hiking – we’ve got miles of glorious countryside on our doorstep, let’s use it. Walks have been going down particularly well.
Other sports and fitness –badminton, swimming, ice-skating, even peculiar sports you may never have tried before but always wanted to. Is bowling a sport? We've done that too!
Meals - we like our meals, we do. First anniversary meal for the group Friday 17th May 2013, at that wonderful restaurant Mangiamo's. And cake all round for attendees!
Cinema - who could forget James Bond, etc, and Les Mis. Well done Simon for all his film suggestions!
Pub meetings (including quizzes) to put world to rights, chill out, have fun, etc.
Informal social support and motivation on whatever topics are important to you currently. Struggling to get motivated on your own to change your life/apply for new job/lose weight? We're more than happy to help formulate plans of action and provide moral support to help each other achieve dreams, or at least make things a bit better! Me and Andrea have been up to this, as well as me and Gwen, and what a difference we've been making to our fitness!
So come along and join in! Everybody very welcome, the only rule is everyone is nice to each other :)