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Community Action Wellington Message Board › Community Action Wellington – notes from first pub meetup planning evening

Community Action Wellington – notes from first pub meetup planning evening Jan 12

Spencer
user 13890703
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 1
About 17 people attended the first Community Action Wellington Meetup in the Southern Cross. The focus of the meeting was to do some brainstorming and put down some ideas around the purpose of the group and how it should be run. We split loosely into four groups and tackled the following topics:

· Meetup activities
· Monthly pub meets
· Your ideas visions and random thoughts
· Building and running the group

After circulating around all the topics we regrouped and pulled together some key themes that had come out of the evening for each of the topics. These are summarised under the headings below, although some ideas overlap and ideas, visions and random thoughts have been amalgamated into the most relevant topic.

There was an incredible depth and breadth of ideas flowing from the group, which was awesome.

Meetup activities

Ideas spanned a wide range of activities including environmental (tree planting, beach cleaning, weeding), social (homeless shelters, refugees, mentoring, elderly) and animal related (zoo help, dog walking).

There was a willingness to try new things, learn skills and help and socialise with existing groups in need of “hired help”. Although it was recognised that much of this would largely be unskilled, activities requiring more specialised help or some training could also be considered, to utilise and build the skills existing within the group. People were keen to get stuck in and get their hands dirty, but were less keen on straight fundraising (tin rattling!).

It was generally considered that we should publicise our existence to the wider volunteering community such that existing groups could call on us for help when it was most needed. That way, meetups would be more valuable (and probably more interesting). Though this should not preclude us from being proactive in suggesting meetups to groups, particularly as we establish ourselves.

The group strongly supported the idea that activities needed to have a strong social element and that it was important to interact and build relationships with other volunteers in the group we are helping. Good examples included having lunch/tea/ice cream after or during events.

Because of the huge potential range of activities, it was suggested that activities could be grouped into themes such as environmental, social, animal related. Potentially, meetups for each theme could be organised and coordinated by different people on the management team. Offers of help welcomed :)

Monthly pub meets

As with meetup activities, there was a wide range of ideas for the monthly pub meets including planning events, writing letters and emails, working together on projects and issues, fun and socialising and hosting speakers and having discussions/workshops.

If we are to have speakers, publicising this to other groups could also be an option, to add to the general community “scene” and potentially recruit new members to the group. Speakers could also be related to upcoming meetup activities or current events/consultations.

There was a general feeling that pub meets should be a mixture of structured and unstructured time. For example, a speaker for the first half followed by a more flexible second half to socialise, plan, write submissions etc. A clear agenda and good timekeeping were encouraged.

I would consider the space that we were offered at the Southern Cross (the Gallery) adequate for the size of the group for now, though it is quite noisy for a speaker. Feedback most welcomed from those present on whether it is a suitable place to meet.

Building and running the group

The group is only as strong as its members and it was great to see a lot of support and consensus around how the group could run. Some key conclusions were as follows:


  • We should publicise the group within the meetup community (e.g. joint events with adventure wellington and organically through natural growth as meetups are posted) and outside the meetup community (e.g. free newspapers, capital times, wellingtonian, volunteer wellington, volunteer network)
  • We should focus on building relationships with existing groups including attending network meetings and publicising events. It would be useful to have a list of community groups and activities and an event diary
  • There is no rule of thumb for the minimum number of people needed at a meetup to be worthwhile/successful. This could be suggested by the group we are helping and could vary from a few (elderly help) to a lot (tree planting)
  • We should build up one step at a time, starting with easy/obvious activities. We should ensure activities have clear aims. Most people will only go to 1 or 2 events per month but it is important to offer variety of times/activities. The time of year will sometimes dictate the activity
  • Suggestions for initial events were beach cleaning, tree planting, community garden weeding, refugee help and computer literacy help for vulnerable people
  • We should develop a “mission statement” or similar. E.g. “Social volunteering for positive outcomes” so that we can easily and quickly explain what we are about to others. There was an offer of help to start a discussion page on this (mentioning no names Eugene ;)
  • We agreed that meetup suggestions could be posted by anyone (leaving date tbc). Members could then comment and express support. The coordinator would then work with the suggester to create the meetup and make it happen
  • It would be great to share the workload of running a group with other interested people

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