The time just flies by and suddenly it is 2 weeks since our Away Day and we haven’t blogged it yet!! So here goes.
Most of the SAND Action Group headed off to South Shropshire and the magical place that is Westhope College for our second ever away day. It is so important to grab this space when we can and invest a bit of our time and SAND’s money (not much, it is a remarkably reasonably priced venue) in proper reflection and planning.
We started the day with our own debrief following the Personal lives – Personal Care event, looking a what went well and what we could have done better. We were delighted with the number of people who turned up, the relaxed atmosphere, the levels of engagement amongst the people there, the way the creative presentation worked (you can watch Clare Summerskill again here), the structure, variety of input and the stalls which made it feel like a very vibrant space. We were also very pleased about the number of people who volunteered on the day to help out in various roles.
In terms of what we could have done better – food for thought going forwards – we always knew we were tight on time and sure enough we all wanted more discussion time at the end; we were also disappointed (though not surprised) at the lack of interest from Care Homes – we only had 2 people there from Care Homes and one of those is our own Action Group member – it is really quite sobering. At the other end of the sobering spectrum, we wondered if we had over-done it on the fruit and biscuits on the tables … in a bid not to look mean, and of course to make people comfortable we went the other way, but it meant we could share generously and divvy up goodies at the end which perhaps is no bad thing! We recognised that we needed to involve volunteers at an earlier stage and generally start to broaden out involvement in SAND. There is always lots to learn!
At the end of the event, we asked people to fill in forms to make suggestions and offer help about how we take forward the recommendations in our research and we have spent the last couple of weeks following these up – including correspondence with the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and with Shropshire Public Health (now called Help 2 Change* – see comment below). We’ll keep this up and report back.
The event really got us thinking about how SAND will move forward in the future and we had some discussion about giving ourselves a realistic time-frame in which to make inroads. The idea of this is to chivvy us – and others – along – and also to recognise that, if nothing changes then we need to try different approaches! So – we agreed a 3 year Action Plan, Business Plan and Fundraising Strategy – hurrah! This is all big and important stuff – just right for an Away Day!
After all that huffing and puffing we needed a bit of light relief so we started looking at up-coming events:
Shrewsbury carnival – which has now gone but at that point was coming up and SAND wanted to be part of the parade. OK so it rained but we danced and it was good fun. SAND was there with the banner – that’s what matters.
LGBT History Festival – year two of this is in February 2016 and Shrewsbury is one of 5 hubs hosting stuff so keep an eye out for what’s what on that one – there are already calls out for proposals – click this link and SAND is working with others about town to put something together – this is a national thing so don’t be shy.
Sadly whilst looking at events, this is also when we took the decision to cancel the SKA night fundraiser, we just have too much to do at the moment – but keep your eyes open for information and publicity about this year’s 70s disco coming up in November.
Only 2 weeks to go now until our next SAND meeting …. ever feel you are chasing your tail?