We had a fascinating meeting last week. It was one of those strange blessings of the pandemic which meant we could ask Annabel Collins from Ageing Better in Camden to come and talk to us about their Warm Welcome research and practice, without anyone needing to invest in a train ticket.
One of the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks was able to bring most of their staff team to the meeting – they left, buzzing with ideas for change as they re-open, following some great exchanges in the breakout rooms. Colleagues from a small number of other organisations were there too, but I was sad that not more people joined us.
We reflected after the meeting that most people like to think a warm welcome is something they always offer, but if you sit down to think about the groups and activities you have been to (if you can remember that far back) most groups don’t really do it… not every single time. One of the things that can make it hard to do is the response from established group members who are comfortable without changes. So now, as we recover from the topsy-turvy pandemic world, might be the chance to think about whether you do want to make changes.
We invited Annabel this month because they are in the middle of producing a fantastic toolkit for community groups in Camden to use with staff or volunteers, and we have produced a set of checklists to accompany it – great for hyper-local groups and to help you manage and induct new volunteers.
Please have a think: do you really make a habit of welcoming new people and making sure everyone is engaged every week? Why not have a look at the toolkit once it comes out and just see if it would help you? It’s going to be challenging encouraging some of your members to re-join face-to-face groups; this toolkit will help you to ensure if they do try it they are far more likely to stick.
Let me know if you would like a copy of the Ageing Better Camden Warm Welcome Toolkit, or the Time to Shine checklist.
Time to Shine Learning Facilitator