Today was our first Input Session of this year which is a chance for group members to help direct how the group functions and to help make plans for the future.
The group is vulnerable to a possible risk of session cancellation should the group founder be incapacitated for any reason. Two members have been identified as having the skills and willingness to shadow the founder for a period of time in order to be able to step in where necessary. In addition, they will be supporting the founder with the normal functioning of the group, welcoming members etc.
A Facebook group for attending group members is planned. The Facebook group will be set to ‘Secret’ so anonymity and privacy will be assured. This will not be a crisis intervention service but a place for group members to communicate, plan social events, support each other or vent. Group guidelines will be drawn up in consultation with members and group admins will be needed to run and maintain this group.
A group member has volunteered to keep the main website updated with the activities carried out in group sessions. Tutorials and resources will be added where appropriate so members who do not manage to attend a particular session and the wider community can also access and benefit from the activities.
The idea of a reading group has been taken on board and developed. It is proposed that audio books could be used in open sessions with members listening to an audio book for an hour while possibly doing other activities. After the hour the book could be discussed if people want to.
Access and transport to the group were discussed. One group member has volunteered to help with transport from the train station or a local bus stop by advance arrangement of a few days if access would be too difficult by other means. It was recognised that some new members may require extra support for their first visits which may be helped by meeting a member one to one outside the group then going in together.
On the subject of new members, it was proposed that it may be helpful to produce a welcome leaflet that would outline basic information such as fire assembly points, where the toilet is, how to access drinks, how to sign in or how to sign your car in for longer than the usual three hour limit. While there is every intention to give this information to new members verbally, it is possible to miss details if any distraction occurs and new members may not always be able to retain the information and might like to have something to refer back to later. A group member volunteered to collate and produce a leaflet for this purpose.
The initial Wednesday morning session was a great success and another is planned for 6th March called ‘Dealing with Depression’. There will be a four module rolling rota of monthly sessions (first Wednesday of each month) that people can access repeatedly if required or dip in and out of.
There could be a future opportunity for members to form a committee to deal with aspects of the group such as fundraising, group awareness or organising social events. There is a willingness to develop into a registered charity or similar community organisation at some point but a strong and organised committee would be needed in order to bring this about. Additionally, it was recognised that while a small number of group members were assisting with setting up and clearing away at the beginning and end of sessions, some members may not be aware that there are opportunities to become involved in these and other roles within the group setting. Thought will be given to how to make these opportunities more explicit and accessible but in the meantime, if anyone would like to help out in any way please don’t hesitate to put yourself forward.
At the end of the meeting a group member offered to provide some activities for future open sessions. These could include a range of craft activities, journaling and an opportunity to build a self-care box or bag over time. A list of potential activities can be circulated and group members can indicate which of these they would be interested in trying.