At High Peak CVS small groups are what we are about. Local community and voluntary organisations are at the heart of most of our rural communities here in the High Peak, their importance has never been more magnified since they were taken away from us during the pandemic lockdowns.
Now as we slowly emerge back some resemblance of life pre-pandemic, a much changed society, it is vital we all play our part in getting these beating hearts up and running once more.
With a new Group Development Team now in post, High Peak CVS made a big step towards not only reconnecting with some of its members face to face, but hosted its first meeting in which representatives from its Small Group Advisory Panel could speak openly of the challenges being faced by themselves and other groups like them as they attempt to reopen and re-emerge from the lockdown.
This first meeting post-pandemic had many challenges to address before it could take place to take into consideration Covid safe practices. There had to be room for people to social distance if they wished to do so, there had to be adequate ventilation, and consider accessibility for all.
To do this Deb and Clare, the Development Workers hosted a dual face-to-face and online meeting which worked incredibly well. It allowed two members to join the meeting from home via Teams as well as allowing those who were able and wanted to make it in person enjoy the benefits of being able to see one another in person after a very long absence.
This alone highlighted the importance of making meetings as inclusive as possible and the many more considerations groups have to make in order to do this.
Among the issues discussed at the meeting transport was a big concern. This issue is something Deb and Clare will certainly be looking into in order to help support groups with resuming.
The Small Groups Advisory Panel has been an important tool for the High Peak CVS Development Workers in the past and continues to be so, possibly more vital than ever in these uncertain times. The panel is a representation of the many varied small groups the CVS helps and supports providing a collective soundboard to make sure we are best addressing the issues and difficulties the members are currently facing.
It was agreed at the meeting to open the membership of this panel up to more representatives of groups we support to make the panel as diverse and effective as possible.
If you are a member of a group and feel your opinion and voice being heard by our Development Team and other similar groups operating in the High Peak would be beneficial, then please get in touch.
Email Group Development Workers Deb Boden or Clare Batchelor on firstname.lastname@example.org