A very rough guide to setting up a group
1. The most important thing is to have at least 3 or 4 families who are relatively keen and committed to meeting regularly – once it’s going you’ll probably attract others but you need a base of people to run it.
2. I’d start by meeting informally a couple of times – either at someone’s house or a soft play/park wherever. You can get to know each other a little and talk about what you’ve got in mind. A group that meets regularly somewhere public is great in itself. Decide how often you want to meet (twice a month is an option which has worked well in the past) and for how long (probably around 2-3 hours). Will you be eating together, or each bringing your own picnic, or avoiding lunchtime altogether?
3. If you want to have a space to yourself so you can have crafts and so on then the next stage is to find a hall/community centre/other venue, which is convenient to travel to. Make sure it is cheap enough that the start-up families will be happy to pay the rate without needing extra members. Ideally you should be happy to cover it between 2 or 3 families if necessary.
4. Decide who will handle booking the hall, who will handle any money etc. Don’t let anyone take on too much or they will start feeling put-upon!
5. Decide how you want to structure your time – anything is OK, from a coffee and a run around, to themed meetings, right up to shared lessons or tutors(!)
6. Consider setting up a facebook group, or ask IOMHEd for a section of the website forums to chat about what you’re going to do, and keep in touch.
7. Let us know what you’re doing! Post events in the IOMHEd Facebook group and on the IOMHEd website (if you want! Feel free to have private ones too). Its a good way to find new members and keep in touch.
8. Plan ahead, people stay engaged if they are looking forward to something – a host of last minute meets are unlikely to keep people interested.