Earlier this month, we heard from two National Lottery funded groups who had changed their services to adopt a hybrid working method.
We touched on how important it is to stay flexible to meet people’s needs and to think of accessibility issues. Now we take a look at how Edinburgh charity Get2gether’s method of creating an online community helped them meet their objectives.
Movie Mondays – Get2gether’s growing online community.
“The way forward is going to be tailored to the individual needs of the organisation and its not going to be one model that fits for everybody” Mojca Becaj, Director of Get2gether tells us.
Within a week of the pandemic, the group tried to deliver their activities online. They opened a Facebook group, which only members had access to, creating an online community space.
Get2gether arrange social activities for people with disabilities across Edinburgh and the Lothians to reduce social isolation and increase the self-determination of their members. They received £150,000 of National Lottery funding this summer to carry on this fantastic work.
Creating member-led groups
They now have around 250 members in their closed group and believe it is important to have weekly planning meetings with the people who want to contribute to their online community space. It was in one of these meetings where the idea of Movie Mondays came up. The completely member-led initiative started with members agreeing each week what movie they would watch, choosing from channels that most people would have in their house, and discussing it through a group chat.
The group chat has around forty members, with between 10-12 people actively engaging with Movie Monday each week. Mojca explains how the online community helped the organisation meet their objectives whilst in-person activities were haulted:
“During the pandemic, amazing things happened. Members went live, they took part in challenges, some even created YouTube channels…We were monitoring who was going live and who wasn’t because one of our objectives is to increase self-determination of adults with disabilities so we are really trying to measure how many people are doing what they say they are going to do.”
Returning to in-person
When restrictions eased, they had a consultation with members to ask them how they were feeling and realised that a lot of members were ready to go back to in-person meetings. So they have since made a connection with the Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh, and have organised a Movie Monday in person once a month, with the other three weeks still being hosted online.
Mojca says “to ensure our members and staff are safe we have a risk enablement strategy. It’s a strategy to try and take risk as a positive thing. Risk is taking you out of your comfort zone. It’s important that we communicate with our members about what the risks are and what they can do for themselves to keep themselves safe.”
They are approaching the in-person events on a small scale basis for now, but hope to build up to larger events once they gauge how their members feel. They recognise that being online isn’t for everyone and comes with its limitations. Only 27% of their members are digitally engaged. Hosting their larger online parties they have found only around 50 members attend in comparison to their usual club nights where normally between 200 and 250 members attend.
However, they do acknowledge that online events can be more accessible for those who have mobility issues so they will continue a blended approach of in person and online going forward.
Find out more about get2gether’s pop up events.
Check out this @TNLComFundScot blog about adjusting to hybrid working! Useful tips from the team at @get2getheredinTweet