Guest Blog: How we involve our members and enable them to thrive.

Rosy smiles at the camera, wearing a striped red top.

Edinburgh based charity get2gether received £150,000 in National Lottery funding and run social activities for people with disabilities and are always finding ways to get them involved in the decision making process.

Rosy Glen, Events Coordinator for get2gether, shares how involving their members helps them thrive!

Members take the lead

Our members have helped build get2gether to become the community it is today. At the heart of get2gether is our objective: working to reduce social isolation and increase resilience, emotional awareness and self-determination of adults with disabilities. This is woven through all of our events, courses and interactions incorporating our adult-to-adult approach.

Our organisation is structured to listen to members at every level. We have three Ambassadors, five DJs, a variety of sessional workers employed by get2gether, and over fifty active contributors who have lived experience of disabilities. We are currently developing paid peer mentor roles to support the delivery of our courses: ‘Live your Life’ and ‘Let’s Talk about Sex’.

The group at one of their get2gether activities. They catch up around a table in a bar, with some drinks. The are posing for the camera.
The group catch up at one of the get2gether social activities.

Members help shape our activities

My background is in Community Education, or Community Learning Development (CLD) which celebrates working with communities and people. CLD begins in the everyday reality of people’s lives.

At get2gether, we invite our members to bring their everyday reality to the weekly Monday Magic meetings. 15-30 members engage in conversations each week, making decisions around how the week will look over on our Facebook group, ‘get2gether at home’. These discussions lead in many directions.

CLD focused author Margaret Ledwith says, “voice is an expression of self esteem; it is rooted in the belief that what we have to say is relevant and of value.” We know that the conversations our members are having at Monday Magic reverberate throughout their lives and their communities.

Monday Magic is a base; a platform for ideas to form. Voices which may have begun from a whisper, gain momentum. Shared interests have space to intertwine. From Monday Magic, members’ confidence grows as they conquer Facebook Lives, encouraging them to explore public speaking, improve upon their media literacy and connect with other members online. These are examples of self-determination – deciding you want to do, and acting upon it.

The group all stand together and smile for the camera after being at one of their social get together activities.
Ambassadors lead pop up events like visiting the Filmhouse and Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

From Facebook lives to hosting online events

Through Facebook Lives, some members feel ready to go onto host Zoom events and work with our Ambassadors to map out their story and learn the skills to undertake event hosting. With get2gether providing the platform, our members provide the courage and the lived experience needed to host the event. We’ve had events around Movember and surviving testicular cancer, women with autism and being trans.

With a dedicated staff team consisting of three coordinators and three Ambassadors we are honing our hybrid offering. Our online offering has been crucial during the pandemic and we are working hard to continue these invaluable digital events whilst incorporating more in person events. The future of Pop Up events is exciting; working in partnership with the likes of Dynamic Earth and Filmhouse, to get back to meeting people in real life after a long pandemic.

So what’s next?

Funding from The National Lottery Community Fund has enabled get2gether to continue to offer FREE membership to all adults with disabilities who want to meet new people and make friends.

With additional funding from Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council (EVOC), Monday Magic is brimming with exciting plans for 2022. Our members are planning a series of skill share sessions, including a team building session to kick off our festival to celebrate ‘Two years online’. This week-long festival will be delivered by members to reflect and to showcase their achievements and skills which have emerged and developed over these past two years.

You can keep up to date with get2gether’s activities by following their Twitter account.

Interesting read about how to get your members involved from #NationalLottery funded group @get2getheredin. Have a read! @TNLComFundScot

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