Positively Connected - The New Beneficiary MeetUp Group
Positively Connected is an online group set up by the Thalidomide Trust and run by beneficiary volunteers. Its objective is to encourage beneficiaries to connect with each other by joining in with a range of events and activities. All beneficiaries and Trust staff are welcome.
Here's the story of how it all began and how to join in.
What is it all about?
Trust beneficiaries are dotted across Britain and further afield so it is a much anticipated affair when there is an opportunity to get together. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has restricted many areas of our lives since March 2020 and halted gatherings throughout the world. As a result we have all battened down the hatches to get through this challenging period but have managed to utilize different ways of connecting.
Back in April, beneficiary volunteers started up a series of Virtual Coffee Breaks online. They continue to take place at various times during the day proving a popular way for beneficiaries to connect throughout the lockdowns and whilst living under social distancing measures. Coffee events allowed people who were unable to meet during the year to chat and re-acquaint with old friends. In addition, for newer beneficiaries they offered a chance to meet others in the community and form new friendships.
How Virtual Coffee Breaks Evolved…
During these enjoyable coffee chats people often share what they have been up to whilst passing their time at home (and garden!).
It became apparent that there are many unique and interesting hobbies and activities beneficiaries enjoy, alongside sharing interests. These include scuba diving, dog training, craft activities, quilting, and card making alongside many more activities. Beneficiaries connected with each other via shared interests. This gave the opportunity to listen to others’ perspectives and learn from different knowledge bases.
One beneficiary shares her experience here.
With all this in mind the beneficiary MeetUp group Positively Connected was conceived.
MeetUp is an online platform used by groups to publish a diary of events. Members of the group can then choose what they wish to participate in. The Trust and beneficiary volunteers set up a private beneficiary group called Positively Connected. The group runs a rich programme of events every week to engage with the thalidomide community. Each session is hosted by a volunteer beneficiary, offering a wide range of interest groups as well as the sociable virtual coffee events.
Take a look at some of the Positively Connected events on offer
All Positively Connected MeetUp events are currently taking place online, via Zoom, an online video meeting facility.
Want to get involved in Positively Connected?
You will be asked to set up an account, either by using your Facebook sign in details or you can use your email and create a new password.
Next, send your request to Positively Connected to join the group. We don’t allow open access as this group is solely for Trust beneficiaries and Trust Staff.
Once we have confirmed it is you, your request will be accepted. After that you will have access to all the Positively Connected events.
Select the events you wish to join by clicking the 'attend' button. You will then get the Zoom link so that you can attend the event.
If you haven’t used Zoom before, we can help! We’ll help with the set-up and facilitate a one to one trial video call to give you the opportunity to see how to join a meeting and get involved. Before your first event the beneficiary host will be made aware that this is your first event. They will be there to welcome you and enable everyone to introduce themselves at the beginning.
Do you have a skill to share?
Positively Connected is growing all the time with more events offered to beneficiaries. If you have a skill you would like to share or a forum you would like to be involved in please get in touch with Annabelle Blackham at the Trust on 01480 474074 or email.
Need more information?
If you have any questions about Positively Connected, joining MeetUp, ideas for events or think you would like to host an event yourself, please contact Annabelle Blackham, the Trust’s Volunteer Coordinator on 01480 474074 or email.