Melksham Voluntary Groups Network
Melksham Town Council are creating a network of groups, clubs and charities in the Melksham area to share skills, advice and information. There are over 170 groups that provides services, activities and crucial social connections for people in Melksham, and we want to support them by providing opportunities to learn and share with each other so that we can best serve the people in Melksham.
The first meeting of this new network was held by Zoom on Thursday 18th March, with over 30 groups represented.
David McKnight, the Economic Development Manager, gave a presentation on promotion and publicity, which was followed by a discussion in break out rooms on how we can support each other in this unusual time of emerging from Lockdown.
The chance to reflect on the past year of lockdown was welcomed. While event organisers were frustrated at having to cancel, and a lot of groups couldn’t meet at all throughout lockdown, it was recognised that extra effort had been made to stay in touch with members and although apart, people still felt connected to each other. A common theme was the need to adapt, and several groups like Link, Wiltshire Mind and the Shed club were able to continue by modifying their ways of working in order to provide their valuable services. Other groups delivered meals, goody bags and activity packs as additional ways of reaching people when they were unable to meet up.
While the move online has been a challenge, in many cases it has made things more accessible, even increasing attendance of meetings and virtual events. There has been a lot of progress in using technology to stay connected, but it is important to make the extra effort to include those without the internet. The face to face meetings are still badly missed and groups are looking forward to ways to meet up again safely when restrictions allow. What shone through in all discussions was the incredible community spirit in Melksham, and the beauty of being part of such a community minded town.
After reflecting on the challenges and lessons learned over lockdown, the groups shared ideas for working together to help promote and raise awareness of the rich array of groups in Melksham, which will be brought back to the Town Council for consideration. It is hoped that this will be the start of a useful supportive network for all those working in a voluntary capacity in Melksham, and future sessions can cover subjects like fundraising, IT skills, volunteer recruitment and management, and other relevant issues as identified through the group.
Everyone who is involved in any kind of voluntary group, club or charity in Melksham is very welcome to join. If you or a member of your organisation would like to be added to the network, please let us know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org