I am writing this on Thursday 16th September and reflecting on my week and thought I would share with you what I’ve been up to since last Thursday.
It was a pleasant enough day for my drive to Swansea from Maidenhead where I met the lovely Gillian Knight, Member and Volunteer, who with her husband Andrew, helped me arrange their church hall for the first Swansea Area group meeting that evening. By 7pm the hall was fairly full and we were joined by members of the rheumatology team from the two Swansea hospitals. By 9.30pm I was back in my little guest house where I got chatting to a fellow guest about complementary therapies and made a useful contact for the Leeds and Sheffield groups for a prospective future guest speaker. I always find it amazing who I get talking to and where it can lead.
Next day in the pouring rain I spent quite some time trudging the streets with legacy leaflets which I delivered to a dozen firms of solicitors and one funeral home as well as NRAS posters and leaflets to a physiotherapist, two dentist surgeries and one natural health practitioner a well as 3 pharmacies!
The next day, Saturday, was spent in Haverfordwest at the Pembrokeshire College where the local NRAS group had organised an amazing day of speakers and exhibits. With 50 people in attendance the day went without a hitch and here are just some of the health professionals who gave up their personal time from their families to spend it with their patients and their families. True dedication and very much appreciated.
On Tuesday twenty one NRAS group coordinators came from the four corners of the UK to learn more about setting up and running an NRAS group. We had a highly informative, interactive and enjoyable couple of days with some excellent suggestions and ideas as well as lots of giggles along the way. Members of the NRAS board of directors joined the coordinators for dinner on the Tuesday night and they enjoyed meeting those at the “coal front” so to speak and the volunteers enjoyed meeting some of the decision makers of the society.
Here are the lovely bubbly coordinators at the end of their gruelling 2 days. The only shadow over the conference this year was the absence of our inspirational leader Ailsa who is still recuperating from ankle surgery which is taking much longer than she expected due to a very uncooperative heel that refuses to heal!
We all wish Ailsa a speedy recovery. And so here I am a week later on Thursday, catching up on emails, writing this blog, contributing to the monthly report, taking lots of calls about meetings across the UK and preparing to head off to leafy Chertsey for the launch of the Surrey NRAS group tonight and next week another in Buckinghamshire. No rest for the wicked they say ....well I can’t remember being that naughty in my past but then if I was that wicked maybe I couldn’t share it with you anyway!
Your naughty but nice Volunteer Network Manager - Clare