Well it has been another 6 months since I last wrote my blog – I can’t believe how quickly the time goes. There has been so much happen and there is so much to come! Let me tell you about it all...
We saw the launch of three new NRAS groups in the spring, North Hampshire & Winchester, Cambridge and Wrexham (North Wales), which were all very successful events with both North Hampshire and Cambridge resulting in flourishing groups that are now holding regular meetings – well done to them! We also held the re-launch of the Lincoln NRAS group earlier this month where we introduced the new coordinator who has many fresh and exciting ideas of how to take the group forward, it was a really good and positive evening and we hope that they will have a successful future.
In the gap between the group launches, over the summer we ran four regional training events in Solihull, Maidstone, Manchester and Bristol. These day-long events were for all NRAS members and volunteers who want to become more involved in the work of NRAS. There were various interesting workshops and talks held throughout the day on various topics such as:
-How to be the patient voice in a changing NHS
-How to start and successfully run an NRAS group
-Peer to peer support and telephone volunteer training
-How to become a patient research partner and lots, lots more...
We met almost 100 lovely members over these events and they went so well we are planning four more for 2014, details of these will be released in due course.
So coming up for the autumn we have another four (yes four!) NRAS group launches. NRAS Surrey will be launching on Tuesday 17th September and NRAS Medway will be launching on Monday 23rd September. These information evenings already have over 40 people signed up to attend each, so we are headed towards two very busy and hopefully successful events! Full details for both of these launches and how to register can be found here: nras.org.uk/help_for_you/nr...
Also, Clare Jacklin is hosting an information evening in Wrexham on Wednesday 16th October following on from the group launch back in April this year. Although the launch was attended by almost 70 people and 6 healthcare professionals, there wasn’t enough interest to run the group going forward, so Clare is hosting this information evening in the hope to find some key coordinators this time around. Dr Vun Lim, Consultant Rheumatologist at Wrexham Maelor Hospital will also be presenting at the event on ‘Ultrasound in Rheumatoid Arthritis’. Full details of this event and how to register can be found here: nras.org.uk/help_for_you/nr...
After that we have two more groups launching in November; NRAS Gloucester on Wednesday 13th and NRAS Margate on Wednesday 20th. These are yet to be fully planned so there is no more information I can provide at this time, but the dates are set and things are well on their way... Look out for more details on our website coming soon!
Phew! I think that is about it on the Volunteer Network front in terms of groups and training for the time being. I am looking forward to attending Members Day in a few weeks on 19th September, so hopefully I will see some of you there. If you haven’t already signed up for this event and would like to, please call the NRAS office on 0845 458 3969 and ask for our Membership Team.
On a completely different note, I was pleased to find there was no air conditioning when I moved to NRAS from my last job as it would always blow far too cold or be way too hot! But I think I may have changed my mind in the last month or so with the influx of wasps... we have the doors and windows open around the office to stay cool and they seem to get in and hunt down the people that are most afraid of them (me!), needless to say there has been lots of screeching and running around! I do enjoy the summer, but I’m personally looking forward to getting a snuggly jumper back on and closing those doors and windows!
As always, I hope you enjoy your weekend.
Volunteer Network Coordinator