We were delighted to hear from Moira Coats – pictured – on her Area Organiser role.
Today I woke to bright sunshine and the promise of a lovely day ahead. I’ve also got a song whirring around my brain and I suspect that it will be with me all day.
The groups I support in my AO role are just beginning to move into the first phase of ‘a new but limited freedom’ and have been emailing me about walks they’re planning, meetings in the park, and small gatherings in members gardens. In the last year of lockdown I kept in touch with the Local Organisers by email, sending them my news, quizzes and competitions, which were then disseminated to their group members. Quite a few members emailed me back saying how good it was to keep in touch; everyone coped in their own way with the events of the last 12 months but contact, whether it was email, WhatsApp, phone calls, or our new discovery – Zoom, was so very important.
I try to do tasks connected with my AO role just one day a week. It doesn’t always work out that way, but on the whole it means I have time for all the other activities in my life, and also I can concentrate on it better this way. Today I’m writing to my LO friends (I really do think of them as friends now) to see if their groups would consider a meet-up later in the year, maybe a picnic, maybe a bring-and-share lunch. I have recently added three new groups to my role and am now looking at my diary, which has been an empty book for so long, but is now rapidly gaining entries, to see if I can meet up with a few members from the groups. Of course currently everything is weather dependent, so plans could change at the last minute.
My own group hosted a Diamond Day lunch last year and had a lovely traditional apple tree planted in the grounds of the venue. We’ve had a plaque made and I need to write to the groups that attended the day to let them now it will soon be in situ if they wish to see it.
AOs across the country have had Zoom meetings, and from our recent one there are some papers to read so, coffee in hand, that will be my next task. I have three big box files, one for matters concerning my own group, one for AO issues and one for information about the groups I support. I write a few notes after I’ve met or been in contact with a group, just to remind me what we discussed – I also put a brief description by a member’s name – it helps to jog the memory! Looking in my notes I see I recently wrote, “Wore a lovely red cardigan. Likes walking her dogs”. I now have an instant picture of this member – don’t laugh – it works for me – as long as they don’t all wear red cardigans!
Next week, I’m joining a Zoom with one of my new groups, much easier than a very long round trip, but I will try and meet them in person in a few months. Some groups really appreciate having the support of an AO and are in touch regularly; others respond less frequently to my emails, but I just assume that all is going well for them and they’ll contact me if they need me.
I’m up to date with everything so today’s input is completed. Time to enjoy the sunshine. That song is still buzzing in my head – in fact I’ve been singing it out loud – “Oh, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”. How apt – I need my NWR friends as much as they need me!