When the Covid pandemic began in spring 2020 we had to cancel a big indoor meeting we’d arranged for the group at Myddfai Village Hall. Up until then, we’d arranged big indoor meetings every spring and autumn in different locations around the county and because Carmarthenshire is such a large county, we noticed that we often had different people turning up for each meeting. When we asked for a show of hands at one of the meetings, quite a lot of people said they’d come to the meeting after seeing a poster for it locally. We may have gathered new members in this way.
At the village hall events, the arrangement was that CMG members would get in free, but we made a small entry charge for non-members, and also gave them the opportunity to join the group, so they could be informed about any future events (some of which are only for group members for security and other reasons).
We are very much hoping to return to holding big indoor meetings post-pandemic, but having canvassed members’ opinions recently, we felt the time was not yet right. So, this autumn we’ve started again to hold regular meetings online, using Zoom. Rather than a long meeting with 2 or 3 talks as we had in the village halls, we feel that one talk is enough for an online setting, so we’re having them more frequently as well, last year we had about one per month.
We depend on members’ subscriptions for various things – occasionally producing printed material, maintaining the website and the membership database system which has to be GPDR compliant, insurance cover for outdoor (and indoor) events, the hire of village halls, and currently the contract to host Zoom meetings. For most of the meetings so far, because we’re only able to host them thanks to the members’ subscription support, we’ve only invited CMG members to them. But we think it would be better to devise a way more akin to what we were doing with the village hall events, and invite non-members to attend, either by paying a small entrance fee or by joining the group.
So, starting with the next meeting, we’re trying a new way of doing things! As before, all CMG members will get an email telling them about when the meeting is going to be happening, what subjects it will cover, and the meeting ID and passcode for Zoom which enables them to attend.
But in addition, we are using a ticketing system (Eventbrite) to advertise the meetings more widely, on this website for example, and on other media. Members of CMG don’t need a ticket, they’ll already know all about it as above. But non members will be able to buy a ticket for the meeting for a nominal entrance fee (£2), and that way they will receive the information they need to access the meeting. They’ll also be given the option of joining the group as they were when attending one of the village hall events.
The next online meeting will be on Thursday October 28th, at 7:30pm when Bruce Langridge from the National Botanic Garden of Wales will tell us about “Farming and Fungi”. Members of CMG will be getting an email with all the info they need to participate, and need do no more. But if you’re not a CMG member but would like to go to the meeting, you can find out more here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/farming-and-fungi-tickets-184698426967 .