The first meeting of Local Group Leaders was held at Bradford on the day before the annual conference. Just half  of the groups were represented, coming from as far afield as Scotland, East Anglia and Hampshire, plus places in between, not forgetting our hosts, the Yorkshire group. AECB staff and trustees were also there. The pre-meeting lunch was a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
There was no intent for the meeting to make momentous decisions but rather to give everyone an opportunity to find out what the others were doing and to try to gain an insight into what would make group leaders’ tasks easier.
It soon became clear that there was no such thing as a “typical” group. Activities were common – visits to work in progress, technical discussions, social events etc, but their popularity and attendance varied as much as the frequency of meetings and backgrounds of people attending. This meant that the demands for resources were equally diverse: while some needed financial help to secure venues and speakers, others were self-sufficient. However, the common need was for communication – among groups and with the Board of Trustees. Much of the discussion centred on these issues and strategies explored for improvement in these areas.
A further on-line event is planned, to include those unable to meet at Bradford. After this a framework can be put in place to help everyone involved to meet their aspirations to grow and to work effectively within their communities.