Last Sunday (and any reason other than the England v Germany result to remember the day by is most welcome) I chaired a South East regional meeting for the first time and took great pleasure in meeting some members I’d only previously gotten to know via the party forums.
It was actually a slightly tricky meeting: firstly it’s always difficult to sit around talking about actually doing something other than sitting around, and secondly with the South East covering quite as much geography (was approx a 3 hour drive each way to the meeting from home, and other meetings may take me further) as it does the next meeting is likely to be located such so that that same members are unlikely to be able to make it.
If I hold a meeting every 4 weeks, and if only every 4th meeting repeats a location, it will be quite difficult to gather momentum as in practice the first 3 meetings may have to cover the same ground (with different people), with the 4th-6th essentially just being the second meeting with the attending members. If it takes the third meeting before real productive activity is taking place, that may well be 6 months down the line from now (daunting and not really sounding acceptable to me).
Of course, discussing things on the forums is an alternative, but I really want to reach members who aren’t active on the forums (forums aren’t everyone’s cup of tea), but there’s a hurdle of persuading people to turn up for their first face-to-face meeting (we’re all internet weirdos after all, aren’t we?).
All in all, despite there being many challenges ahead for me, I feel greatly encouraged after Sunday’s meeting. I know that after every subsequent meeting I will feel more encouraged, because there is nothing like meeting up with like-minded individuals and getting into conversation with them to reaffirm my belief in both this party and our objectives.