LALG Chair, Elaine Fox, looks at life beyond Covid

As the evenings are getting longer (and hopefully warmer) and lockdown measures begin to ease in line with the government’s roadmap, we have been thinking about what LALG can offer going forward.

I appreciate that everyone will have their own comfort zone. Some members will still be cautious about mixing whilst others will be raring to get out and about again and to see people for real, not just on Zoom.

Throughout the pandemic LALG has adhered to government guidance and this will continue but we are seeking to do more over the weeks and months ahead whilst not forgetting those who are unable or unwilling to leave home. So here is an outline of what we are planning.

Our Group Support Team continues to provide support and guidance to those groups that want to start in-person activities.

Due to print and production deadlines the newsletter is not always up to date so keep an eye on the website where you will find the latest information or you may be contacted directly by the contact for your group.

However, although we always have lots of ideas for new groups and we get them set up, the stumbling block is then finding people to keep them going. For example, we have had lots of interest in: Ireland & the Irish Language, Social History, Architecture & Housing, and Countryside, Farming & Wildlife. Now we just need people who can help to run them. If anyone is interested, please email groupsupport@lalg.org.uk.

Many of you have commented how much you have enjoyed our weekly online talks. We have a programme through to the end of May but will then be taking a rest until the autumn. We do not want to embarrass our speakers by having a small audience if we are all off enjoying the sunshine!

From September we are then planning two talks per month: the first restarting the Members’ meetings on the first Monday of the month; the second will be an online one on a Tuesday evening later each month. We also intend to broadcast the Members’ meetings on Zoom so people who cannot get to the Kincaid Hall can still listen in.

Additionally, if any groups would like to reach a wider audience via Zoom we are happy to facilitate that by broadcasting your talks and discussions.

Our concert series is continuing with three more concerts presented in partnership with the Settlement. We are able to have a small audience in the Kincaid Hall in May and June when the concerts will also be broadcast via Zoom. We hope to go to full capacity in the hall in July.

Our series will culminate with a Summer Spectacular on Friday 20 August when we will be entertained by our fellow LALG members and friends from the Settlement. We are still considering what we might offer next season.

We are exploring whether we can get our trips up and running again and whether Members will have the appetite for travel.

In August we hope to run coach and train trips so those Members who want to can enjoy something beyond our locality and we will then assess what to do after that.

In a new venture, over the summer we will be trying out pop-up social events. A gazebo is all we need to create an outside base from which we can welcome LALG members for a chat and meet up. Bring your own chairs and refreshments. We will also be participating in the various festivals organised in and around Letchworth. LALG has a lot to offer, and we want to make sure people know about us!

Our quizzes have remained popular and I’m pleased to say we will continue to give you an opportunity every month to stretch your grey cells. After a summer break they will resume in September. As now, we will run them through the website but we also intend to have one annual in-person quiz so we all have the chance to show off our quizzing prowess, honed no doubt during lockdown! Plus we can all enjoy a drink and supper together, rather than virtually!

During the past months we have been busy forging links with like-minded organisations. We already have a partnership with the Settlement and are expanding our contacts. There are other organisations which offer activities that may be of interest to our Members and you will see information about them popping up in our social media posts, on the website and in the newsletter.

I hope you will find different things that intrigue or engage you. As a start, new LALG member Aman Dhillon has let us have details of 'Tongues of Fire’, an Asian film festival which in 2021 has the theme 'Ray of Hope' and demonstrates the extraordinary journeys that characters go through to shift the power dynamics in their lives. You can find out more at: www.tonguesonfire.com/events.

Our ambitions and opportunities are only limited by the number of volunteers who can help us. If you have time to spare, we can find you something to do!

As we are still in the planning stages I cannot give full details of everything just now. Look out for further information in future newsletters, in my Chair’s emails and on the website.

LALG membership is great value for money at just £10 - or £14 with the paper newsletter. As we are self-funding we rely on that income to make everything happen – plus a lot of people giving their time. So, to join our groups, attend our talks or meetings, come on our trips or enjoy our other events, you need to be a Member.
For now, keep safe and well and I hope we can see each other soon!

Volunteers Week 1 - 7 June

This is an appropriate time to thank everyone who has kept us going for over 30 years, not least in this unusual year. There are masses of people who work behind the scenes, I hope I don’t miss anyone, so in no particular order:

Group contacts and others who help with group activities including the Group Support Team, Membership Team, Web editors, Newsletter editors and proof-readers, Website Technical team, Publicity and social media team, Events team including those who organise our talks, quizzes and other member events and those who provide the refreshments, hand out leaflets, meet and greet, Discount suppliers support, Linked Organisation support, Committee members, past and present.

I’m sure LALG members will want to join me in thanking you for all your efforts on our behalf.

Elaine Fox

 

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