Lapidus South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (The Hoodlums) were established in January. We applied for a small grant to enable us to put on a launch event in order to publicise the group and attract more members.
This launch event took place on Saturday 21st April in central Sheffield. Our grant paid for a room at the Theatre Deli (a new community venue); and for the printing of a colourful and attractive leaflet, which the organisers distributed throughout the local area. Use of online advertising was also productive – particularly a free mention in the Derbyshire Writers Newsletter.
On the day of the event, eleven people joined the three organisers, making a healthy-sized group. We asked people to sign in on arrival and to leave their email addresses so that we can send out alerts for future meetings. Others who were unable to join us on the day have asked to be added to the mailing list. We also asked people to tell us where they had travelled from so that we can make informed decisions on where future meetings should be held. Around half came from Sheffield, with the remainder travelling from various parts of Derbyshire.
After introductions and a short warm up write which asked people to think about why they had come along, the main activities began. These were planned and led by Lizzie Dunford. Jeannie Wright led the introductions and was on hand to provide individual support if needed while Sarah Walters has provided administration. The first activity was based around a poem called ‘The Door’ by Miroslav Holub. The writers were encouraged to use a word or a line from the poem as a springboard for their own work. Visual and written prompts were available to help. We were given 15 minutes to see where this took us. After this, we split into 2s or 3s to talk about what we had written and then we came back together as a group. We were given the option to share part of what we had created, or simply say which part of the poem had inspired us.
The all-important tea break followed. Now that our writing had opened us all up, we chatted and discovered more about each other. After joining back together, Jeannie talked about Lapidus and what membership meant.
Our next activity was again informed by a poem – this time it was ‘Colour’ by Christina Rossetti. We were given access to a range of coloured pens and crayons and invited to play with them and create our own piece of colour themed creative writing. On joining back together, we were invited to say the name of our chosen colour and something about it. This formed our own group colour poem, to be typed and shared between us all by email.
At the close of the session, each person attending was given a blank postcard and invited to write a positive comment about the afternoon. They could then take this away with them as a happy reminder. We asked for photos of these comments to be sent in so that we can post them on our Facebook page.
“Excellent session, exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
“My surprise and pleasure at how writing took me to unexpected places.”
“Enjoyed meeting others.”
“A lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.”
The next meeting (29th May, Chesterfield) was discussed along with a strategy for the future of the group. This launch event has proved to be a foundation that our new group needed and we look forward to some well attended and stimulating branch meetings in the future.