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Our Hybrid Meeting Policy
Updated February 2023.
In February 2022, we published a hybrid meeting policy in order to communicate to our members our intention in regards to offering in-person and online meetings following the end of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Since then, we have monitored how our hybrid meetings have been going and the views of our members. One year on, it is an appropriate time to review and update our policy in line with our findings.
Review of 2022 hybrid meetings
We have run most main meetings as hybrid meetings. At the start of 2022, the attendance online ranged at around 5-10 people. By the end of 2022, very few, if any, members attended meetings online. No one joined us virtually for our January 2023 main meeting.
Some meetings we were unable to run hybrid. For example, our Jubilee party was run solely in person. As per our policy, we hosted a separate online social. However, attendance at this, and other online-only socials, was very low.
At the end of 2022, we conducted a survey with our members to find out what they were looking for in the future. This did not allow us to conclude if hybrid meetings were still popular or not – we found that there was a split within the membership as to whether or not these should be continued.
However, what was clear from the survey was that members wanted us to do more events in the community and around the city centre, as we did prior to the pandemic. These events are hard to run in a hybrid way, and so if we focus on this we will struggle to provide a comprehensive offer to online-only members.
Our new policy
As a result of our findings, we have decided to update our policy to the following:
We will discontinue offering an online option for our main meetings. This includes discontinuing live streaming our main meetings, and discontinuing replacement online socials (which we held previously when particularly main meetings could not be offered virtually, such as the Jubilee Party)
Sub-groups will continue to be focused on whatsapp and online meetings for the time being. Whether or not these meetings are held in person or online is a decision for the sub-group lead and feedback from members of the sub-group. Based on recent feedback, we anticipate that sub-groups will be a mix of online and in-person events.
Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or want to chat about how we can make Manchester WI work for you! Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous Hybrid Meeting Policy, published February 2022:
Prior to March 2020, Manchester WI hosted monthly main meetings, sub-group meetings and socials in person, making use of a range of venues in and around Manchester City Centre. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, events held from March 2020 were online, and we used Zoom to continue to run regular main meetings and sub-group sessions. In the autumn of 2021, we were able to hold two in person meetings and a social, although sub-group meetings continued to be online. As a WI, we are keen to both return to face-to-face meetings and to continue to offer online meetings. Both forms of meetings have their benefits in terms of inclusivity and this was our main motivation for developing this policy.
Our Covid Safety Measures
First of all, it is important to note that all in-person events arranged by Manchester WI will continue to follow Covid-19 safety guidelines set by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. We will notify our members of any changes to our safety measures and if/when these measures are lifted.
Masks - We encourage all attendees to the event to wear a face mask whilst walking around the venue and the room we have booked. Committee members and speakers are being provided with transparent face masks in line with guidance from Deaf Action.
Sanitisation - We encourage attendees to the event to bring their own hand sanitiser, to use this regularly, and to wash hands regularly. We will be providing hand sanitiser at the entrance, the cake table, and around the room.
Food & drink - Tea and cake is very important to our WI, and so we will be hosting our famous bake sale! We would love for you to bring your homemade bakes, although we do suggest that you bring pre-portioned items (e.g. cupcakes, wrapped biscuits). Any larger cakes, the committee will pre-cut and plate up in advance of sale. Crockery and cutlery is available from the venue, although you are welcome to bring your own mug if you prefer.
We recognise the benefits of offering both face-to-face and online meetings to our members, and have listened to feedback we have received from members in developing this policy.
We commit to running all sub-group meetings online during 2022. In 2023, we will review this policy and explore ways to offer these meetings across the two different formats. Any face-to-face gatherings of sub-groups will be held in addition to the regular schedule (for example, last summer we organised a book swap alongside a picnic as a weekend event, but Bookish Broads ran as usual that month).
We commit to offering hybrid main meetings where this is appropriate. For example, if we have speaker we will run a parallel meeting on zoom to ‘live stream’ the talk and, as long as we have enough committee members to run both sides of the event, facilitate discussion.
If we are not able to run a parallel meeting (for example, our annual ‘school trip’ which would be harder to live stream) we commit to facilitating an online social in that month.
We will launch a survey at membership year end to seek views from our members as to how this policy is working and to inform future decisions.
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