Tuesday, 19 June 2018


Last weekend (June 9th) was the AGM of the UK HSP Support Group. The presentations made will cover my next few blog posts.

This blog post covers the AGM, and gives you the behind-the-scenes view of the approach. This AGM was my first as chair of the group, so I was a little nervous about it. I kept having thoughts running through my head - what I have I forgotten to do? who have I forgotten to contact? what will go wrong? Have I done enough preparation?

In the last few months us trustees had been working on several "big ticket" items, and the AGM was the place for those all to come into play. The key items were:

  • Voting in a new constituion
  • Reminding everyone about our data protection policy
The AGM was a success! We passed the threshold for being quorate and were able to vote in the new constitution and elect the trustees for the next period. We agreed the trustee report and accounts, and I was able to thank all the relevant groups of people (members, volunteers, fundraisers and researchers). The new constitution improves the definition around what we do, and allows us to do a few more things, which we need to consider over the coming months. Next step is to get this registered with the Charities Commission.

After the formal part of the AGM we had a set of group discussions. Again, I was a little nervous about how this would work. I had taken part in a set of group discussions at work a few years ago which used the World Cafe style (http://www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/world-cafe-method/) and this worked fairly well for sorting out ideas at that time.

I decided that it would be a good idea to seek members views on what else we could be doing as a group, and through conversations with the trustees there were a number of topics which we wanted opinions on (specifically: complex HSP, young people with HSP, their parents and Fund-raising). We added a further two categories to cover other issues, giving six topics in total) My sister had also used this format at her work, and had said that they work well if you have good facilitators to guide the discussion along. I wrote to a range of UK HSP researchers to ask if they or their colleagues would be happy to be facilitators, and fortunately they were!

That had all the key components in place, and the last challenges were working out how to brief the facilitators so that they knew what we were trying to get out of the discussions and how to introduce the method to all our members. I was really pleased when members just got stuck in to the discussions. We had three good rounds of discussions - round 1 identified and prioritised problems, round 2 identified any solutions for the highest priority problems, and round 3 looked to see which of those solutions the group could do.

After the discussions were complete, each of the facilitator gave a summary of the thoughts and findings from their group. I was quite pleased to find that there were a good number of common themes from across the topics, and we'll be using those findings to work out a forward plan at our next trustee meeting.


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