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Bringing People Together in Dudley

Published: 16th November 2020

Top Church in Dudley is partnering with the Centre for Equality and Diversity in the town to set up a ‘Bringing People Together’ group.

An off-shoot of the Places of Welcome network, Bringing People Together is a similar network of groups that meet online either weekly or fortnightly enabling people to take part either via the internet or on the telephone.

Su Parker is the Bringing People Together Co-ordinator for the Black Country. She said: “In the present climate it’s really difficult for people to meet with others for a cuppa and a chat so we offer the chance to do that from home, especially if people are feeling lonely and isolated.”

There are currently seven groups of up to 20 participants meeting across the Black Country, Staffordshire and North Shropshire. The group at Dudley is the latest to be established and was launched on 5 November.

Communities Minister at Kath Poole said: “We weren’t sure when our Places of Welcome group would be feasible again and were very aware that there were a range of people who were stuck at home. Joining the Bringing People Together network was a good opportunity to offer somewhere for them to come virtually and meet others in the community. We decided to partner with the Centre for Equality and Diversity as they also had an established Place of Welcome.”

Bringing People Together offered training on how to set up a group, how to structure the sessions and which technology to use. They also covered the security element to minimise the chance of groups being ‘Zoom bombed’.  Groups usually start with an icebreaker question to get people talking and then will talk generally about how their lives are going at the moment. Sometimes there is the opportunity to play an online game together or take part in a quiz. Bigger groups use breakout rooms to try to give a similar feel to talking around a table.

Sarah Williams from the Centre for Equality and Diversity said: “We have a really diverse range of people at the Centre and this group is a great way to be able to check in on those who we’re not able to see at the moment. People contact us through our support phone line and if they’re feeling isolated, we can point them towards the Bringing People Together group.”

All are welcome to join the group and the team are working to let as many people as possible know about it, including reaching out to ‘social prescribers’ who are linked with GPs to identify those who might be feeling lonely.

“We have invited all those who we know who struggled through the first lockdown and are also speaking to those who drop into the church for private prayer,” said Kath. “The aim is to build a community among those who don’t immediately have that and offer a place where people can make new friends. It is an opportunity to establish connections which don’t rely on people coming to a particular place – they don’t even need to leave the house! Although it has started as a response to the pandemic, there will definitely be benefits to providing this kind of group long-term.”

The Top Church Bringing People Together group meets on Thursdays at 1.30pm. If you would be interested in setting up your own group, please visit www.bringingpeopletogether.org.uk

Page last updated: Monday 16th November 2020 4:03 PM
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