In the second of our “hub hosting” series, Carol Chamberlain tells us of her experience and reflections of hosting a cross-sector hub in Lanarkshire:
How we started it
Following the three national u.lab events that took place in summer 2015 (click here for videos of the preparatory events), and the invitation that was out there to form hubs, I put an invitation out initially to about 15 people. What also happened, and I think will happen with any hub forming is that the word of mouth acts as a strong medium for this and just through talking and sharing and others hearing the enthusiasm and excitement that comes from being involved with u.lab, is that those curious for change will be attracted to come along. This is what happened with our hub. Although I put the invitation out, I was conscious that there had been at least three other people from different organisations/sectors who had attended the national events so I was confident that the passion was there to get together. Even writing this I am uncomfortable writing I was, as it is/was clear from an early stage that the collectivism was there from the beginning and you are part of a “we, us, “experience and not an “I, me”
We all agreed that we would meet weekly during the course of the MOOC, (Massive Open Online Course) That was the easy bit…..knowing that sufficient people were hooked and keen to continue the learning from the national events on u.lab that had taken place. There were enough of us from Lanarkshire who are concerned around social and health inequalities and agreed to look at collectively getting together in a hub and seeing where it took us. We had the hub guideline booklet (updated version here) to keep us straight in how we wanted to work with this and the rest just flowed. Weeks 2-5, we hired the welfare club through contacts of one of the Hub members and we found it very fitting that we were hosted , looking at inequalities, in the miners welfare club. We laughed , we cried, we shared, we drew, we ate scones and drank tea and we “chewed the fat” (talked), but good fat and we used graphics to capture our journey.
What didn’t work:
We didn’t make as much progress with case clinics as we may have liked as we tended to chew the fat for a Scottish bit longer. I think it is quite useful to have people in the hub who wish to and can take on a role of facilitating (not leading) that along and that this is agreed at the beginning of a hub even if it is on a rotational basis.
What we wished we’d known:
It may have been useful to have been more cognisant as to how intensive some of the content is/was and maybe making more of a commitment collectively to have agreed what we would cover in preparation for meeting up again the following week. However we went with the flow and agreed this was our flow.
What would we do differently?
Probably schedule in a sort of timetable as to how we could best use the time over the agreed period of the hub and in relation to course content a bit more with an agreement that we would try to cover certain areas of course content so that we could be as much up to speed with some of the tools that are employed. But we all had a ball and still meet as a hub and have made good strong friendships out of our hub.