The first time you bring everybody together might make you nervous, but there is a lot you can do to prepare. It might be a good idea to arrange for someone you know to come with you to take notes and generally help out. It's also important that someone knows where you are and what time you will be home – consider your own safety too. Think about what your role will be and what you are comfortable with doing.
Things to remember
- The first steps at the meeting are to explain why you arranged the meeting, and what you hope to achieve. Be clear and to be honest, this gives everybody the opportunity to make sure you are all working towards the same goal.
- Get to know each other and let people share why they are there, and what is important to them. It is also a good opportunity for you to explain that you are someone like them, looking to change how people think and act about mental health. People may also like to share what skills and assets they feel they have that would work well in the group.
- It is important to discuss how you want to work with each other, and decide if there are any ground rules and expectations.
- Make sure everyone knows how Champions campaign using social contact - take a look here for more details
- Give people the opportunity to share their availability and their ability to commit. Once you have this information, you can plan for future meetings, letting people know how they will find out about them, so that everybody has every opportunity to attend. It is important to try and be consistent so that people can keep track of meetings.
- It is important for everybody to understand what your aims and goals are, and if possible how and by when you want to achieve them. It is also important that people understand what being involved would mean in terms of committing their time.
- Get contact details that people are comfortable sharing, agree on a next date, time and venue for your meeting, and ask people to complete the Time to Change Champion online registration if they are not already signed up.
..Enjoy yourselves and get to know each other. You don't have to get things perfect on the first day. You've come together because you'd like to change how people think and act about mental health in your community - you're doing a great thing and hopefully this is the beginning of a fun, rewarding experience for all of you.