Branches Forum – 7th September Guilford

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					Branches Forum – 7th September Guilford
Attendees
Joanna Rooke            Manager of Regional Programmes
Natalie Broadhurst      Regional Programmes Officer
Dan Richards            Regional Officer for the South of England
Jo Harris               Regional Officer for Wales and Northern Ireland
Natalie Lane            Regional Officer for the North of England
Sandy Smith             Regional Officer for Scotland
Phil Brown              Regional Officer for the East Midlands

Audrey Matthews         Leicestershire and Rutland
Huw James               South Wales
Jim Brightwell          Hampstead Scientific society
Neasan O'Neill          Central London
John Brown              Oxfordshire
Roy Goldsmith           Bedfordshire
Elizabeth Scanlon       Northumbria
Brian Ratcliffe         Aberdeen
Lucy Chappell           Thames Valley
Eric Albone             Bristol and Bath
Colin Wilkinson         Northumbria
Geoff Parsons           Nottinghamshire
Audrey Matthews         Leicestershire



News and updates
Welcome and news and updates were given by Joanna Rooke (JR)

There have been a few changes to the regions and branches, we have implemented
minimum requirements, quarterly reports to inform council reports and stopped issuing
supporter lists. HQ will issue supporter newsletters from now on. New supporter newsletter
format is almost ready and should be in use, hopefully, by the end of the month. Will be
able to see who reads the articles, who delete straight away, what they read etc – should
be able to provide some really useful information.

Update: The new newsletter format has been delayed slightly; we are hoping to have them
ready by November.

So far, everyone seems to be fairly happy with these changes and we haven’t had any
major problems.

Natalie Broadhurst (NB) is putting together the schedule for quarterly reports in line with the
Council meetings and will let Branches know ASAP.
Update: Dates have been set and can be seen in the Branch members area of the
website

Feedback from council over the last meetings has been very positive and they are really
happy to see the breadth of activity going on and the new people coming in. They
understand that the summer is traditionally a quiet time and are looking forward to hearing
about all of the events happening over the autumn period.

NSEW
Dates are 12 – 21 March and the theme is Earth. We’re currently in planning stages but are
looking at developing a number of biodiversity related projects, competitions and features
around biodiversity – in line with the International Year of Biodiversity.

Would be great to see branches running events during the week along this theme to add
weight and breadth to the programme – or if anyone has any good ideas for projects,
please let me know.

Information session – on Tuesday in Lecture Theatre A at 3pm. Will give a bit more
information about the Week and it will be a chance to chat with other organisers. There is
a full schedule of sessions across the country – if you are interested in attending a session in
your area, please speak to your RO who will let you know where/when it will be.

NSEW officer, Jenny Beard, has now unfortunately left us and we will making an
announcement about her replacement shortly once the details have been finalised.

Update: Dan Richards has now been appointed as the National Science and Engineering
Week Officer and is now in post. Dan was previously the RO for the south of England, a new
RO will be appointed in December.

Scottish Government Money
We have been successful in a grant application from the Scottish Government for running
a Scottish Branches Forum, a series of Sci-Screen events and a series of remote and rural
events – being run by Scottish Branches.

They only provide 75% of costs so trying to fundraise for the remaining 25%. We will have to
look more closely at evaluation for the future to be able to support these applications. Or
Branches will have to support these costs.

Changes in Strategic Grant Schedule
There used to be a strategic grant round in Feb and August and an NSEW grant in January.
The schedule has now been moved to: Strategic grants – April and August. NSEW grants –
December. (14th December)

We will have to look at the strategic grants and also at local fundraising a bit more closely
as there is much more competition for a very small pot of money – not really sustainable.

Sciencelive
We are trying to promote Sciencelive in advance of NSEW – please encourage your
speakers or experts to register online at www.sciencelive.net
Branch budgets – October 12th 2009
The Finance team have asked to receive outline budgets from the branches by the 12th
October – just need a general outline – how will your activity compare to last year? Do you
anticipate any new sources of funding?

Film information
After the last branches forum – the regional team said they would put together some
information for branches on the use of film in their events. We’ve nearly done this but still
need to add some information – will pass this on once it is completed.

Institute of Physics' Public Engagement Grant Scheme 2010
Deadline 6th November – Central London Branch were successful in securing this in the last
round if you need any advice.




Thames Valley: “we-create” events
Lucy Chappell (LC) the chair of the Thames Valley Branch gave a talk on a series of “we-
create” events that the branch will soon be running.

The aim of we create is to bring local people and communities closer to science. The
branch are working with RISC (Reading International Solidarity Centre) on these events.
RISC works with schools, community organisations and the public; raising the profile of
international issues and promoting action for sustainable development, equality and social
justice
www.risc.org.uk. They chose to work with RISC for a number of reasons; they are a
community-involved organisation, engaged with fuller spectrum of community than the
branch have easy access to, they are trusted, established, have funding – willing to
support activities and are really nice people. The branch have also previously worked with
RISC on joint events: sciSCREEN in the Global Café and Bee Adventures family fun day on
the Roof Garden.

Due to the success of previous events RISC felt potential of working together. They were
also interested in the art-science mix and interested in longer-term projects rather than
one-off events. The branch wanted to access areas of the community which they would
not normally attract – “the not yet interested”, to share science in a non-exclusive and not
traditional and unconventional way. They were also intrigued by the potential of a cross
over between science and art and also didn’t want to put people off by labeling it as a
science event.

Each event is designed for a targeted group within the community – this enables them to
design events for groups which they would normally not be able to access (e.g. older Asian
community). Different media will be used for each event, making sure it is appropriate for
each group. The events will be in familiar non-threatening places and free.

Event example: we create: DIY futures
If you were to design a town from scratch what would it look like? Groups of people will
work together with a facilitator. Brief - town needs to be sustainable and a pleasant place
to live; giving particular thought to innovative energy, housing and transport. Facilitator
introduces these topics and helps group to start thinking about the issues behind them (e.g.
wind turbine pros and cons – how might we design them better in the future?). Group
creates their town using a range of artistic materials to represent it. Part of the Reading
International Festival. RISC want to use DIY Futures to rollout as part of an activity for schools

we create: Reflections
A group of older adults (in this instance from the Asian community) thinking about how
innovation and new knowledge has changed their lives and the way they live over a
lifetime, reflecting back on ‘then’ and considering ‘now’. Younger volunteers will also work
with the participants to help to draw and paint (to represent) these reflections.

Action: Regional team to put together information on event evaluation for branches to be
posted on website.

Structured Networking
Branch members working in groups discussed the following:

   • Future event across the branches – brainstorm and plan
   • Branch Communications – How does your branch communicate outside of meetings?
     Is there a need for your branch to talk to other branches to exchange ideas and
     advice? If so, which methods of communication would you use? Ning, Google Group,
     Email list, Facebook etc...
   • Health and Safety – Risk Assessments. As part of the new minimum requirements for
     branches, branches are required to adhere to all health and safety guidelines and
     undertake risk assessments of their events. Discuss your current processes for dealing
     with health and safety...

Feedback:
Future event across the branches: To do a biodiversity jigsaw with each branch
contributing part of the jigsaw. The jigsaw would be made up by different branches
holding events and the idea would be that that they all come together for a large event
during NSEW. Other ideas were to use more unusual venues and to do outside activities.

Branch Communications: Most branches communicate with each other via email. The ning
site is not really working and branch members are not really keen to use it. Members from
different branches do want to communicate with each other. An email distribution list was
suggested as the best solution.

Action: The regional team will create an email distribution list for all branch members.

Health and Safety – Risk Assessments: Branches are confused about risk assessment, some
do it and others don’t. They would like more information on how to carry out a risk
assessment and some examples.
Action: The regional team will put more information on risk assessment on the website
including some examples and guidelines.


Training Session – Evaluation
Emily Dawson (ED) from Kings College gave a talk on evaluation and the different ways
which this can be done. She started by having a discussion with the group about the types
of evaluation they used at their events. ED then talked through the different ways of
collecting data and ways that you can improve the process.

As most people use questionnaire style evaluation forms ED focussed on these, she talked
about who is filling in these forms and the best time to get people to fill them in. ED also
spoke about what the questions used in questionnaires and ethics involved in this, thinking
about what people will actually fill in.

It can be useful to use a combination of the different evaluation tools available at your
events.

Branch members were then divided into groups and given different types of evaluation
form to look at and discuss.

Action: The regional team will put more information on the website about evaluation and
the different methods of carrying it out including some examples and guidelines.

				
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