What does a Social Care Curry Club host do?

by George Julian

This is a very common question that we’re asked when we’re arranging Social Care Curry eat-ups, so we though we’d put a post together to point people to. I wanted to start by reiterating that Social Care Curry wouldn’t exist without our volunteer hosts. While you could argue it wouldn’t exist without it’s punters, it certainly wouldn’t be more than a good idea without our lovely hosts. It is these people who encourage, coordinate, arrange, market, book, tweet, welcome, blog and generally support Social Care Curry to make sure that people can actually come together once a quarter to talk social care and eat curry. A quick question and answer for you, based on I’m thinking of volunteering to host….

Q. What would I have to do? The bare minimum is book a curry house and turn up on time to welcome people on the night. Some hosts have taken it upon themselves to market their events, some have spoken to journalists for us, and some are amongst our biggest advocates, but the minimum is enough.

Q. How much time will it require? Hmmm, how long is a piece of string? Again the least amount of time is a couple hours on the night, we try to ensure all curries start at the same time (7pm) although ideally we’d like hosts to be there a little earlier. Any more time than the evening itself is up to you. We manage all the bookings centrally so there is no need to email people or book people on – you’ll receive an email a couple weeks before with your booking numbers at that point, and then again on the day with updated numbers. Some of our larger eat-ups find it easier to negotiate a set menu, so everyone knows in advance what they are paying. This can sometimes take time to arrange, and some additional emails or phonecalls, some of our hosts take it very seriously indeed and trial a number of curry houses to check which serves the best food (this is not a requirement, they’re just curry addicts). 

Q. I don’t tweet much does that matter? Social Care Curry Club started with twitter and this blog, but there is no requirement that you tweet at all, as a host or someone attending. It’s optional, many curriers do, but not all. We’re keen to ensure that the word about Social Care Curry spreads beyond the twittersphere so not tweeting shouldn’t be a barrier to hosting.

Q. Will I get paid? Absolutely not, sorry, everything is voluntary. You are almost guaranteed a spring in your stride the next day when you remember that you helped create something so awesome, and brought so many strangers together, that’s quite special…but it doesn’t pay the bills.

Q. Can I use the opportunity to promote my business/product/vacant posts I need filling? We are incredibly strict about this, and it’s a big fat no. People have repeatedly told us that the lack of hierarchy, combined with the no sales environment, is what makes Social Care Curry Club so appealing, so you can not use it as an opportunity to promote yourself or your product, sorry.

Q. Will I enjoy it? Ummm, if you’ve got this far through the post, and are still considering it, yeh I reckon you will. It takes a certain type of person to be prepared to pitch up at a curry house and meet a bunch of strangers, but we think it’s worth it, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy it too. Feedback so far has suggested the only bit of the exercise that is not enjoyable, is working out the bill, which you can of course avoid if you negotiate a set menu.

Q. I’m not very senior/I’m a student/I don’t work in social care…can I still host? Yes, yes and yes. Our hosts come with a range of experience and identities. The only requirement is the requirement to attend Social Care Curry – that you love social care and love curry. If that’s you, then you’re welcome to volunteer to  host.

Q. Why do some eat-ups have two hosts? Since we started Social Care Curry Club last year all manner of spanners have been thrown in the works, mostly related to illness, horrendous weather and travel delays. In fact at the last eat-up neither of our Scottish hosts, Jon or Anna, could make it to the venue, leaving a gallant Tim Kelly to step into the breach with a couple of hours notice. We like to think we’re reflective learners, and therefore our preference is always to have two hosts at an eat-up, to account for some of these challenges that can’t be anticipated. We are also keen to match together hosts that don’t know each other, which has resulted in some brilliant collaborations so far.

Q. How do you decide who gets to host? This is tricky, anyone who knows us will know that my (George) geographical knowledge is completely and utterly dire, and that Matt’s obsession with curry renders him almost incapable of saying no to the idea of curry, so there isn’t an exact science. So far we’ve said yes to everyone who has volunteered to host, although last time there were some eat-ups very close together. Our plan is to get the names and locations of people willing to host now (5 Feb) and we’ll make a decision on who and where in a week to ten days (depending on how many of you volunteer). This is our third quarterly meet up so where possible we are looking to build our network of hosts, but we do have a number of very experienced hosts who have offered to partner up, or provide support to new people.

I think that’s it, any more questions just send us a tweet @SocialCareCurry or leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Here’s to March 6 eat-up being our best yet.

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