Social Care Curry Club

Love curry? Love social care? You are in!

Tag: canada

December eat-ups


So we’re back again in the final fortnight before our December eat-up. As ever we’re amazed and delighted at the support shown by curriers to arrange, promote, host and attend Social Care Curry Club. Four months ago this was just an idea and since then:

The network of curriers has also grown exponentially, from just Matt and I to over 1000 followers on twitter. We’re delighted that we have over 200 curriers booked to attend the December eat-up, and perhaps even more importantly, we have 21 UK venues and Vancouver on offer this time, which means that there’s more choice of local curry. As with last time the proof of the poppadom is in the eating but we’re quietly optimistic that a good time will be had by all.

You still have time to book your place, bookings will close a week today so that numbers can be finalised with curry houses. So, if you love social care and love curry and find yourself with a couple hours spare on Thursday 5 December, what are you waiting for. Full list of options as follows:

Baker Street with Jemima and Rich

Brighton with Lucy and Susan

Bristol with Rose and Tim

Cambridge with Dominic and Care Home Cook

Canterbury with Kimberley Care

Dawley with Pete

Derby with LACDerby

Dundee with Anna and Jon

Frome with Rachel

Hereford with Wayne and Louise

Leeds with Elly

Liverpool with Louise and Options

Luton with Age Concern Luton and Beth

Lye with Paul and Kate

Newbury with Rachael

Newcastle with Beverly

Oxford with Burcu

Preston with Amanda

Sheffield with Patient OpinionCare Opinion and Paul

Tunbridge Wells with Graham

Vancouver with Ernie

Wimbledon with Chloë and Jo

Getting ready for our December eat-up

Well what do you know, you lovely curriers have surpassed our expectations yet again. Two days ago we received our 100th booking for the December eat-up which is taking place across the country on Thursday 5 December at 7pm. We now have 15 locations in the UK and one in Vancouver and it looks like the December eat-up may prove even more popular than September when we had over 200 people.

In alphabetical order, what follows are the locations, the venues and the hosts. If you click on the location it will pull up the booking page for that curry; click on the hosts names to get their twitter handles if you’d like to contact them directly about anything.

Baker Street at Cinnamon Spice with Jemima and Rich

Brighton at Chilli Pickle with Lucy and Susan

Dawley at Bengal Spice with Pete

Derby at Viceroy with LACDerby

Frome at Jhalmuri with Rachel

Leeds at Aagrah with Elly

Luton at Red Chilli with Age Concern Luton and Beth

Lye at Balti Bazaar with Paul and Kate

Newbury at Nawab with Rachael

Newcastle at Rani with Beverly

Oxford at Chutneys with Burcu

Preston at Kashti with Amanda

Sheffield at Aagrah with Patient OpinionCare Opinion and Paul

Tunbridge Wells at Turmeric Gold with Graham

Vancouver at Jambo Grill with Ernie

Wimbledon at Ahmed Tandoori with Chloë and Jo

From our perspective it’s the more the merrier when it comes to eat-ups. There are no minimum or maximum numbers, only two entry requirements – love social care and love curry, and as ever only one rule – no sales. So if you’d like to goto curry but can’t travel to any of the ones already organised then let us know where you’d like to hold it and we’ll add you to the list. More on what is involved is in our last blog post here.

We are fairly confident that we’ll open bookings to a number of eat-ups in the planning stages in the next week or so. These are likely to be in: Cambridge, Dundee and Liverpool. There is also talk of at least one in Wales, one in Canterbury, one in Hereford, one in Hertfordshire and one in Leicester – so do leave a comment or send us a tweet if you’re interested in any of these venues and we’ll do what we can to get them happening.

Here’s to a December eat-up to end the year on a high.

The club for those who love curry and social care

After the success of the September eat-ups we were delighted to be asked to write a piece for The Guardian Social Care Network. Published a couple weeks ago it got a brilliant response and no doubt raised awareness and helped NCASC #socialcarecurry again exceed our wildest expectations; we now have 65 people booked on with final five spaces available here. This week I’m in Canada presenting at #KTNConf and there has been a lot of interest in the idea when I’ve mentioned it over coffee. I realised I’d not cross posted the Guardian article here, so what follows is the text from that piece. We’ll return to the blog again after next week is out the way and start organising Dec 5 in earnest.

The club for those who love curry and social care: This ‘edible’ networking initiative – where hierarchies don’t apply – enables people to share ideas and views

Earlier this year a chance conversation on Twitter led to the most unusual of networks forming, the Social Care Curry Club. Variously billed as edible networking, curry induced knowledge exchange, and a good excuse to eat curry and chat social care, the appetite for curry has surpassed all expectations.

The basic premise is very simple. If you love curry and love social care, then you’re in. There are no more requirements than that. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you know about social care, where your experience comes from, whether you consider yourself an expert or a novice. The only requirement is that you can answer those two questions positively and that you follow the one rule: no sales. People come as themselves, they are not representing their organisation, there are no pitches or presentations, no powerpoints, prezzis or podcasts. This is quite simply curry and chat.

Recent budget cuts have had a phenomenally detrimental impact on social care. Services are cut, jobs are lost, morale is low, and yet people are spending their own money and giving up their own time to attend Social Care Curry Club. At a time when large scale conferences are seeing a drop off in attendance, perhaps due to issues of cost, travel restrictions, work overload and relevance, why is curry club proving so popular?

We’ve asked ourselves that question many times and to be honest we don’t know, it’s too early to tell really. Our hunch is that it’s something to do with the simplicity of the idea; the ease of access for people to attend, the September event had 12 eat-ups across the UK and one in Canada; and the lack of hierarchy, feedback stressed this a lot, whether you are someone who uses social care services, a newly qualified social worker, a researcher or a policy maker, or indeed the Director General for Social Care (and yes he did attend), is irrelevant.

The lack of rules or structure is also key. There are no stipulations of how the evening should be run, how bills should be paid, what people should talk about. In fact we have no idea what people talked about, and we are quite happy with that. It is for each individual to set their agenda and manage their own experience, so autonomy is key too.

So far supported by a twitter account, a blog and an eventbrite page, we have built a network of 700 people. What started with one small gathering of nine in Birmingham in July, was followed by over 200 people coming together internationally in September. Our other killer ingredient is that the network organises itself. Local gatherings would not have been possible without the support of our volunteer hosts who take responsibility for booking the curry house, meeting and greeting on the day and ensuring the bill is paid at the end of the night.

The ultimate question has to be whether this will improve social care? Honestly, we don’t know. This was just a throwaway conversation that led to a simple idea, and our growth is very organic. Hopefully coming together over curry will enable people to share experiences, ideas and views about social care. Doubtless that will mean different things to each person, but ultimately we hope it supports people to build their resilience and connectivity, and that in turn will have a positive impact on practice.

George Julian is a freelance knowledge transfer consultant and Matt Bowsher is assistant director at Dudley Metropolitan borough council.

Social Care Curry Club September Round-Up

Wow, what to say, where to start. Thank you all so much for supporting such great Social Care Curry Club eat-ups last week. We are still buzzing at the enthusiasm, energy, commitment and positive vibes that surrounded our eat-ups across the UK and in Canada.

Ruth, the editor of Community Care pulled together a blog post the morning after the night before and we were delighted that Social Care Curry Club made it to their front page. You can read it here. What follows is a largely pictorial record of our first ever consecutive eat-ups. We would very much welcome your input too so please feel free to add a comment or tweet us your highlights, and of course any learning points, we are keen to keep improving.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.41.08

First up was Vancouver where Ernie hosted 16 friends and colleagues including

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.49.58Vancouver Vancouver’s conversation snapped by host @ejbaatz. Then once our Canadian curriers were tucked up in bed the UK action started to develop:

CardiffCardiff’s calm before the curry club storm snapped by co-host @spinjayGlasgow Mother India’s menu snapped by @BonklesoulGlasgowFashionAccompanied by some fashion advice from co-host @Iandubya snapped by @C_Lightowler Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.58.46

SouthamptonPreserving twitter anonymity if required with amazing masks in Southampton! Snapped by host @JaxRaffertyLeeds The lovely Leeds curriers from @lo_jay

CanterburyCanterbury host @AdelinaCoHe with a curry that needed a big reveal! Taken by co-host @UK_JamesBrightonBrighton seemed rather posh with an amuse-bouche between courses, snapped by @IndeplivingLondon London however opted for a buffet, seen here in full swing, captured by host @BPotter38ManchesterManchester included a pair of newly-weds Mel and George snapped by co-host @Carey_Bamber along with a crowd of curriers ManchesterGroup BirminghamThe Birmingham contingent appear to have stuck to liquid refreshment!! Snapped by co-host @EddieC10 and in a later post we’ll share the result!

For now we’ll round this post off with some of the feedback tweets, please feel free to add your thoughts to this post too and don’t forget to pop 5 December into your diary now.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.54.15Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 00.29.00Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 00.12.49Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 00.13.52Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 00.32.14

Good luck curriers

When Matt and I initially discussed Social Care Curry Club we envisaged a handful of people coming together, to talk about social care and enjoy a curry. It was intended to be a relaxed and casual interaction, no presentations, no sales, no pitches, just people who cared about social care coming together.

We’ll let you into a badly kept secret now, we completely underestimated the appetite and interest that there would be. Times are hard, psychologically and financially, this isn’t exactly the best climate to try and introduce a concept of edible networking. Yet so far our simple idea has seemed to grab people’s attention. The proof will be in what happens over the next 24 hours and whether the appetite remains for future eat-ups, but if the interest so far is anything to go by we seem to be onto a good thing.

In two short months, when lots of people have been taking summer holidays and we’re always warned not to try and arrange anything, this has gone from a throwaway chat on twitter about who we’d most like to have curry with, and grown into the curry monster that it is today! So what does success look like so far? Well:

  • we have had a couple months of conversation about curry with some out of this world currytastic puns and now have 550 followers on twitter
  • we have been encouraged and supported by our network of curry lovers to grow this idea from a gathering that rotated around the UK to one that pops up anywhere globally
  • we have twenty volunteer hosts who will meet and greet on the night, who have liaised with curry houses and punters and carried the responsibility on their shoulders
  • we have had over three thousand hits on this blog so far
  • we have three spin offs that we know of @OTCurry, @PharmacyCurry and @SchGovCurry
  • we have contacted Norman Lamb and Aileen Campbell and are optimistically in negotiations about having a Social Care Curry Club eat-up in Westminter and Holyrood
  • we have twelve UK eat-ups in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Canterbury, Cardiff, Chesterfield, Dorchester, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Southampton, and
  • we have one international eat-up in Vancouver.

We are still getting bookings and expect one or two last minute cancellations, but at this point in time 233 people will come together tomorrow. That’s over two hundred people who love social care and curry and living testament that sometimes simple ideas work. Have a great curry night wherever you are and don’t forget the hashtag #socialcarecurry

September eat-ups names

You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think

I’ve been musing this weekend about our forthcoming eat-ups, most of which still have a handful of space if you’d care to join them – book here for the UK and here for Canada. I was thinking about how brave it is to agree to come along for a curry, with a bunch of complete strangers who you know nothing about. I mean obviously I think it’s a great idea, and I’m not trying to put anyone off, and I did just this back in July in Birmingham, but I at least knew Matt B would be there and I had met a number of the people attending before.

So, what of those of you who don’t know anyone. I guess this post is acknowledgement of the courage it takes and the potential anxiety you may experience in doing so. What I would like to reassure you of is that there are no gurus, experts, leaders or specialists when it comes to Social Care Curry Club. We’re all learning, together. With the exception of the nine people who met in July everyone is in the same boat, completely new to it, unsure of how the evening will go, who they’ll sit next to, what they’ll have to talk about. There won’t be any presentations, talks, show boating or showing off, well we really hope there wont be.

Each venue will have at least one volunteer host, you can meet some of them here. These lovely people have agreed to get to the restaurant on time, so no-one will be on their own. They will do their best to give everyone a warm welcome and then it’s over to the rest of us, the remaining two hundred odd people. It’s probably an obvious thing to say, but remember to look out for people, be welcoming, say hello and don’t form cliques in a corner. Of course catch up with people you’ve been long waiting to meet on twitter, or who you haven’t seen in a while, but it’s worth remembering that there is a huge range of people attending, with considerable variety of experiences and knowledge of social care, and you all have something to offer.

So if you’re still uncertain about whether to come I’d really like to encourage you to give it a go. We’re confident that there will be a warm welcome for each of you, and you don’t need to do anything but turn up, enjoy curry and speak to the person you’re sat next to. We promise we won’t put you on the spot, or ask you to answer difficult questions, or stand up and introduce yourself. If you’re particularly shy then maybe just let your host know (in advance or when you arrive – tweet/DM us if you don’t know who your host is) and they’ll find someone for you to talk to.

If this feels like overkill then you probably don’t need the advice that follows, but if it doesn’t then remember, the advice of A.A. Milne to Christopher Robin “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think“.

NPG x19574; Alan Alexander ('A.A.') Milne; Christopher Robin Milne and Pooh Bear by Howard Coster

Enjoy the curry everyone, and please do give it a go.

Welcome Vancouver

Hello Canada MapWhen we started Social Care Curry Club we never, ever, considered that people would be as interested as they have been. We are completely blown away with the interest and support for such a simple idea. Yesterday we stretched our eat-ups to double figures when Brighton joined the UK list of curry club gatherings.

Today something even more wild than that happened! Ernie got in touch to say that they were thinking of arranging a gathering in Vancouver! The term social care isn’t used over there so they have called their curry eat-up Connecting Over Curry, we’ll have a blog post from them in due course, but you can also book to join them if you’re based near Vancouver or are holidaying or conferencing in Canada. They are meeting up on 4 September, more info in the link.

It has began to feel a bit like we may have underestimated the pull of the social care curry! In a few short weeks we have over two thousand hits on this blog, over 400 hundred followers on twitter, eighteen volunteer hosts, ten UK and one international eat-ups, and 165 people meeting up together in September. All with only one membership criteria, love social care and love curry, and one rule – don’t sell anything.

Once again thank you all for your support and please do drop us a tweet or leave a comment if you’d like to organise a social care curry eat-up where you are.

*Map based on Blank World Map Slate File by $200inaire