Social Care Curry Club

Love curry? Love social care? You are in!

Tag: curry

Calling all hosts – June 5 eat-up

It’s that time again, the stomachs have started grumbling, the distant whispers of the relative merits of bhuna or jalfrezi can be heard if you listen really carefully, and the tweets are starting to pile up asking about the next curry club. Social Care Curry Club will return on June 5 2014 and we’re now at a stage of requesting hosts so please do get in touch. As ever with curry there aren’t really any rules except no sales, and you must pass the love social care, love curry test. If you can say yes to all of those then you’re welcome.

Birmingham

We are trying to spread the hosting around a little, so if you’ve hosted more than twice before please try to pass your responsibilities onto someone new! We also would much prefer pairs of hosts, if you don’t know someone that’s fine, we’ll get you a partner in crime but inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances have meant we’ve lost several hosts on the night/just before – we know it happens, so we’re trying to plan for it. In fact on one fateful night last year the amazing Tim stepped up to the Scottish curry club mantle after we lost not one, but two hosts, due to flooding. So, pairs it is.

If you’d like to host please add your name and location (exact venue if you know it or town if not) below in the comments section and we’ll set the eventbrite page up for bookings. Some of you have already offered publicly and privately, please add a comment here or DM again and we’ll work it out. There’s a post that goes into the role of host here, it will probably answer every hosting question you have, if it doesn’t then please send us a tweet or leave us a comment.

JuneSCCC

March 6 eat-up

I’ll start this post by apologising for not being more on the ball with the March eat-up. Social Care Curry Club, awesome as it is, is all squeezed into what spare time we have and there hasn’t been a lot of it lately, so we’re a bit behind on getting organised. That said we have 12 confirmed eat ups for March 6, which is just under a fortnight away. Confirmed eat-ups and hosts are:

Bournemouth with @RachelMason247 + Chris (?)

Bristol with @RoseHarwood1 and @jmcefalas

Exeter with @SamSly2 and @GCT1968

Guildford with @SurreyMHSW and @Andrew_Ellery

Lancaster with @HannahnagroM and @CathHill2

Leeds with @LisaJJeffery and @DaveCockayne

London with @MrDarrenGormley and @jaimeelewis

Luton with @AgeConcernLuton and @SheroneHD

St Albans with @Mwharvey and @4370Raj

Tunbridge Wells with @GrahamShaw4 and @RogerGibson9

Worcester with @robbowainiho and @natalielackenby

We’re also looking for co-hosts for the following venues:

Cheshire with @annemariePHB

Maidstone with @Jo_Frazer

We are also happy to have more eat-ups if there isn’t one near you and you fancy hosting. Just get in touch @SocialCareCurry and we’ll add you to the list. Keep an eye on our eventbrite page where the eat-ups will be added once we have confirmed venues from hosts.

What does a Social Care Curry Club host do?

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.

#NCASC13 #socialcarecurry eat-up write up

Last week saw our biggest ever gathering of curriers come together in Harrogate. Eighty people, some who were attending the National Children and Adult Services Conference, and others who were local to the area, some who were completely new to Social Care Curry Club, others had been before and some had hosted, all came along to Jinnah to enjoy a fantastic evening of curry, social care, banter and show stopping naans!
NCASC13_naanSomething that several hosts commented on in feedback from the September eat-ups was the challenge of arranging the bill at the end of the night. There were various approaches, formulas, numerical whizz kids and post it note uses but the thought of settling a bill for eighty was too much for us to cope with. So, keen to learn from our feedback, and despite a fear that people may not carry cash we arranged a banquet to the table for the absolute bargain price of £12 a head, and we asked for payment on arrival.

We’re all about the learning in Social Care Curry Club and it’s fair to say we hadn’t expected it to take almost an hour to collect the money upfront, but there was much banter and enjoyment and there was a great buzz in the bar area so no-one seemed to mind. If we ever have as big a gathering again though we may think of a slightly more high tech solution than a bar tray of cash, but it worked, and we were all paid up and ready to go.
RestaurantWe almost filled the restaurant with social care curriers (nearly everyone in this picture and thirty people in a raised area on the left that you can’t see) and I do feel sorry for anyone else who chose to try and have a quiet curry that night, including these two Germans and a Dutchman accosted by Pete Jackson while taking snaps, although to be fair they seemed happy with the atmosphere:
VisitorsAs for the actual conversation of the night, it appeared to be eclectic and wide ranging as ever. At least one table reported barely mentioning social care all evening, others were deep into the possibilities of mobile technology, meals on wheels, research, policy and practice. The most important thing for us is that everyone had a good time, that those who came knowing no-one were welcomed and that people were left feeling slightly rejuvenated and better about life than when they walked in. The feedback we’ve received so far seems unanimous on those counts.
Screenshot 2013-10-21 10.51.54It was relatively high risk running social care curry at conference (or so we thought), initially we only booked for 40, extending to 50, 60, 70 and eventually stopping at 80. We were also delighted to be joined by some friends and curriers who had other engagements that evening but made it along for a drink afterwards. The brilliant Jinnah staff eventually saw the back at us just before 1am as people headed home or back to their hotel rooms for some much needed shut eye before day two of conference.

Richard Humphries shared a Charles Handy quote on twitter this weekend, relating to change:

Why we cannot wait for governments and large corporations to mend our broken and breaking country

“The hope lies in the unknown, in that second curve, if we can find it. The world is up for reinvention in so many ways. Creativity is born in chaos. What we do, what we belong to, why we do it, when we do it, where we do it – these all may be different and they could be better. Our societies, however, are built on case law. Change comes from small initiatives which work, initiatives which, imitated, become the fashion. We cannot wait for great visions from people, for they are in short supply at the end of history. It is up to us to light our own small fires in the darkness”.

We hope that Social Care Curry Club provides a small fire to warm and lighten the path for people. It is not, and was not ever intended to be more than a creation of chaos. We have stuck closely to our one rule of ‘no sales’ and a simple test of eligibility ‘love social care, love curry’, really genuinely everyone is welcome. Off the back of what we’ve heard and seen we’re confident that connections are being made, that developments are happening, and we’ve heard of at least one business idea and one research collaboration in the offing after the September eat-up. We are delighted that curry can play a small part in supporting social care in what is challenging times for anyone associated with it and we thank you all for making it happen.

Next year’s #NCASC14 #socialcarecurry will take place in Manchester on Wednesday 29 October, venue to be confirmed. If you’d like to connect with other #NCAC13 curriers the twitter list is here (let us know if you were there and aren’t on it), you can also see the storify of this year click here and the full photo set is available here:

Next eat-ups are happening on December 5th and we’re looking for hosts and venues now – blog post to follow, keep your eyes peeled here or on twitter.

#NCASC13 Eat-up

In two days time the biggest one off gathering of social care curriers take place to coincide with the National Children and Adult Services Conference (variously known up until yesterday as #NCASC #NCASC13 or #NCAS13). Pedants may point out that this in itself isn’t such a hard title for us to gain, as this is only the third time the curry club has met. Originally in July we had nine curriers, September saw over 200 meet together simultaneously across twelve UK and one Canadian eat-up, and this week 70 people will come together at Jinnah in Harrogate.

When Matt and I first decided to give the conference curry a whirl we were, as ever with curry club, winging it a little, experimenting, guessing and going with our gut. Ultimately if you play it safe, if you don’t stick your neck out and risk failure, then you never know if it might work. We decided curry together would be alright if no-one wanted to join us. We originally released 40 tickets and uptake was instant, the booking was extended to 50, then 60 and now 70. We’ve left the waitlist open in case there are any last minute additions or requests – if we get cancellations we’ll redistribute and we’ll contact the venue again on the day and try to accommodate anyone still keen to come. UPDATE 15/10 We extended the booking to 80, last few tickets now available and everyone on waitlist accommodated. Same rules if it fills up again.

So where does this leave us? We’re both excited by the potential and holding our breath a little to see how it works out. We’re sticking to the same rules as before – love curry, love social care is the only requirement to join in, no experts, no hierarchies, no agenda, no presentations and absolutely no sales. We’ve also insisted that all comers are welcome and are delighted that a number of local people who won’t be at conference have booked to come along.

Who will be there in two days time?

Screenshot 2013-10-14 21.52.30

We created a wordle last time we met for no real reason but people seemed to like it, so we’ve done it again. There are three Amandas and three Richards, so if you forget who you’re talking to you could always plump for one of those options! There will be no name badges and no requirements to wear your conference branding either. As with previous eat-ups you come as yourself and leave your organisation, title, airs or graces at the door, as detailed in the ‘about us’ page:

Is there a plan for the evening? There will be no presentations or key note speeches. All you have to do is chat and eat curry. If this works well there is the possibility of a trip to the pub afterwards. If it doesn’t, run like the wind! The curry club is a gathering of folks who wish to discuss and debate, no-one attends as as a representative of an organisation or group, so lift all that baggage off at the door and collect in on the way out when you have a nice full tummy and brain.

As on the last occasion we’re delighted at the range of people, job roles and organisations represented (even if we insist on you leaving those qualifiers at the door)! We have social work students, people using services, carers, providers, community interest companies, independent consultants, those working in sector led improvement, local authority managers, assistant directors and directors, councillors and lead members, academics, researchers and others working in education.  A full range of experience and learning opportunities. Given the national nature of the conference we also have a spread of attendees from across England.

Just out of interest to check the balance of people booked on, we banded curriers into five arbitrary groups: government (inc LA, NHS, Cllrs and CQC), knowledge (inc academics, lecturers, students, researchers and sector led improvement), providers (inc CICs, housing, support services, services and other selling organisations), independent consultants (because we didn’t check what they independently consulted in) and unknown/other (where it wasn’t immediately clear from a quick google/twitter search). This is what the results looked like:

Screenshot 2013-10-14 22.07.52

So we’re quite pleased with that spread and the fact that no one group dominates any other. In addition this is the first time Matt and I have hosted (we didn’t really bother with a host in July) but we’re delighted to have three former hosts from September to guide us: Angela, Eddie and Jemima, along with a number of curriers from September who I’m sure will make new people feel very welcome. Also we again have a spread of tweeters (47) and non-tweeters (23). You can check all the currying NCASCing tweeps out on the twitter list here.

The final thing to mention before Wednesday is that we’ve had lots of feedback that the success of curry has come partly from the lack of hierarchy and partly from the no sales rule. We sincerely hope that will remain the case on Wednesday. We will also be using the #socialcarecurry hastag as before so those not in the room can join in the conversations if they wish.

Logistics: Curry starts at 8.30pm (this is later than previous occasions to account for people in sessions at conference that run into the evening). The venue is Jinnah on Cheltenham Parade, and we will retire to a (yet to be determined) pub venue afterwards and liaise with some curriers who are otherwise engaged and can’t make it for food. The curry is a buffet and it will be £12 per person + your own drinks. We are going to try and collect payment on the door to save negotiations at the end of the night (and then everyone can sort their own drinks), so if you can bring cash for your curry that would be great, but if not don’t worry we’ll sort card payments on the evening.

Cancelling/booking: If you need to cancel on the day please drop a tweet to the curry account, or an email to the curry club account and/or let me or Matt know via twitter. If you don’t have a space and would like one please sign up on the waitlist and leave your mobile/twitter details and we’ll contact you if space becomes available/we’re able to extend the booking.

As soon as NCASC #socialcarecurry is out the way we’ll move on to agreeing locations and hosts for December 5th, so keep your eyes peeled on the blog and twitter account for more info.

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

Meet our volunteer hosts 3

Hosts 3 boardWe’re hoping to introduce all our hosts to you before your eat-ups this week, but several are on holiday or just returning so we might not get to them all. We have introduced twelve already, you can meet them here and here and these are our next four. We’d like to introduce you to (L->R) Ernie, Jackie, James and Ian and you’ve guessed it they’ve all been asked to answer the same three questions:

1) What’s your favourite curry?
2) What are you hoping to get from the night?
3) If you weren’t at your own eat-up where would you most like to be?

Ernie (Vancouver) @ejbaatz

1. Vegetarian curry – lots of eggplant! (Ed:That’s aubergine for us Brits!)

2. A chance to talk with neighbours and introduce people who are interested in community

3. At a hockey game!

Jackie (Southampton) @jaxrafferty

1. Side dish: Bhindi Bhaji, Main dish: Lamb Korai

2. Great conversation and laughs too

3. Chesterfield – I was in the area last week and the countryside is phenomenal

James (Canterbury) @UK_James

1. Vegetable masala, and I have to have onion bhajis and peshwari naan

2. To meet a bunch of interesting people, open up the possibility of new ideas and have some laughs

3. Exploring a part of the world I’ve not been to yet

Ian (Glasgow) @iandubya

1. Lamb Rogan Josh

2. Informal exchange of news, views, informations

3. Probably Birmingham.

Just in case there are any of you out there slightly upset that we’ve not done this post in alphabetical order, or feeling queasy because the images don’t line up properly….we know, we’re sorry, but with regard to the first point – Ian’s photo was beyond cool (look carefully), and the second, we’re pushed for time and have no real design skill except that we’ve borrowed occasionally.

If you wish to help out in the future with writing posts or doing design type bits and pieces drop us a line, all help gratefully received. If you are just upset that it’s not following the system, know that we know and it upsets us too, but needs must!

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

Hello Brighton!

Last night we reached double figures when Brighton joined the curry club party. There had been a number of people asking about Brighton a few weeks back, but yesterday Susan and Kathryn volunteered to host a gathering, so talk turned to action and at this stage in time we have eight people gathering on the 5 September to eat curry at the seaside. Book a ticket here if you’d like to join them.

British_Islands_Sept2013TenPins

It really is that simple, if you’d like curry and your area of the map is looking a bit empty then drop us a tweet offering to host, with the name of your preferred curry house, and the rest will magically sort itself out. Kathryn, one of our Brighton hosts is only visiting, she doesn’t even live there but what a great way to ensure you don’t spend your evening holed up in a hotel room with a crusty sarnie for tea.

Come on people, give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen? People don’t sign up and you don’t get curry this time but you know you tried. So if you fancy it get in touch, looking at the map I think it would look even better with a flag in Devon or Cornwall, North Wales, the North East or Ireland!