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!
Something 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.
We 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:
As 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.
It 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:
“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.