Social Care Curry Club

Love curry? Love social care? You are in!

Tag: NCASC13

#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.

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#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.