September’s Cover Story
On the September’s cover are Katrina, Keith, Tracy and Robert and their story of how they met during the summer as part of Summer Challenge. Between the 1st of July and the 31st August, we invited our members to join get2gether’s first ever Summer Challenge.
At a time when we were still waiting for the lifting of restrictions in Scotland, we wanted to encourage our members to take their social lives in their own hands and rebuilding their confidence. The Summer Challenge was there to celebrate new friendships that formed online during the pandemic, celebrate old friendships and encouraging spontaneous socialising.
We have been chatting with Katrina about her experience of this year’s Summer Challenge.
The thing I loved the most about the summer challenge was being able to finally be out and about after such a long period of time, but at the same time keeping a lookout for any get2gether members, friends, or staff.
As I am a Taurus I was determined to see as many members, friends as possible. It gave me something positive to focus on which helped me with my mental health issues.
Q: What kind of places did you visit/decided to meet members?
I decided to meet friends in Edinburgh, East Lothian, and Livingston.
Some of us went on Edinburgh open tour bus around Edinburgh we found it very interesting and found out things about Edinburgh that we knew nothing about.
I also visited 2 places in East Lothian me and my hubby Keith met a friend with other friends and went on a trip to the sea bird centre in North Berick.
I met my friend from get2gether from another organisation that we are both part of we went on a nature walk in Haddington.
Some of us then met up with each other and other friends we only spoke to online we decided to meet up and had a great day out shopping at the shopping centre in Livingston.
It felt nice being able to see and meet new people face to face rather than on chat or zoom. And I was lucky enough to bump into other members as 3 of them are my neighbours. We always keep an eye out for one another.
Q: How many get2gether members did you meet in total?
I have met 16 members in total. Including my 2 fellow Ambassador colleagues Stephan and Andrew. Sadly though, I’ve not yet met any of the other staff lol.
Q: What were your favourite moments spent with friends?
It was amazing and great at being able to meet up and spend quality time as I’ve truly missed not seeing my friends or members since march last year. But as soon as we met we gave each other a big hug.
We then found a place to meet to have food or a drink. It was great being able to have a proper catch-up and a chat about how we are and how each of us coped with covid 19 and lockdown etc.
A big for me and others were seeing our friends and members for me personally it has helped me in terms of my mental health a great deal seeing my friends and members has boosted me and helped me with my anxiety.
Even though I often get anxious a lot I always try to remain positive but I remember when I go out whether it’s shopping or meeting up with friends members etc that I stay safe and I am cautious.
Q: You also spontaneously snapped some photos of you with members of get2gether when you were out and about. How did it make you feel when you bumped into get2gether members when you were out and about?
It felt very good I was very lucky to have bumped into 2 members by pure chance of luck. We happened to meet at the right time at the right place. I was waiting outside McDonald’s when I bumped into a member I hadn’t seen since the last ATIK club night which was a month before my wedding last year.
I spent 5 minutes chatting to him and asked how he was I explained to him about the summer challenge get2gether was doing during the summer months. I asked him if it was ok for me to take a selfie photo and he said yeah.
When I was with another member I looked around and we both thought we saw a member. My friend shouted the person name and he came over we had a chat with him and I asked his support worker if he could take selfie photos of us all. I told the people we bumped into and the others I met that I hope in the near future that I and get2gether hope to see them whether that is face to face or on zoom!
This year, we also wanted to embrace the digital learning our members took during the pandemic, so we partnered with WelcoMe App to enhance the experiences disabled people should expect when accessing venues. WelcoMe is there to deliver better customer service and reduces arrival anxiety for disabled people by offering a personalised customer service.
Most excitingly, 31 members took part in the 2021 Summer Challenge!