Following a successful first residential in Birmingham in mid-November, Grace, who comes from the South West, has written a blog about her experience.
We all arrived early Saturday morning to Birmingham, some of us very tired, but that didn’t stop us from chatting and getting to know each other! We got started with a range of ice breakers because although we’d done multiple online meetings before it had been tricky to get to know each other. These included some extremely inventive activities such as: mood descriptions via weather, ranking the group in terms of age/ the times we woke up without talking and some memory games with interesting facts about each other! After a short break, we spent time as a group talking about how we could collaborate over the weekend and coming months to get the most out of our time in the project. This included some scenarios that we all discussed as well as some advice. We also learnt about the forming–storming–norming–performing model of group development which was really interesting from Matt!
We all enjoyed lunch which included a great selection of cakes (in addition to Laurence’s snack pile which gradually got smaller throughout the day) and after we headed back for some more games before a productive afternoon. We did a few rounds of pop culture agree or disagree which included some discussions ranging from Twitter to Love Island. We then spent time in our sub-groups after an interesting presentation from Ellie about health inequalities. The subgroups consisted of topics on: mental health, health literacy and digital and health inequalities, and the time with our groups was spent developing ideas about our projects, including project timelines and the specific topics we might like to focus on. We ended this with presentations from each group about the work completed and ideas so far!
In the evening after some well needed rest, we headed out to Franco Manca for pizza. Everybody completely agreed that the pizzas were delicious and it was a great chance to just chat and get to know everyone. After pizza we headed back to the hotel for the Pub Quiz which Laurence put together about half an hour before! There were some tense moments as we guessed whether it was Hilary Clinton or Katy Perry in face mash but overall, it was a great evening. Special mention to ’50 shades of Slay’ for the bonus point for best team name! After that lots of us headed up to bed whilst some stayed down stairs for an exciting game of Mafia!
Sunday morning, we all checked out and had a breakfast, which included lots of hash browns being eaten! We then headed up to the room for our morning session. Before subgroup work started, we all did group feedback on a survey Matt presented, which raised some interesting discussions about language used and formats. We then split into subgroups to further collaborate on projects, focusing on what methods of communication we would use going forward, when would be the best time to meet, and how we could further develop our surveys. Finally, we presented our overall work from across the weekend and took some group photos before saying our goodbyes. We all headed over to the station together and enjoyed some coffees/teas before all heading off home!
It was such an amazing weekend as we got to know each other a bit better and did some really productive work on our subgroup projects. A huge thank you to all the NHS and British Youth Council staff who supported us over the weekend and made it fun and memorable. We are all already really excited for the next residential in January and to keep developing our subgroup projects!