What happens at a Birmingham Community Matters Surgery?

“The surgery cleared up a lot of things in my mind around the structure of what I want to do. It’s been amazing” – Samina, Serenity Housing.

As you may know, Birmingham Community Matters helps people who want to start or develop small community and voluntary groups in Birmingham, operating for the benefit of people in our wonderful city.

We call it a peer-to-peer learning network, and most of what we do involves face-to-face support.

At our Community Matters Surgeries, held in various venues around Birmingham, volunteer ‘surgeons’ are on hand to answer questions from people who are interested in starting or developing a community group or project.

BCM surgeons are people with relevant experience and expertise, which they may have acquired through running community groups themselves, or in a professional capacity.

Our surgeries are free to attend, and informal. To say we sit around eating cake and drinking tea would belie the valuable conversations and exciting ideas we hear at each surgery. But a smiley greeting and refreshments are very much part of our welcoming ethos.

People – ‘patients’ – are welcome to drop in and talk about the kind of support they need. Perhaps it’s related to setting up a group, buying equipment, working with volunteers, or accessing grants and other funding. It doesn’t matter where they are in the process: mere acorns of ideas are as valued as the plans of fully formed organisations looking to branch out.

We will listen to patients’ initial queries and aim to match them with the surgeon who is best placed to help. Then patient and surgeon can work through questions and ideas together. There are no formal talks, agenda or presentations.

We’ll aim to keep in touch with patients afterwards, so we can follow up with further support, and hear the outcomes of their ventures. BCM patients may even be able to use their experience and knowledge to become future BCM surgeons – and help others on their way to success.

Come and see for yourself what we do: our forthcoming surgeries and other dates are listed here. Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for email updates.