Best Buddies UK draws its first breathe in Stroud on June 25th

Here's a summary of our inaugural gathering:
Best Buddies UK (Working Title)

Follow-up to inaugural conversations in Stroud on Wednesday 25th June 2014.

First and foremost: grateful thanks to Joanne Jordan, Cllr. Geoff Wheeler and Stroud District Council for hosting the event and offering continuing support to this initiative; to Kai Troll from BB International, and to everyone who contributed to the conversation, debate and ensuing decisions.

I guess that at the core of our learning from the day is the recognition that, given good governance and compliance with the key precepts of the Best Buddies brand, we have the freedom to experiment and evolve bespoke British and Regional iterations of Best Buddies – making the most of its body of knowledge and international reputation unencumbered by unhelpful constraints.

As a consequence of our discussions:
• We decided to constitute a Best Buddies UK Community Interest Company – Tony Phillips is coordinating this and has offered the office of The Realife Trust as an initial address.
• We chose to register a UK entity in the knowledge of existing Best Buddies organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland and, via Kai, will be inviting them to join us, contribute to the development of a successful UK organisation and, concurrently, continue to develop regional autonomy. (The situation in Scotland may of course be very different in the event of a ‘yes’ vote in September).
• The following people volunteered to act as founding Directors of the proposed CIC and to recruit additional Director’s in accordance with our commitment to the full and informed involvement of disabled people and the families of disabled people in the governance of Best Buddies UK:
Yvonne Boxall
Colin Campbell
Philip Douch
Joanne Jordan
Mike Logan
Bernard Pearson
Tony Phillips
Simon Pickthall
Bob Rhodes
Martin Saunders

Charlotte Pell (PR and Publishing), Steve Beyer (University of Cardiff), and Ian Chakravorty (Creative Thinking, Planning and Sponsorship Connections) have all indicated their willingness to assist.
• The first meeting of the Board of Directors of Best Buddies UK will be held at Stroud District Council on Monday 18th August 2014 (details tba). This will be an open meeting with those who were unable to join us on June 25 very welcome to join us (please let me know).
• It is recognised that a large proportion of us are actively and often successfully promoting and supporting friendships and meaningful inclusion in our daily work. Hence it is vital that we appreciate our assets as we create a development ‘plan’ for BBUK. So we have scheduled a day (tba) during the week commencing 12th October 2014 in the Council Chamber at Stroud District Council for presentations and celebrations of the relevant work of participating organisations (hopefully including our friends from Northern Ireland and Scotland).
• Also, for our diaries, Best Buddies International’s European Forum/Convention is held in Brussels in October – possibly Oct. 6th – 10th, more likely October 20th -24th. I’ll confirm details shortly.

I've not attempted to compile minutes (as we were engaged in exploration rather
than 'business') but will, for our agenda on August 18th, record that we'll need to
attend to imminent funding opportunities such as Erasmus+ and the recruitment of
a support group amongst many other matters then.

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