This site has been going for five years now and seems a well-established part of our community. We get a regular stream of new members and are edging up towards the 900 member mark, there is lots of useful information on the site and regular postings about events, and there are some good discussions of local issues and posts where people help each other with recommendations or in other ways. There are usually around 1500 visits to the site a week and over two thirds of those are from people who have visited the site before, so the site does seem to be used and to generate some interest.

There are a lot of positives, but there is also quite a lot of opportunity for improvement. There have been some issues about negative comments or negative posts and, while I think it is important to allow differences of opinion and freedom of expression, I think we probably should develop a clearer statement of principles about what we think is and isn't acceptable on this site. I also think it would be good if we could find ways of encouraging more and different types of activity on the site - I hope the site does offer something to the community, but it probably could be a bit livelier! Maybe we also need to think about advertising a bit more widely - at the moment, the only way people are likely to find us is by word of mouth, via google or via twitter. This seems to work OK, but there may be people who would be interested in being involved but who haven't chanced upon the site. It would also probably be good if we did at least some face-to-face things rather than all of the activity being virtual. We did do some of that in the past, so maybe we need to start that again or perhaps do something else a bit different.

These comments express some of my views about how this site and community could develop, but it is not really a matter of what I want or think. It really is (or should be) a a matter of what the community itself wants. So I plan to set up a meeting just after Easter where everyone interested in having their say on the future of this site can come and express their opinion. Obviously after five years I am very committed to this site and I am not planning to go anywhere, but I do think this site should be run by a team rather than by an individual - after all, I have a specific age, gender and background, so I can't really hope to represent all members of our diverse community. The suggested date for the meeting is Sunday April 27 at 20.00 (although we can change that if another day or time would suit most people better). I will sort out a venue when I have a clearer idea how many people might want to attend, so I you are interested in attending do comment below or message me. Also if you think you might want to get involved in the site in any way (and it need not involve a major commitment in terms of time or effort), do let me know. I think a lot of good things have happened on and around the site over the last five years and I think we can do even more over the next five years, so if you agree, I hope you will make your views known here or at the meeting on April 27 or both!! Many thanks.

Paul

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I'm happy to come along - your e mail said Sunday 29th instead of 27th ... Hopefully people will read your post!

Great, Amanda. Sorry about the slip in the email. I am also sorry for cc'ing when clearly I should have bcc'ed. I will try to make sure it does not happen again.

Hi Paul, would like to attend and look forward to an interesting discussion.
Alison

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