Online only

Christmas isn’t cancelled, it’s just on Zoom again

January AGM also now a Zoomer

LFB's SEASONAL festive end-of-year evenr will be on Zoom again. It's on Monday 13 December.

Branch Chair Matt Salusbury prepares to preside over last year's event

Outgoing Branch Chair Matt Salusbury prepares to preside over last year's seasonal festive LFB meeting on Zoom

Why? Discussing the practical aspects of putting on a party in a Soho venue on a pre-Christmas weekday evening, it was clear that among Committee members - who'd be doing most of the preparation - there was hardly any enthusiasm for going out into the rollicking Soho night.

True, the London Freelance Branch (LFB) Committee presented a motion to the November Branch meeting to make arrangements to meet in a West End venue. This was passed. The subsequent LFB Committee meeting decided, however, that it had to cancel the face-to-face party element, given current circumstances, risks and uncertainties.

Probably getting there by bus, Tube or rail (and back) is still a more daunting prospect than actually being in a room with some double-vaxxed and boostered colleagues. When it came to a vote, most were happy for the party to go ahead without them being present, but only one Committee member (myself, our Chair) was up for actually going to the party, with one "maybe".

There was widespread feeling among those who would have to sort out the catering that it would be better to do a celebratory LFB party sometime in - we hope - the first half of 2022. By then, we sincerely hope that Covid figures will be less scary, and the weather will permit us to meet outside. (LFB not so long ago used to have two parties a year, with one in July.)

The Committee is aware that some of us haven't actually met in person for 20 months, and some have only ever "met" colleagues via Zoom. But the physical health of our members - many of them in demographics vulnerable to Covid - has to take priority. LFB's Christmas party has always been in recognition that freelances are ignored when the invites to the corporate "do" go out. But we've heard that a this year lot of these are anyway being cancelled or scaled down to low-key drinks round the corner from the office you're already at.

Festivities online

LFB's Monday 13 December event is now yet another Zoomer. The invitation to the meeting with Zoom codes will go out to the LFB mailing list a day or two before, as with previous Zoom meetings.

As with last year's festive themed event, this evening will be light on Branch business, with no motions. It will include another journalism-themed Christmassy quiz (lighter than last year's).

December's Branch event on Zoom will also be an opportunity for members to tell "Committee" what they want to see by way of themes for meetings in the coming year.

With a bunch of important votes coming up at the 10 January 2022 Branch AGM (see below), the December meeting will be a chance to do a quick test of the far-from-perfect Zoom "poll" function. We need to check that it is working the format of Zoom that you have on your device.

Colleagues are of course free to organise small face-to-face gatherings of members who live locally, where Covid-era journeys aren't so daunting - these could even be within walking or cycling distance. If any members want to put out a call to members who live nearby, the December meeting could be the occasion to do it.

Branch AGM in January

The Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM), at which we elect the Committee for the next year, was also to have been a face-to-face event.

With Covid numbers not certain to improve any time soon, the Committee is considering putting this meeting online too. It's on Monday 10 January 2022. Like last year's AGM, it will be an online event via Zoom, with voting via Zoom's "poll" function. Members will receive an invitation for the AGM with Zoom links and passwords and all the rest of it a couple days before, as usual.

See here for details of the elections and the posts up for election, and how to stand for one of these.

Updates on LFB meetings are here.