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BNIB 2021

Our way forward for a successful future

The Past Year

The past year has been a very difficult one for networking groups and, over this time, the Membership Committee and Leader Team have been giving much thought and discussions on how to proceed next year amidst all the possible (as yet unknown) COVID restrictions etc.

This year has been a bit of a wash out for the group and in order to keep the BNIB group together, going forward, we have decided to start next year with a clean slate. There is no question that we need to resume our meetings (however that may be) and make direct contact with each other.

We have put together a plan to enable, come what may, for the group to survive into, and beyond, next year. We are assuming the restrictions on physical meetings will make this difficult, if not impossible, to meet in person and we are taking into account, in the plan, the members who may be shielding other members of their family.

Future Meetings

We have noticed, after some research, that many networking groups have been successfully using Zoom for their meetings and it works really well for them. This is a free application so there is no cost involved and we now believe it is the only way forward for the foreseeable, so it will become a vital tool for the group to resume meetings. Therefore, it has been decided that from Tuesday, January the 12th all future meetings will be using Zoom.

Please see the page with the link below to our website to show you where to get this application, download it and install it on your device/computer. All who want to remain in the group will now need to have this at hand for the meetings from January onwards. From then on, the attendance on Zoom will dictate the absenteeism from meetings and we’ll carry on with the same rules as if these were physical meetings until we resume the physical meetings.

Zoom links

Zoom sign-up link

Download Zoom

Mobile Zoom App for iPhones and iPads

Please note, it isn’t the first choice (which would be to meet ‘in person’) but it’s the only choice at the moment, so we need to embrace the option, move forward with it until we can meet again at our usual venue. I, personally, have used it for meetings and have managed to pick up work using Zoom and there is no reason we can’t all do the same to discuss referrals and communicate with each other on a more personal basis.

As this pandemic goes on, it is vital that we all start being able to meet as a group and keep or kick-start passing referrals and also carry on using the website functionality for the purpose it was intended. This is just a new way of being able to adjust and move forward for now.

Zoom meetings will be shorter and easier, as members won’t need to go anywhere for their meeting. The Membership Committee and the Leader Team are committed to this new way of working and if there is any reason you feel you can’t make a virtual meeting, then you need to let us know with your reasons. I will sending out a meeting format and how this will work and it is becoming standard stuff for obvious reasons. We will be doing doing some small ‘trial’ meetings before we have the main group meeting in January.

Future Membership

It was suggested, by Jon Gifford, and we all thought it was a very good idea, that we start again with the membership commitment in the new year. Draw a line under the last year and all members will have the same renewal date going forward. Also, all members will have the same lower fees of £199 for the year instead of the £399. Obviously, there will be no other costs as we will not be paying, at the moment, for a venue for breakfast, or meeting rooms and any fees due from the previous year(s) will be cancelled.

How this new membership renewal will work

The single renewal date for membership means that it is much easier for Andy and Paul to co-ordinate, so less work, and all invoices will be issued on the same date, which cuts down the administration time and any chasing he may have to do if people forget to pay.

New Members

I have already had people who want to join a virtual meeting with us, but we won’t be inviting visitors to Zoom meetings just yet until we are all very familiar with how this will work. Any members who join next year at whatever month they join will only pay membership from the month they join up to the January 2022 and then will be on the same renewal as all the other members.

This is a far more simple system than we have in place at the moment. As the past membership system was inherited from the older group we now feel that the new way of billing will stay in place, even after we resume our meetings in person.


Members will still benefit from the use of website, referrals and we will be advertising for new members next year up to the maximum numbers we discussed last year. This will all carry on next year as we feel it is vital that a new way forward is found after the desert of this year and hope that the members will support each other next year as they have always done.


We are also looking into future training and we shall be booking people next year to fulfil the training needs of the group once the restrictions allow.

Let’s make 2021 an optimistic one!

John McLaughlin-Mills
Team Leader

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