…ALL user group meetings suspended
With world in the grips of a pandemic and (like many countries) the UK in lockdown to some degree – just how much of a lockdown may depend on where you are, and what you do – it should be no surprise to anyone who hasn’t had their head buried in the sand recently that user group meetings should not be taking place.
In normal times, when an announcement about a user group meeting lands in the RISCOSitory inbox, I try to post something on the site about it – even if it’s more or less a re-hash of some generic text if there is no guest speaker or set topic. However, it seems a bit redundant in the general sense to post announcements about things not happening, when everybody should already realise they aren’t going to happen1.
So instead, I added a note near the top of the Events page, which reads:
COVID-19 (‘CORONAVIRUS’) NOTE (20th March 2020)
Due to the current health crisis, it is important that people engage in social distancing, avoiding as much contact with other people as possible. That means many, if not all events listed on this page scheduled to take place over the next couple of months are unlikely to happen.
The RISC OS User Group of London (ROUGOL) have announced that their meetings are suspended for now, with no way to know when they will be able to resume – no surprises there, but they have also apologised regarding their March meeting.
That meeting was due to take place on 16th March. At that point, the UK wasn’t in lockdown, but it was early that same evening that the government issued advice to stop all social gatherings in order to help reduce the spread of the virus. However, while people were being advised to stay at home, to maintain social distancing, and so on, pubs etc. were not being told to close for business at this point, so many (most?) were remaining open. (There were reasons for this, but it is not a topic for discussion here.)
Due to the unfortunate timing, therefore, it’s quite possible that some people headed to the meeting venue expecting to hear Bernard Boase talking about RISC OS Direct – but having heard the official advice only two hours before the meeting was due to take place, Bernard had to abandon any plans to travel to the meeting.
ROUGOL hopes to be able to revisit the topic of RISC OS Direct later in the year, when restrictions are liften and life begins to return to some semblence of normality.
In light of recent events, ROUGOL has also started a WhatsApp group as a means to duscuss the latest ROUGOL news, as well as to cater for general RISC OS chat. WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform application that (amongst other things) provides Voice over IP facilities, messaging services, and more, and provides a neat way for groups of people to share relevant information on a particular topic – such as the latest news regarding a meeting.
To join the group, contact ROUGOL with your mobile phone number (the phone obviously needs to have WhatsApp installed on it) and you will be added – contact methods are by email, by telephone (or text message) on 07970 211 629, or via Twitter (though if you choose the latter option please be aware that normal Twitter contacts are public, so be sure to send a private message if you don’t want the world to know your number).
London Show 2020
This year’s London Show is booked for Saturday, 24th October at the St Giles Hotel, Feltham. ROUGOL will obviously be keeping an eye on the situation, but at the moment it is far enough ahead that it is not currently affected, and may even not be. So, for now, it is still scheduled to go ahead – but ROUGOL obviously has an eye on the situation, and if things have to change, they will.
- Significant events such as the Wakefield Show being an exception; it was obvious that the show would not be going ahead on the planned date, but because it is something that requires much more organisation than user group meetings – and by exhibitors and visitors as well as the organisers themselves – announcing its postponement was important.