Staying in touch with friends – small groups

Small groups – staying in touch

Are you a member of a small group of friends that aren’t meeting because of this crisis?  Then all is not lost and some of the solutions are much easier than you might have thought.

Not everyone on the internet?  Ok, but most people have a phone of some sort.  Group phone calls, or Phone conferencing, is really easy.  I’m on regular conference calls which includes people in their eighties who would normally avoid anything techie.

As the organiser, you need to set up an account on WHYPAY.NET.  This is completely free.  It costs nothing.  The calls made to it are ordinary national rate and usually free because they are included in most people’s phone packages.

For the user, you give them the phone number you have from WHYPAY, then agree a time and you are away.  The phone number has to be entered as three parts, following prompts, but that’s basically all it is. 

I can’t recommend this enough.  It’s free to set up and usually free to use and is really easy.

Everyone on Facebook / WhatsApp /etc?  Most of these services offer free group calls.  My family have a Facebook Messenger group and hold regular group video calls.  It’s the only way I see my new granddaughter, born in January.  She’s changing daily.

What about Video Conferencing?

If you are all on the internet and have smart phones, tablets or computers with webcams, then Video Conferencing is brilliant.  I use Zoom.  Even the Prime Minister uses it.  The free version allows calls up to 40 minutes.  The paid for version has no limit and allows telephone dial in from a UK number.  Even that is only £15/month.

What can you do with Zoom.  Well the limit is often your imagination.  I’ve seen choir practises, family meals, people dating.  I use it for Prayer meetings and we even had a Communion service using it (bring your own bread & wine). 

The above are just a few ideas.  The main thing is to stay in touch.  Don’t let the technology frighten you and don’t think this is expensive or just for business or committee meetings.  You can have a fair amount of fun with this.  The important thing is to stay together as a group.  You may have a family around you, but others in your social groups may be desperate for human interaction.  More,  this may be their only chance to tell people they need help – or they may be ill and need you to spot it and encourage them to seek help.

Stay safe, Look after yourselves, your family, friends and neighbours.

Jonathan Powell

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