HELLO MEMBERS, first of all I would like to welcome some new ones that have signed up recently and I hope you are enjoying the website. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and participation in our small community. I hope that in the future we will be able to get back to what we did before March, and I have some plans for this in the pipeline.
There are a few things I do need to address, and that is mainly the Facebook groups. Some of you are not on Facebook, hence the reason for the Forum on here, however, no body is using it! It seems that everyone is over on Facebook! The original idea of the main facebook group, was to advertise our community to those new comers, who needed assistance with moving over to Madeira who were looking for a welcoming body of people, that represented a community. It grew and grew. A few months ago, it topped over 2,000 members and I was already receiving complaints, criticisms and abuse in the form of private messages. As most of you know me reasonably well, there is a point at which, I go into rant mode and have let rip on there a few times. So, I started the arduous task of cleaning up the page by removing the trolls and rude people. This is by no means an easy feat as each person has a 3 click removal, and it took me over 5 hours to remove 300 people the first time around. Eventually I whittled the members down to around 1000. But didn’t catch all the nasty ones. I then became more selective with the group in who could join again, changed the questions but it still attracted a few trolls, because Facebook is faceless and you never really know who is genuine and if the answers to the questions to join are legitimate.
I have been criticised again for the way I run my group, that my opinions should not be verbalised and that I have consistently pushed the group into my own political direction. I will defend this, because the group has always been open for debates, with the rule of be nice. We have our opinions and do not always agree, hence healthy debating. But, some don’t see it that way and it became very divided. This time, I was publicly attacked personally on another group, attacked on a couple of others for participating in other debates and sent private nasty messages. I don’t understand why other’s are able to express their thoughts and yet it’s a sin if I do! I have just had another massive rant recently and really felt that I wanted nothing more to do with this or our community. That rant piled on more abuse privately and made me even more depressed.
So, over the last few days I have really dug into a deep and dark mood as to where and what I do about it all. Tortured myself by re reading the abusive nasty statements and then realised, that none of the them were directed at me by any of you. And YOU are the Madeira Active Community. YOU are the ones that belong to and support this group. You are the ones to whom my loyalty, time and assistance is promised to. The Facebook group took up all of my time, and I neglected my real members.
So, with this in mind, the facebook group is getting an overhaul. And I have already started on the removal of all non members. This means that Madeira Active continues, but those of you who have joined here will continue to be a part of the facebook group community as well, knowing that you can feel safe to post there over using the Forum here, without the trolls. There are plenty of other FB groups out there that want the numbers and don’t monitor the content, I would rather not focus on numbers but have a nicer community help and information board. Please do feel free to promote Madeira Active in the other groups you belong to if you so wish, however, one does need to sign up here and effectively make a financial commitment to belong to something that actually has some meaning.
I have worried over the last few months, since the website was only launched in February, and then we all went into a severe lock down in March, that some of my promises have not been fulfilled. Leading up to this Pandemic, Madeira Active was going places, and growing very quickly. The monthly dinners were being very well supported and getting very large. The Coffee/Wine meet ups were also becoming popular and growing in support. Also the meetings for the Buddy club generated a lot of interest and discussion, and as you know I went over to Lisbon in early March to attend the Citizens Rights workshop hosted by the British Embassy, I was invited to be your British Stakeholder representative. So, I will tackle my thoughts below:
- I would like to resume these and am looking for ways in which we can get together again, with minimum risk. I put up a poll a few weeks ago and was very surprised at the majority response of agreeing to resuming the activity again, favoured was a meal, then second came a picnic and the third was that some were not ready to socialise. So, I have taken the middle option, given the latest new rules about the mask and propose that for those of you who would like to meet up, would like the picnic option. This means you can prepare your own food and choose to keep at a distance from others that you are happy with. I will post the venue and date on the group and on here under activities. This would also be an ideal opportunity for us to have an informal discussion about the group and where you would like to see it go and how it can move forward.
- Whilst we were in lockdown, I purchased a Zoom package and started to put up ideas for video get togethers, we had an online quiz, but after that no one wanted to participate in anything else, so I gave that idea up! If anyone wants something of this nature please do let me know now as I am about to cancel the subscription I took out.
- As I have explained above, that the main Facebook group will only be available for members who have a paid membership here. If you have been deleted (and my apologies for doing this as it is really difficult to remember who is who, please do reapply to the group and enter your membership number OR email address that you used to sign up on here. (For those of you who signed up before the launch and at a dinner, will have been given a membership card and number, all others who joined through the website will have used their email and is the only way I can identify who you are as some use a different name on their FB account).
- I would also like to mention that I have removed members off my own personal Facebook account. Please do not be offended by this, but I have also stripped that back to just my family and my very close friends. I do have a Madeira Active facebook account and have no problem with anyone wanting to be friends on that one.
- Sadly the Buddy Club never took off, despite the meetings we had and the amount of work that went into the concept. And if there was ever a time that it was needed, was now. I can see why it didn’t. People filled in an initial form, which expressed their interest, where they were located and their thoughts on their own needs. The meeting further enhanced that, so that I could go away and work out the best way to put this into action having accumulated all the data presented to me. I came up with a formula, which I put onto the website as the final fill in form. I tried to get that final part across but failed. Only two people sent me the form, with only ONE person actually filling the information in. A very difficult thing to get off the ground with the reality of one person wanting a buddy! But what this may have done is brought awareness and the Buddy club wasn’t needed as each person has made their own version of it? I would love your feedback on this.
- I set up a charity page here, with the intention of creating a committee to oversee this. I cannot do everything on my own! Unfortunately the pandemic that put a complete halt on any socialising and eventing has put a complete stop on this part of MA moving forward. I will leave this open and we can come back to this at a later date, when hopefully things return to some semblance of normal again. However, I am still looking for people who would like to get involved, regardless of charity…I will need some help.
- This was an area of Madeira Active I really did want to get off the ground, to provide a newsletter/on line Magazine for members. The design of which would be in the format of a virtual flip through magazine. As many of you know that I used to own and run a Newspaper many years ago. I miss that life and felt that now was a good time to launch something like this again. However, it takes a huge amount of time in design, layout, searching for content, writing and interviewing and would need to be supported financially with advertising to make it viable. But I have now come up with a new idea, that meets this half way. On this site we have a news area, and if you have looked at it recently, you will see that I haven’t been very good at keeping it updated recently. This is where you will be reading this message. As a member it is this website where you should be coming to first before going to Facebook for information. We have a few advertisers here that have made a commitment for this year and need our support. I need your support to continue to believe in the running of this community. So this is what I propose:
- To increase the content on the news section in place of a virtual magazine by posting articles of interest on Madeira related subjects. This can be in the form of interviews, personal experiences and funny stories, latest updates on news and island activities, businesses that advertise with us, telling us a little about themselves and what they do, latest laws and legislation etc. If you have something to share, that is current, witty, informative then send it me, along with a picture. Maybe you’d like to write a regular column or impart some interesting Madeira based facts about a place you visited or experienced……get involved, let’s get this website to become an interesting place to visit! The added part of each news announcement is that at the bottom of the article is an area where you can post your comments, and I hope you do post your thoughts and comments on this one below.
And finally on a personal note:
If I have offended anyone with my comments on Facebook recently, then I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone who found offence. I do have a point of view that not everyone agrees with, and I know that sometimes, it may come across as over bearing. When I have a rant, it is my reaction to being criticised (about something that I am usually passionate about). Madeira Active and the community is something I am and have always been passionate about, although recently seeming to have been labeled as someone who is delusional, lost the plot, needs psychotherapy, someone that looks to this for financial gain, a self absorbed Queen Bee…(and those are some very polite terms that have been communicated to me recently)….I do at times wonder why I actually bother with this. And for those of you out there like me, who are on their own whose life was completely shattered by this pandemic and forced to adopt a new and very lonely lifestyle through lock down will know that the fabric of who we are is quite delicate and put to the test! Through out some of what I have personally gone through over the last few months has become a little overwhelming. Being on ones own means you have to be strong, because you have no one to fall back on. And although I know an awful lot of people on the island, and lot more know of me, it has been a lonely experience – whilst others are also dealing with the affects of this pandemic in their own ways too. It’s at times like these when you actually find out who your real friends are (or not)! I am usually a busy person flying around and stressing about time, now I have all the time in the world and over the last few weeks have struggled to make sense of it and find anything meaningful to find a reason to get out of bed and face another empty day. I miss seeing people and being of some use somewhere…..and yesterday I nearly booked a ticket to go back to the UK to be with my family who I miss even more, as non of us can travel and no new memories to make or fun to be had with them this year. But as they say ‘Don’t let the buggers grind you down’….they did for a while, but like I said, one needs to be strong..and I am, so let’s get this party back on track!
Stay safe and well,