After a change in our structure at the 2021 AGM the basic building block of our organisation is now the Outreach Group.
Each Outreach Group is responsible for working out for itself how to serve the cause of world peace.
Outreach Groups can be formed in a specific location or around a specific project. In the past we have had groups in Belfast, Birmingham, Exeter, Glasgow, York and Manchester. At present we have just one functioning Outreach Group; Veterans For Peace London (VFP London).
VFP London began in 2011 and has held a regular, in person, monthly meeting at Housmans Books since 2012. These meetings are attended by individual veteran’s for peace (vfp) from all over the South East of England with many travelling for over an hour to get to the meeting and another hour plus to get home. In the past vfp have regularly travelled from York to attend. We use these meetings to catch up with each other, report back on recent activity and to plan future activity.
Our meetings have a fixed agenda so that those attending become familiar with the flow of our meetings. We run our meetings in a circular manner, each veteran for peace (vfp) has the opportunity to contribute to the discussion, when they have spoken they pass on to the vfp sat to their left.
Within and in-between the meetings there is an ongoing process of working through, or working out, what it means for each of us to be a veteran for peace (vfp). VFP London uses a mini website to post the details of upcoming meetings and events.
Everything we do, say or plan is governed by the pledge we all make at the beginning of each meeting:
We, veterans of the armed forces, having dutifully served our nation,
do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.
We are peaceful in our words, methods, and actions.
How to form an Outreach Group
I have found that organising a regular meeting is key to maintaining an Outreach Group in the long term and so I will focus on setting up a regular meeting as the starting point in the formation of an Outreach Group.
We have held plenty of VFP London actions, meetings and events where only a few vfp have turned up, this can be dis-heartening. We have arrived at our meeting place only to find that the room was double booked, this can be frustrating.
Any veteran for peace (vfp) can form an Outreach Group.
Forming an Outreach Group requires persistence and patience.
Choose a location
If you are trying to get a group up and running then chose a location that is convenient for you. A place with good transport links, parking and a venue. Don’t be pressured by others who have no intention of doing any of the organising to chose a different location, if they want an Outreach Group somewhere else let them organise one there. You don’t have to meet in a town or city, you can meet at a motorway service station, a beach, a park, wherever is convenient!
Find a venue
When we started out in London we met in a cafe, an old church, a Quaker hall, at Occupy London and each others houses until we settled on Housmans Books. Some places you can meet for free, some places will charge you a small fee. Our present location is on the ground floor and step free, so easier to access.
Choose a regular date and time
Setting regular a date and time for the meeting will help people to organise their lives so that they can attend every week, month, quarter or however often you meet. We meet in London on the second Wednesday of every month at 1830hrs.
As your group grows it will become impossible to chose a date and time to suit everyone, so just pick a date/time/venue and stick with it.
Publicise the meeting
Once you have the Date, Time, Location and Venue sorted you will be ready to publicise your brand new Outreach Group. Email the details to me (Ben Griffin firstname.lastname@example.org) so I can publish the information on this website as a post. Every post to the website is automatically shared with all our members.
You can then share the post on social media.
As we have found out through the pandemic it is possible to arrange and hold meetings online. This approach may well suit anyone looking to form an Outreach Group around a specific project where those vfp involved live too far apart to meet in person regularly. Bear in mind that not all vfp have access to the internet.
If you would like any help or advice please get in touch with me Ben Griffin (email@example.com)
Feel free to ask questions in the comments below, they will be added to this section…
Arrangement: Your name, email and or phone number
Do you live near ___________?
Are you a veteran of the armed forces?
Are you ready to serve the cause of world peace?
Then this meeting is for you.
If it is your first meeting please bring proof of military service.
- Set up chairs in a circle
- VFP Pledge
- Personal updates
- Recent VFP activity
- Upcoming VFP activity
- Any other business
- Group decisions
- Next meeting
- Tidy away chairs
This article will be updated with more information over time.
I use the abbreviation VFP (Veterans For Peace) in capitals when referring to a group.
I use the abbreviation vfp (veteran/veteran’s for peace) in lower case when referring to individuals.