Setting up the Knackered and Norwich Social Club

Vicki Cockerill, parenting columnist. Photo: Vicki Cockerill

Vicki Cockerill, parenting columnist. Photo: Vicki Cockerill - Credit: Vicki Cockerill

In her latest column on parenting issues VICKI COCKERILL, from Dereham, explains why she set up a social club to get parents supporting each other...

Do you remember a while ago when I wrote about the fabulous We Got This Sometimes parent events?

Going to that one event was the first time I had gone out and socialised in 7 months following the birth of my second child and battling severe Post Natal Depression.

Now, a few months later I alongside another local freelancing mum we have set up #knackeredandnorwich Social Club.

Why not?

It started off as a meeting between two people connected via Instagram and working in the same sector to meet and have coffee. I mentioned in passing that I wanted to launch a campaign. Low on confidence and high on caffeine I confided I would never be able too.

This was met with two words;

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'Why not?'

I couldn't give her an answer and all it took was someone to listen to me, to give me an opportunity to voice what was lurking in the back of my mind for so long.

So, why couldn't we do this for the local people of Norwich?

Sophie Lynn co-founder and owner of Muffin and Puffin Marketing said;

'Instead of rivalry there was great potential to both be doing the same thing and support one another, build one another up with friendship and advice rather than knocking each other down and seeing the other as a threat… a joke message thread including the hashtag #knackeredandnorwich suddenly sparked an idea which so far is engaging people and proving popular to the point of a waitlist.'

What is #knackeredandnorwich?

The idea quickly snowballed and before we knew it we had posted on Instagram advertising our first event. Worried only me and Sophie would be present I panicked, would anyone come? What if they expected a structured professional networking event?

It also hit me I had to speak, in public. One of my personal fears, but I believed in this and despite the nerves I had getting up in front of 15 people I didn't really know I did the one thing that has terrified me for years.

Meeting in local coffee show Alchemista Coffee Co we didn't have a itinerary, we didn't even have name stickers! Sophie said 'It's actually more exciting not having a set 'strategy' because it can be whatever it wants to be from month to month…. Depending on how knackered we are!'

But, we had an aim, and we had passion. We had previously asked local online shop The Night Feed to make us some tote bags which we used to fundraise for Harper's Little Helpers.

Going away from the event, we were asked when our next one was! People wanted to come back, and we are already supporting and empowering one another via social media and real life. Social media can be a negative and destructive place at times but it can also be a place where kindness, friendship and support stem from as well.

Co-Founder Sophie advises, 'From a guest speaker every month, to encouraging friendship, book clubs, self-promotion, charitable contributions and at the heart of it a place for friendship and a sense of office colleagues for those who freelance. A place of support, encouragement and where rivalry builds into something more meaningful – it isn't limited to parents or just mums…it's for anyone who wants to come and be part of something different -but it helps if you live in Norwich.'

Changing the world

Watch this space Sophie says, 'we have big ideas, but low sleeping hours…so it might be a slow burn but we are taking over the world…one coffee at a time!'

Our next June event sees guest speaker Alex from The Parent and Baby Show joining us at Alchemista Coffee Co to talk about her business and upcoming awards, face to face marketing and how to brand yourself.

From one lonely mum with PND to co-founder of a social club, hell bent on giving everyone an opportunity and changing the world for our children the #knackeredandnorwich social club really is more than just a meet up, it's a community.

Our next event is on the 20.6.18, contact @knackeredandnorwich/ @vickicockerill/@muffinandpuffinmarketing for more information or to book your spot!

Vicki Cockerill is a NICU/ CHD Mum of two boys, a freelance blogger and social media adviser, Co-Founder of @KnackeredandNorwich social club and maternal mental health advocate.