Calum’s Corner – March 2020


Dear members and friends of the XTEND network,

Coronavirus/Covid-19 Update
Networking in quarantine
March event roundup

1. Coronavirus/Covid-19

As the spread of Covid-19 continues and the government places rules and guidance on group activities I am writing to tell you what we are doing in the XTEND network.

Based on the latest Government advice around coronavirus/COVID-19, we have decided to change our upcoming April meeting to a webinar. As indications are that restrictions will persist for at least 12 weeks we have cancelled our May meeting and it is likely that our June meeting will also be cancelled. We will continue to monitor Government advice over the coming weeks and keep in touch with you regarding future events.

More than ever before the connections we have and new ones we make are important both to our business and wider society. We hope that the facilities and strong culture of collaboration and support in the XTEND network will provide a source of opportunity and support personally and professionally, over the coming weeks and months as we are forced to adapt to these unprecedented times.

2. Networking in a time of quarantine and social distancing

The XTEND Network was established in 2000 to provide mutual support for job seekers during a downturn in the economy. This purpose has suddenly become more relevant than ever and provides the opportunity for us to be creative in finding the best ways to communicate and help each other. Some suggestions we are considering are:

(a) Set up a “drop in” video conference session for an hour each week. People can drop in, have a chat with each other and perhaps compare notes or swap tips on how to get through these difficult times. Please let me know if this would be of interest.

(b) Short talks(say 45 mins) and Q&A sessions by members or external guests

(c) Making use of the broadcast facility. If you need help that other members could assist with, or have useful advice you’d like to share, broadcast could be a useful way of reaching out to the other members.

(d)Sharing of information. We have compiled a list of useful links at the end of this email and will put these up on the website as well.

Please reply to [email protected] with your thoughts and ideas on how we might make the most of the network and support the community.

3. March event roundup

We had our March session at Scotland House on the 3rd of March on the topic of sustainability. Scotland House is a shared office facility and a meeting place for Scottish businesses who are visiting London, and they very generously agreed to host this as a joint event with XTEND. Following brief introductions to XTEND and to Scotland House, our first speaker was Robin Dickinson, who is a long term XTEND member. Robin has been involved with sustainability for the last 20 years and currently lectures on sustainability on Masters and undergraduate programmes as well as running a sustainability consultancy. Robin started by showing the rapid growth in population over the last 20 years – 1.8bn additional people – and then discussed some of the impact this is having on our environment. Although global warming has the most press, Robin suggested that the loss of bio-diversity and the rapid increase of nitrogen in the environment are potentially as serious although their effects are not fully understood.

Our second speaker was Scott Dickens, who took the conversation from the big picture perspective down to a very specific application of sustainability – how to create a water filter that did not require the use of disposable plastic inserts. He described the challenges that had been faced in reconciling the different requirements of sustainability, pricing, weight and meeting food safety regulations. Few of us in the audience had realised how difficult it was to create a mass market product that was fully sustainable and we all left better educated and very impressed with what Scott and his tiny business had achieved.

Following the presentations we enjoyed wine and canapes as we followed up with speakers and general networking. There was a brief moment of panic when some Scottish dance music was played, but we were quickly reassured that this was for background and no dancing was actually required…

Given the current situation, we will hold the 7th April event as a webinar. This will start at 6.30 pm on 7th April and the link to Zoom is at the bottom of this email.

Business Links:
Government guidance to employers and businesses

CBI coronavirus FAQ’s

British Chambers of Commerce – preparing and responding to coronavirus

Federation of Small Businesses – advice to small businesses about coronavirus

Croner – advice for employers

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
If you are a member, look in the Library section of the XTEND members’ website to see speakers’ presentations.

Our April meeting will be a webinar and will take place on

Tuesday 7th April 2020, 6.30pm

Webinar –

This meeting is free

Participants will need to have a computer with audio so they can hear and see.

You will need to download Zoom prior to the meeting if you do not already have it. Please click on the link shortly before the meeting is due. You will be asked to “Open Zoom Meetings” if you see the system dialog.