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More Human Spotlight: Dee, Founder of 45 Plus Not Grumpy



At More Human we're lucky to work with some brilliant people. And we're a generous bunch so we thought we'd share some of that brilliance with you.

Today's spotlight shines on the ever so fabulous Dee Kay, Founder of 45 Plus Not Grumpy.


Emma:

Dee, you're Founder of a Meetup group of over 8,000 members. How did this come about?


Dee:

I think I've just always loved people. Since I was a child I've been an organiser. I organised children's parties when I was a teenager. I helped in the local care home. And it's just a part of me.


There was a stage after my mother died when I was looking after my father. I'd taken a trip up to London and when I came back he asked me how it was and I said 'It's changed. I think if I ever had to live up there I could.' The very next day when I went to look after him he said 'I've had a wonderful life. And I want you to go to London and live and work there and just enjoy it.'


When I got to London instead of it being this powerhouse of parties and excitement and everything I thought it was going to be I was actually very lonely. I told my daughter I was finding it hard and she said 'Why don't you do what you like doing.' And I loved to walk. So I went online and went on a website and joined a few walks and was disappointed. At one walk a lady came up to me and said 'I'm not enjoying this, I want to go'. And I said 'lets walk together' and a few other people joined us. We had such a fun day. I took their email addresses and organised things for us for a couple of weeks. One gentleman made a throwaway comment about the fact that there weren't any groups for people who didn't just want to sit in pubs and drink or have a date and 45 Plus Not Grumpy was born.


Emma:

So how has the pandemic changed what you do?


Dee:

From day one everything in-person had to stop. At that point I was already working with More Human and you guys said 'let's do cafe's online for people to join.' So it changed the emphasis from meeting in real life to meeting online. It was a bit scary because I hadn't done anything on Zoom before, and my leaders hadn't either. I'm so proud to say that thanks to More Human we've dealt with it in a really positive way. We've never had so many texts and emails before thanking us. It's a new way of making friends.


Emma:

What do you think will be the biggest learning you take away from the changes?


Dee:

First of all that things can be negative. But if you're willing and you're positive, good things can come out of that negative. We could easily feel self pity because we can't physically get out. But shared experience, even if virtual, is always positive. It's always about creativity and positivity.


Secondly, the computer skills. Using Zoom and losing the fear of that. We've given a lot of people a reason and the confidence to go online.


Emma:

What would you say makes an event 'more human' for an attendee?


Dee:

First of all ... understanding. I spend a lot of time with my members, I talk to them and I really, really welcome feedback. We do our best but if there's anything the members feel uncomfortable about or don't like I want them to tell me. If they don't tell me I can't put it right.


I make sure that our events start in a friendly place at a reasonable time. And my emphasis is on the safe space and I keep the groups small so everybody has a chance to interact.


Emma:

If you could do any activity with any person, what would you do and with who?


Dee:

What a question! Well, I absolutely think that Florence Nightingale was an exceptional person. And I would love to do a historic tour around London with her. What a life she lived.


Emma:

Any final words of wisdom for budding Dee's?


Dee:

If you're organising something, I always say, just do what you love and are passionate about. If you stay true to yourself, just be yourself, then that'll come over in what you're offering.



www.45plusnotgrumpy.com/