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Virtual events

Thinking about the design and format of an online event can help make sure that is successful and that the participants get something meaningful from it. Video conferencing requires a different etiquette and ‘social skills’ compared to face-to-face meeting, and it is therefore important to think particularly about group size and meeting format.

It is also useful to think about the different roles people may have in meetings. Some people may want be very active, while others maybe happy to just listen and watch.

A community group may wish to ensure that they offer a variety of events formats so that they cater for different preferences and needs within the group, and in particular think about events for carers, and events more tailored for people with a dementia diagnosis.

Below are some examples different types of online events, and suggestions for the purpose, size and format.


Purpose: Passive listening and interest
Examples: Newspaper reading, book chapter, music listening, reflection
Group size: 4 – 20
Frequency: Daily, every other day

An event format for people who benefit from routine, and could be tailored for different needs, a regular ‘briefing’ allows people to come together and enjoy participating in a low-pressure scenario. ‘Briefings’ could include a mix of different elements combining a few pages of a book, listing to music and a meditation for example. The briefing could be followed by an open conversation.

Coach-led participation

Purpose: Active participation for well-being
Examples: Group sing-along, chair-based exercises, mindfulness, yoga
Group size: 4 – 20
Frequency: Twice a week

Doing exercises together can help make the activity enjoyable and rewarding, participants motivate each other and bond through a shared experiece.

This type of event requires the focus on a single contributor, so that the participants can watch and follow. Ideally the coach can also see the participants so that they can better guide and support them.

Mutual discussions

Purpose: Facilitated, or Peer-to-Peer support
Examples: Themed carer discussions
Group size: up to 8
Frequency: Once a week

Shared Challenge

Purpose: Befriending and bonding
Examples: Crossword / puzzle club
Group size: up to 4
Frequency: Once a week

Creative brief

Purpose: Entertainment / distraction
Examples: Bake-off, cookery club, gardening club
Group size: up to 8
Frequency: Once a week

The creative brief centres around the idea of agreeing an entertaining activity to do ‘offline’ and in your own time, and then brining the result back to the group for a demonstration. This should be a fun and lighthearted activity where contributers can share, practice and learn new skills. The group could have consistent theme around cookery for example, or could be something different every week, to suit the preferences of the group. Each session could include a review of the previous weeks activity followed by setting a new brief for the week ahead.

Open conversation

Purpose: Empowering members
Examples: Coffee club, feedback and planning session
Group size: up to 10
Frequency: Twice a week


Purpose: Information sharing
Examples: Lecture, artistic performance,
Group size: unlimited
Frequency: adhoc, monthly

Ad-hoc support

Purpose: Friendship, support
Examples: Ad-hoc – Call, text, meet
Group size: 2-3
Frequency: Ad-hoc