A suitable venue for group meetings is essential. This should be at an accessible community location that can be reached by bus and has space for parking. If you are targeting a more vulnerable population, it needs to be suitable for people using walking frames and wheelchairs. An ideal environment is one that is warm, private and comfortable, with sufficient space and good toilet facilities. As a number of the sessions include the preparation and sharing of food, access to kitchen facilities is recommended, although this is not essential.
Facilitators of groups have stressed that venues need to be warm, comfortable and homely and have sufficient space for people to move around, help themselves to drinks and form subgroups.
Possible venues include church halls, rooms in sheltered housing complexes, libraries, healthy living centres, leisure centres, local village halls. It is good to choose somewhere other activities are provided as this encourages members to try more activities.
Venues need to be central in the community and on a bus route. Transport will differ from the city setting and the rural area and our experience is that the cities and towns tend to have good public transport with buses and trams that members used to get to the venue and outings. Members may travel in pairs if someone is not confident on public transport.
Within our research groups a few people have taken the opportunity to use a door-to-door community transport scheme. This was a bonus for people thinking of giving up driving due to health concerns. However it can be expensive despite operating a sliding scale for passengers. In more rural areas members have tended to drive to venues and have organised themselves to share lifts if public transport was not available.