Why Host an Iron Brew?
An Iron Brew is a great way to mix and meet with new people living with and/or affected by Haemochromatosis. They can create a sense of community for those affected by the condition, allowing attendees to share their stories of both struggle and success. It’s empowering to know that you’re not on your own. This ultimately offers comfort, hope and encouragement to those who may need it. 

Where?

First thing’s first- where to host an Iron Brew? It can be a challenge knowing where might be best suited to a meeting like this. It’s important everyone in attendance feels safe and comfortable.

  • Coffee Shops

-            Costa

-            Starbucks

-            Café Nero

-            Other local coffee shops/ cafes

  •         Local Pubs
  •        Morrisons ‘Meet Ups’ Areas
  •         John Lewis Community Rooms
  •        Village or Church Halls
  •         Community Centres
  •         Local Parks- weather depending of course!
  •         Online (if you’re tech savvy!)

Top Tip: If you are using a public venue, make sure to check on any licences you might need. It may also be wise to enquire about Public Liability Insurance.

It may be worth considering the following when choosing a venue:

  •         Is it accessible?
  •         Is the venue easy to find?
  •         Is it free or affordable?
  •         Is there parking available close by?
  •         Are there public transport links close by?
  •         Who else is using the venue? Will attendees feel comfortable with others being in the venue?
  •         Are there refreshments available?

Invite Everyone You Know

  You don’t just have to invite those living with Haemochromatosis- you can invite anyone who is affected by the condition.

  If you’re on social media, you can share the event far and wide! You can set up an ‘Event’ page on Facebook.

  Make posters advertising the Brew- you may wish to create a separate email address so that people can reach out to you with any questions. You may also wish to contact your local authority to see if there are any restrictions in regards to putting posters in public places.

 You could even contact your local Newspaper or Radio Station to see if they could advertise the event.

Top Tip: If you’re planning on taking photos of the Iron Brew on the day, make your attendees aware.

Get Brewing!

  •         Allow everyone to introduce themselves, name labels might be a good way to avoid any confusion with names.
  •         Set the tone of the discussion- ensure everyone knows to be kind and respectful towards one another.
  •         Is there a particular topic you will be discussing? Or are you hoping for more of a general ‘chit chat’?
  •         Icebreakers! Icebreaker exercises can be a helpful way to kick-start a conversation. Some examples of these exercises include:

-            Favourite Things - go around the group and have everyone say their favourite, colour, food, place, childhood memory etc.

-            5 Things in Common - as a group, find 5 things you all have in common. Avoid physical attributes- this makes things too easy!

-            Bryn likes a Brew – take it in turns to go round the room, say your name and something you like, for example, “My name is Bryn and I like a Brew”. The next player does the same, but they also have to say the first player’s name and what they like, for example, “My name is Robin and I like Radishes, your name is Bryn and you like a Brew.”  Keep going until all your guests have introduced themselves.

-            How Many? – take turns guessing how many sweets/ marshmallows are in a jar. To up the stakes, the person who guesses the closest number can take home the jar!

-            Liar Liar – take it in turns to tell the group 2 things that are true, and 1 lie. The rest of the group have to guess which is the lie!

-            Storytime – players take it in turns adding one sentence to a story. Perhaps someone could take record of it so that it can be read out at the end?

Prompts

If you're worried about getting started- have a think about the prompts below. They might help to get conversation flowing! 

  •         How are you?
  • Have you been diagnosed with GH?
  •         When were you diagnosed?
  •         Had you heard of the condition before being diagnosed?
  •         If any, what symptoms do you/ did you have?
  •         Is there anything you do that helps to alleviate your symptoms?
  •         Have you noticed anything that might make your symptoms worse?
  •         Are you currently receiving treatment?
  •         How are you responding to treatment?
  •         What motivates you?
  •         Do you have any worries?

Good Vibes Only!

It’s important to ensure everyone feels comfortable and safe. Ways of ensuring this can include:

  •         Treating people with kindness and respect.
  •         Confidentiality is key- what is shared in the Iron Brew, remains in the Iron Brew.
  •         Welcome everybody as they arrive. This can put someone who may be quite anxious about attending at ease right from the outset.
  •         Listen with an open mind- make sure everyone feels heard.
  •         Actively listen to one another. This includes not interrupting or talking over one-another.
  •         Express patience. Ensure people don’t feel pressured to share if they are not ready.
  •         Share personal experiences rather than making general statements- everyone is different and has different experiences of the condition. Rather than saying “I experienced this too, here’s what you should do,” try, “I experienced this too, here’s what I did” or, “here’s what I learned”.
  •         Share anecdotes or funny stories where appropriate.
  •         Review meeting locations for accessibility.

Get Creative!

Centring the Iron Brew around an activity can help to provide a non-pressurised environment for sharing with one another. Activities can also provide an incentive for those who are affected by the condition but may be anxious about attending an Iron Brew- they may be interested in attending something that incorporates their hobbies or interests.

  •         Quizzes
  •         Crafting
  •         Cake-away- ask your guests to bring a bake!
  •         Local Walking Routes
  •         Board Games
  •         Gardening/ Flower Arranging
  •         Bowling
  •         Coffee Morning Games- guess the weight of a cake or how many sweets/ marshmallows are in a jar!
  •         Pot-Luck/ Bring Your Own Bowl

Top Tip: If people are bringing food and drink, it would be wise to make labels detailing allergens.

Finally... Have fun!