We don’t know about you but April seems to have shot past in the blink of an eye! We have spoken to many PPGs about various activities they have planned including growing their membership, hosting information events and creating patient surveys.

Following online meetings in March where PPG members had the opportunity to give their views on how to encourage more people to get outdoors, Gill and Jim met with Jules and Steph from Nature Buddies to discuss the next steps. The meeting was really positive and both Steph and Jules are keen to work with PPGs in the future to bring Nature Buddies into GP practices, so watch this space!

There was a Voluntary and Community Sector Expo at Bournemouth University in April, where organisations were given the chance to learn about the fantastic work going on in Dorset to support people throughout their lives. The role of PPGs was promoted at the event and many people showed interest in joining their local group!

April seemed to be the month of new beginnings – Jim met Debbie from Central Bournemouth Primary Care Network (PCN), the new PPG coordinator who is looking to get a PCN-wide PPG off the ground. He was also introduced to Tamsin, the new PPG coordinator at Wyke PPG, she is really keen to work with the PPG to develop the practice newsletter and promote practice services through the website and social media channels.

Gill hosted meetings of the Purbeck PPG Leads Network and the North Dorset PPG Leads Network – these are fantastic meetings where PPG chairs or leads are able to meet each other, to share experiences and knowledge as well as to learn from each other. These really are brilliant meetings so if your PPG representative would like to meet with others, please let us know!

Jim has been working with Bridges PPG and practice to develop a questionnaire to better understand why people did not attend (DNA) appointments. Through this work he’s also met colleagues from Public Health Dorset (PHD) and the charity Community Action Network (CAN) who are doing similar research. The results of the projects will be shared to give a better understanding for all groups in Dorset. The DNA questionnaire will soon be available as a resource on the PPG webpage.

Gill very much enjoyed attending PPG meetings in Gillingham and the Barcellos Practice in Ferndown. Gillingham PPG welcomed two new members, and the group talked about their plans for a Men’s Shed. Barcellos PPG is a recently formed group but is working really well with great attendance, and is going from strength to strength!

Outside of work Jim spent a really enjoyable Easter weekend with his wife’s parents in Bedfordshire. Back at home he is trying to encourage his hanging basket flowers to grow in the cooler April temperatures (without much success!) and has seen several films at the cinema – his favourite being Polite Society, an action comedy-drama about a girl aspiring to be a stuntwoman while trying to stop her sister from marrying a man who she thinks is evil – it’s a lot more fun than it sounds!

Gill had a fantastic weekend away celebrating her friend’s 60th birthday, where the party was entertained by Elvis and Robbie Williams tribute artistes and fed by a private chef! At home, she has been clearing out the greenhouse ready for this year’s crops (green tomato chutney anyone?!)

As we meander meaningfully into May, just a reminder that Jim and Gill are always pleased to meet with practices to talk about forming, relaunching or reinvigorating PPGs, as well as coming along to established PPG meetings. Our thanks go out to all our PPGs for your amazing engagement and support!