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Teacambs for April – with Riojacambs thrown in too!

Teacambs ( this month will be reporting back from the Mother Ship (Teacamp in London) who are hosting an event titled “Digital Women” – at which Cambridge’s favourite dragon fairy Puffles is listed as a guest speaker! A few fellow Teacambs regulars will also be heading down with Puffles too.


Afterwards – from 6pm we will be heading to All Bar One for some rioja, hopefully meeting a few more people from Puffles’ wider social media following in and around Cambridge who might otherwise not be able to make Teacambs.


These gatherings are not restricted to women only – all are welcome. (Just remember the spirit of the House Rules for Puffles’ Blog “A dragon’s best friend” halfway down here).



No Teacambs this week (March 28)

Hello everyone

Apologies for the short notice, but as it’s perilously close to Easter & with many regulars on leave, there won’t be a Teacambs gathering on 28 March. Several of us will be going down to London for the Digital Women event run by the Teacamp Mothership on 11 April, sign up at if you wish to join us

All the best

Antony & Liz

Teacambs for February 2013 – A report from CommsCamp13

Hello everyone

This month’s Teacambs gathering will have a couple of us feeding back from a massive gathering of local government social media types in Birmingham – CommsCamp. Well over 100 people came along to the event, which brought together the great and the good from local government together for the first time.

Given that the event was over-subscribed several times over, it looks like there is huge appetite from those interested in and/or doing social media in local government and the wider public sector to gather in an unConference format.

One of the challenges that we face in Cambridgeshire is that trying to sell ‘informal’ gatherings such as unConferences – especially given that they don’t have an agenda – to staff, is not an easy thing. How do we try and get people in local government and the public sector in Cambridgeshire to engage in the informal nature of social media when so much of the culture and structures re-enforce the opposite? 

Interested in your thoughts.

Teacambs – 4:30pm, Thurs 28 February, John Lewis Cafe, 3rd floor, Grand Arcade, Cambridge

Reflections on 2012, thoughts on 2013

Hello everyone!

Well wasn’t that an interesting year?

We had a number of gatherings this year, including speakers from Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Government Digital Service in Cabinet Office. We’d like to thank everyone who came to any of our gatherings this year. We’ve learnt loads hosting them and they have been useful putting organisations in touch with each other and even allowing local people to put questions directly to organisations in an informal and non-confrontational setting that is unfortunately rarely seen in politics and local government these days.

Some of you may have noticed that, following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement of 2012, Cambridge will become one of the ‘super-connected cities‘. One of the early sessions we will look to host is what this will mean for the city and the county – especially with ongoing Connecting Cambridgeshire work. How can we help tie up the loose threads? Some of you may have heard about the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough LEP. They are one of a number of organisations we’re looking at to see if they would like to get involved and tell everyone what they are up to – and ask for feedback too.

Looking more long term, our older sisters at the London Teacamp have been keeping an eye on what we’ve been getting up to down here, and will be sending a few visitors up to meet everyone sometime in 2013, which is lovely – especially as some of the team either used to or currently live in Cambridgeshire, so are familiar with our county. 

There are also a number of interesting things developing more locally – including opportunities to help improve Cambridgeshire.Net as a portal, linking up with other organisations as they take their first steps into using social media – such as Cambridge and South Cambs VCS, and generally building a more vibrant community of people interested in public sector social media. 

Finally, there are three events in January 2013 that may interest several of you. They are also all free.

CouncillorCamp – Saturday 12 January 2013 at Facebook HQ in London

If you are an elected councillor at whatever level – Shire, district, metropolitan or parish/town, this event is for you. It would be lovely if we could get a large contingent from Cambridgeshire & Peterborough along.

UKGovCamp 2013 – Saturday 19 January 2013 at IBM’s HQ, London

There’s a blogpost about it here, and several people from Cambridgeshire have already signed up for it. Puffles will also be there too – this time as a volunteer helper! If you are really passionate about public sector social media – especially at a national level, this is the one to get to.

CommsCamp – Tuesday 26 February 2013 in Birmingham

If you work in a communications unit for the public sector (or for an organisation that delivers public services), or have a strong interest in comms and social media in the public sector, please come along to this event.

Our first Teacambs of 2013 will be on Thursday 31 January 2013 – same place as normal – 3rd floor cafe of John Lewis, Grand Arcade, Cambridge CB2 3BJ

Have a peaceful break, whichever festival you may or may not be celebrating, and see you all in the New Year!

Best wishes

Antony and Liz

November Teacambs postponed till next week

Hello everyone,

Just to say that we’re having to postpone Teacambs this coming week due to unforeseen work commitments that have sprung up on our side. We’re rescheduling for Thurs 6 December – 4:30pm in John Lewis Cafe, 3rd floor, Grand Arcade, Cambridge.

Apologies for any inconvenience

A digital strategy for Cambridgeshire’s voluntary sector?


On the links between Cambridgeshire’s public sector and community organisations

This post stems from the Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services AGM that a number of people from the southern local councils attended on 13 November 2012. Antony’s write up of that gathering can be found here.

Social and digital media provide huge opportunities for citizens to find out about what is going on, and to take part. In what will be the final gathering of the year on 29 November, this coming Teacambs will explore the possibilities of a grassroots-led digital strategy to see if what the public sector and community organisations do using social media can somehow be co-ordinated. This is not just about public-to-voluntary sector broadcasting, but rather seeing if volunteers and activists across a number of community organisations can use social media to begin continuous engagement with each other and the wider community.

The main portal for community groups and courses for Cambridgeshire is Cambridgeshire.Net, which has Cambridgeshire County Council behind it. This gives you a feel for just how many community groups are out there. Is there something that we can all do to help all of these groups and organisations to link up and reach out beyond their existing reaches so as to make the positive impact of our community groups greater than the sum of their parts? To what extent can social media help? To what extent does it require planned & co-ordinated offline face-to-face working as well?

It’s all up for discussion.

Teacambs – 29 November 2012, 3rd Floor Cafe of John Lewis, Grand Arcade, Cambridge CB2 3BJ. All welcome.

Increasing Cambridgeshire’s (and East Anglia’s) public sector digital footprint


Getting a delegation together for CommsCamp 2013

Having been to a number of social and digital media gatherings involving the public sector over the past 18 months, one of the things that has struck me is the lack of presence from organisations based in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia in general. Amongst other things, this means that the rest of the country could well be leaving us East Anglians behind. Hence wanting to change this.

My first large-scale gathering was UKGovCamp 2011 during my civil service days. I was delighted! Surrounded by over 100 people who worked in and around the public sector who also understood and were advocates for digital and social media. “Why isn’t my entire department like this?” I thought to myself. Chances are there are a few of you in your organisations that are feeling similar. You can see the potential difference that social and digital media can make to your job, your organisation and to public service delivery in general…but not everyone else can. Imagine then, spending a day surrounded by some of the brightest, most passionate and most innovative of minds in social and digital media where everyone has a focus on what you do in the public sector. Imagine:

  • being at an event where people choose to be there, rather than who are attending because they were sent there or because they feel their job title requires them to be there
  • being at an event where grades, organisations and job titles don’t matter, but where your energy, ideas, knowledge and enthusiasm do
  • being surrounded by people who might be dealing with similar challenges that you face – and may have successfully have overcome them too
  • being able to say: “Yeah, I came along with the dragon fairy” and not being thought of as a complete weirdo as a result!

OK, so you can ignore the last one.

What we would like to do is to get a group of us from East Anglia to head up to Birmingham (as Puffles is pictured doing for the last such gathering earlier this year). I’d also like to have a follow-up/wash-up session at Teacambs two days later on Thursday 28 February in the late afternoon in Cambridge. 

If you have any questions about CommsCamp in Birmingham, please contact Ann or Dan using the details here. Over the next couple of weeks I plan to chase up a number of organisations in Cambridgeshire and beyond to drum up interest.


Puffles en route to Birmingham for #LocalGovCamp in early 2012.