By Dave Shafford 
It has been a few weeks now since the first Dartford Living/ #dartfordhour Meetup so I felt it would be a good time to reviewit and see how we can build on what was a very encouraging event.
After the initial preparations for the event, we announced the event via social media and on our website. We had an amazing response with nearly half the tickets being taken in the first few days. After the flyers were distributed and an email sent we were fully booked for the event within days.
On the night 55 people attended representing local businesses and local charities from around Dartford and the nearby area. Everyone was welcomed into the gallery with a ‘goodie bag’ with chocolates from our caters on the night (A Question of Thyme), Free Art from Stephen Oliver and exclusive special offer leaflets from Dartford Living launching our new websites and business directory. It also enabled people to collect flyers andinformation from other businesses/ charities that attended.
After the initial welcome I gave a brief talk introducing the magazine, for people who were not aware about how the magazine is run, i.e. community based run by volunteers and not for profit, and also what we aretrying to do in the local community and to launch our new services – Dartford Business Directory, and the Where to go locally website (more on these to follow on the website).
After this we encouraged the attendees to speak to as many different people as possible and find out about the business/ charity that they represented. While they were doing this they were able to enjoy the delicious spread put on by local business a Question of Thyme in the fantastic surroundings of the Stephen Oliver: Studio and Gallery.
A few days after the Meetup we sent around a survey to gauge the reactions of the attendees and to see whether it would be viable to carry this on as a regular event.
After analysing the responses it was clear that the event had been extremely popular and this will definitely become a regular event. We hope to rotate venues around Dartford to attract as many local businesses and charities as possible.
A few important comments came out of the survey that we issued. A Question of Thyme received lots of compliments with regards to the food. A couple of tweaks were suggested for the running order of the event, with a number of people suggesting that we invite a few businesses and charities to give a short talk about at each event.
We have decided for the next Meetup we will allow a number of businesses and charities some time to give a brief talk about their organisation. This will be allocated on a first come first serve basis when we announce the date of the next event. 
With Christmas on the horizon, the next meetup will be in the new year, around the middle of January. We have already been offered a couple of new venues for the Meetup. As soon as we finalise a date I will let you know. 
Once again thank you to everyone who came. The businesses qnd charities that were represented at the last Meetup include: 
Dartford Living
DS Brochure Webdesign
Stephen Oliver: Studio and Gallery
A Question of Thyme
Dartford Labour Party
Dartford Conservative Party
Mayor of Dartford
Av Sandhu
Slimming World
Linklater Opticians
Dartford Valley Rugby Club
Dartford Football Club
Practical Van Hire 
Kent Community Health Foundation Trust
Wellbeing Link
Petra Charles Face Painting
Alexander House
CAP Debt Centre
Lynton and Co
West Kent Befriending
Bressers Photography
Christoph Bull
Wisdom Estates
Health Trainer
The Harmony Theraphy Trust
Dartford Community Day Services
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services
My Print World
Campanille Hotel
Cards for Good Causes
Dartford Arts Network
Apologies if I have missed anyone off. Let me know if I have and I will add you to the list.