I keep responding to the Camberley branch on twitter but never actually get a response.
I can see the benefits and drawbacks of joining. Not sure how much it costs, but I suppose you have an almost captive market to potentially sell to.
Never joined myself but know people who have. I've always been put off by the rules and regulations that go along with it. May have changed since I last looked at it as this was a good few years back but the major issues I had were:
- You had to introduce a certain amount of people (which may be why you're always getting invited)
- You had to attend or send a substitute, you are allowed 3 absences in 6 months, after that they prob put you on detention or ring your mom
- No leeway in the one person per group per profession, design and marketing covers very broad area
- I don't want to talk to anyone at 6:30am let alone a bunch of people trying to sell me their services
I did join 4Networking for a six month trial which was a lot more relaxed and has a good online forum too. Personally though I find the whole thing a bit cringy and like speed dating, but more to the point I couldn't find the time to go often enough to warrant the cost.
We went to a couple of tester meetings, couldn't commit to going regularly or getting someone to go in our place and if you don't I think they send you a couple of warning letters before you then being asked to leave without any refunds of your membership fee (600 quid-ish). I can see it working for some companies, maybe for some of you freelancers as it can be a good way of meeting lots of locals/local companies...... but you could always do that by going down the local pub. I would think they've done quite well out of the recession, it is a business their running after all and they're busiest when people are scrabbling around for more work.
There seem to be lots more local business groups setting up at the moment which are much less formal and with no chance of ending up on the naughty step.