EXPERIENCED events organiser Dawn Midwood has set up a new business designed for single people to meet up for sociable meals and other gatherings.
Mother-of-two Dawn, who lives in Maughold, said the main objective of Divine Diners is that members are able to meet in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere.
‘We are like an extended family, everybody gets on so well with each other,’ said Dawn who once ran her own PR agency.
Her full-time job is working as a sales rep.
But she launched Divine Diners as a hobby and has seen interest grow over the last few months. Originally from Chesterfield in Derbyshire, Dawn, a divorcee, has in the last few days launched a website publicising the group.
But that is about as far as she goes for new technology.
She told Business News: ‘People join to widen their social network.
‘I have nothing to do with Twitter or Facebook. People say to me sometimes: ‘‘Why don’t you use Facebook or Twitter? ’’ and I tell them that we are all meeting together and doing something together. There’s a whole range of things we do together including both formal and informal meals; film events, art and casino nights along with expert guest speakers and occasional live music.
‘I am helping to create real friends and not virtual friends.
‘I have neither the time or inclination to use things like Facebook or Twitter. Who needs them when you have real friends and real people?
‘That’s what the club is all about, with people forging real friendship.’
Dawn added: ‘That to me is far more important than any of the social networking sites you can go on.
‘And I think quite a lot of them can be quite dangerous too. You hear of people getting into all sorts of problems because of these sites.
‘Really I’m more of a people person, anyway, than gadgets.
‘But I felt we had to embrace some new technology by starting up the website. But as for Twitter and Facebook you can forget that. I’m not interested and most of the people in the group aren’t interested either. They want to meet each other, to speak to each other and go out socially.
‘You see I haven’t time. I think it’s wasted time sitting at a computer. To me what is more important is going out and meeting people face to face, having friendships and going out socially and meeting people. That is far more important than sending out messages on Twitter or Facebook or whatever.
‘Perhaps it’s just me and I’m a bit old fashioned that way!’
Dawn told how the group enjoyed an artistic watercolours night at The Mill, St John’s with Ramsey artist Michael Starkey. ‘He’s a lovely guy and it was so refreshing. He taught us how to paint. He painted a picture on the night which I will auction for Manx Blind Welfare.’
Dawn said she believes in meeting people face to face. If anyone expresses an interest in joining Divine Diners she always arranges to meet them for an interview.
The group has members aged from their early 30s right up to about 70.
‘Within the group we have people from various professions.’
Dawn insists it is not a dating agency but if people want to meet up outside the group all well and good. And in fact some members have arranged to go on holiday together.
‘I’ve got a lot of professional people and people who work nine to five jobs and people who are new to the island and don’t know that many people.
‘We’ve had some couples dating within the group but that’s not what it is all about. It’s about finding friendships.
‘I would like to think that if we continue to get new members we will continue to grow and maybe I can think about expanding. Summer balls and things like that would be great.’
Dawn decided to form the group because she feels it is much needed in the island.
‘It’s great really, they are a wonderful bunch of people in the group.’
Dawn has a great deal of experience in event management – previously organising the opening night at The Island Film Studios, various weddings, balls, charity events, dinners, and fashion shows. She was also responsible for the Men of Mann and Women of Mann calendars.
Dawn says that it is often difficult for people to widen their social circle of friends after separation, divorce or the death of a partner or being new to the island. ‘Divine Diners helps to overcome the barriers and enjoy new found friendships or relationships,’ she said. Dawn’s son Ryan Cleator, 30, owns a company called IT Works and her daughter Rachel Cleator is a dietician based at Noble’s Hospital.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Divine Diners can contact Dawn through the new website or by email.