Home Forums Website Ideas & Suggestions How to increase U.I.N. membership

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1535
    brian61 in Normandie
    Participant
    • Topics: 60
    • Replies: 239
    • Contributions: 299
    • Chief
    • ★★★★

    Member since
    March 24, 2016

    Today there are 212 members to United In Normandy, which I think is quite good, but looking long term I think it needs to be better.
    The question is “What can U.I.N. do to increase its membership ?

    I would suggest that a couple of factsheets, well publicised, could help googlers to find this site. The problem with factsheets is that they need to be constantly up-dated to keep them relevant, so perhaps the number could be restricted.

    My ideas would be something along the lines of :
    1. Moving to France – 30 odd years ago the British & French embassy used to issue information sheets on how to prepare and complete a move. It included things which are now well out of date like the customs clearance at the borders of all household goods and cars, also registering for a Carte de Sejour. But if you followed the guidelines it took about 5 days to get fully registered with everyone in France and from that point onwards you were in the system and left alone. From various postings read on various forums it seems that many do not do this and then complicate their own lives for months afterwards.

    What would your suggestion be for a “vital” factsheet ?

    #1540
    Katsura
    Participant
    • Topics: 28
    • Replies: 437
    • Contributions: 465
    • Guardian
    • ★★★★★

    Member since
    August 2, 2016

    Quantity of members is important but so is quality. Any site like this needs members who post and make site a repository of interesting and useful information. I think a Move to Normandy for Dummies factsheet would be very useful. :yahoo: Off the top of my head it would need headings for –
    + Mairie
    + Taxes
    + Tresorie
    + How to join the health care system
    + Mutuelles / “top-up” insurance
    + Finding a doctor
    + Finding a dentist
    + Opticians and eye tests
    + Emergency services
    + Out of hours “walk-in” emergencies
    + The infirmier/é system / cabinets d’infirmiers, soins à domicile
    + Prescriptions and pharmacies

    Enough already ?! There are lots more headings which I’m sure others can contribute.

    But the challenge is not to compose it in the first place but to maintain it thereafter because even in rural Normandy, things change.

    Another way of driving traffic to the site and making it a lively and interesting place to visit for a coffee break or for information is topics that have daily appeal – so we could have ongoing topics like:

    + hidden Normandy – new or forgotten places to visit
    + what’s for supper – because lots of us like and have the time for cooking so finding out what other people are cooking for supper could (if enough people participate regularly) be interesting
    + restaurant guide – not so much a review section but a list of places we’ve tried and enjoyed (or hated… within the libel laws :-) )

    A lot of these things wouldn’t have worked “elsewhere” – and to work here they’ll need member participation – but this sort of thing can make a strong online community that’s relevant to our lives. :good:

    #1543
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Topics: 91
    • Replies: 2116
    • Contributions: 2207
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    January 1, 1970

    Excellent idea…we had enormous help when we arrived but only because we looked for it!!
    Practical advice ..from people who have experienced the same problems and dealt with them!!what could be better?

    #1584
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Topics: 133
    • Replies: 1027
    • Contributions: 1160
    • Super Star
    • ★★★★★★★

    Member since
    January 1, 1970

    Katsura, you’re quite right. It would be nice to have all that information to hand, but who is going to compile it, then ensure it is kept up to date.

    As far as I can tell this is a two man, or to be more precise a one man, one woman show, and the Brittany site nearly collapsed because of their near exhaustion, and some abuse. They don’t run it as a commercial enterprise with teams of technocrats and specialists, but as a community website.

    You use the phrase member participation, but is there anyone out there who is going to carefully research all or any of the topics in your list, then write it out clearly so that it can be understood by all.

    As for finding doctors, dentists, plumbers, electricians etc, I can tell you where to find them without needing a website. Yellow Pages. Or if you don’t have it available in hard copy go to pagesjaunes.fr which I find very useful. You can even click on ‘Plan’ and it will show you exactly where they are.

    You might need a French/English dictionary to get the right spelling, but I’m sure we all have one of them. In any event the website will try to guess what you want to say if there is a slight difference in spelling, just as google does.

    While you are there you can click on pagesblanches to get the ordinary phone book.

    Once you have the phone number and address go to Google Earth and enter the address, then go into street view and you can see the building just as if you were standing outside it, assuming it is on a public highway. Better than someone trying to explain it all to you.

    #1587
    Katsura
    Participant
    • Topics: 28
    • Replies: 437
    • Contributions: 465
    • Guardian
    • ★★★★★

    Member since
    August 2, 2016

    As for finding doctors, dentists, plumbers, electricians etc, I can tell you where to find them without needing a website. Yellow Pages.

    Hiya John – slight misunderstanding there, I think. I believed Brian was proposing What To Do / Info ‘sheets’ not Pages Jaunes-style directory listings.

    So I was not proposing lists of doctor or dentist recommendations (which are illegal in France anyway) but rather general guidance for new arrivals such as answers to:
    – May I choose a doctor (GP) or do I have to register with one designated for my area (which, to some extent, you do in England).
    – How do I find a dentist (answer: with difficulty!) especially if it is an emergency at the weekend.

    #1624
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Topics: 133
    • Replies: 1027
    • Contributions: 1160
    • Super Star
    • ★★★★★★★

    Member since
    January 1, 1970

    Hi to you too, Katsura. I understand what you are saying. Can I make a suggestion. Nothing rude or unpleasant, honestly.

    Why doesn’t someone visit another site, copy and paste their info sheets into Word and print them out, then re-word or even re-write them completely so that there is no breach of copyright. That way a whole bank of info can be available.

    Why don’t I do it? I hear people saying. I’m far too busy now that I am retired.

    #1626
    WCB
    Participant
    • Topics: 30
    • Replies: 356
    • Contributions: 386
    • Chief
    • ★★★★

    Member since
    March 29, 2016

    why bother with copying the information ? – a simple link to the existing pages would do, that also overcomes any copyright issues.

    Ok maybe there are some sites you feel you would not want to link to, but to be fair I guess we all visit other sites from time to time to find this sort of information, and I for one have no issue with that – even for pages from the often derided “other site”. at the end of the day if the information is available Via this site then it still makes this site a useful resource, and the open friendly forums will (hopefully) encourage people to stay with U.I.B as their initial point of contact.

    #1641
    Katsura
    Participant
    • Topics: 28
    • Replies: 437
    • Contributions: 465
    • Guardian
    • ★★★★★

    Member since
    August 2, 2016

    why bother with copying the information ? – a simple link to the existing pages would do, that also overcomes any copyright issues.

    I think Brian’s intention in the original post (but I could be misinterpreting! and I should really leave him to answer) was for UiN to carry specific content that would be catalogued by search engines. Then, someone searching with keywords like “moving to normandy” or “registering with a doctor normandy” would get results with links to UiN and the information they wanted.

    Linking to existing content on other websites wouldn’t achieve that objective. Imo.

    #1649
    brian61 in Normandie
    Participant
    • Topics: 60
    • Replies: 239
    • Contributions: 299
    • Chief
    • ★★★★

    Member since
    March 24, 2016

    Hello Katsura, you interpreted my intention correctly. I thought that just 2 or 3 factsheets might help draw in new members. :good:
    I will try and do my bit on the forum by placing some posts that might also draw others in. :mail:

    Another subject that has been often discussed (on another site in another life) is car registration. This could be another key factsheet.

    #1651
    Aly
    Participant
    • Topics: 10
    • Replies: 1182
    • Contributions: 1192
    • Super Star
    • ★★★★★★★

    Member since
    April 2, 2016

    Car registration is a good suggestion. We have imported a number of cars over the years and some have been harder than others. For no particular reason! Once we checked the opening times of the prefecture on the website, arrived at the office after a 40 mile trip to find it closed! Another time it had moved! All part of the rich experience of living here. It seems different departments still have different rules!
    I recently changed to a French driving license….very painful… As we sold our house whose address was on my English license I felt I had to change. Went to the Mairie who gave me the form and a list of what to send. Gathered it all together and posted it as told. Two weeks later it all came back with a letter saying they now need three photographs..grrr…acquired extra photo and sent it all back. Three weeks later it all came back again with a letter saying I had to go to the prefecture and apply in person. Grrrrrrrrr…went to Alencon..two new forms are now required. Filled those in….if I wanted to keep grandfathers rights I need an attestation from my GP…no way. If I walked out of that door I was staying with my possibly illegal license. If I waived my rights and had drive a car only I could have it! Ok, don’t like towing a trailer or caravan anyway. Paper work stamped and I was given a paper to show the gendarmes if required. This was in February. The paper expired 4th April. At the end of March we were back at the prefecture to import another car…very easy this time. Stopped to ask about my license…she came back with an opened envelope with writing on it. She said they had tried to deliver it but no one home and it needed a signature. Nothing found in our box to say this..so I just smiled and said thank you very much and left with my new license.
    Any fact sheets should be accompanied with the warning….no guarantee it will work as you expect.

    #1653
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Topics: 133
    • Replies: 1027
    • Contributions: 1160
    • Super Star
    • ★★★★★★★

    Member since
    January 1, 1970

    Spot on, Brian. If Kevin Raymond could post his dummies guide to registration under the Useful Information heading that would be a start.

    WCB’s suggestion would indeed get the info to members, but why involve the other site.

    Although I said I am too busy, I have prepared a factsheet on who can live and work in France, and whether a carte de sejour is required. If Admin tell me how to post it in Useful Info, I will do so.

    If I have time, I might look at other topics, but to quote John Miles Music is My First Love. It’s not really, but it’s important, so I must practice.

    #1657
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Topics: 133
    • Replies: 1027
    • Contributions: 1160
    • Super Star
    • ★★★★★★★

    Member since
    January 1, 1970

    Having said that I must practice my music, I failed to do so. Instead I have compiled a two page factsheet on taxation, dealing with property taxes, tax returns, and self-employment without any assistance from another site. If there is anyone out there with specialist knowledge on any of these matters, I would ask them to cast their eyes over the factsheet before offering it online to ensure there are no errors, as I am not an expert. I can send it by email if you send me a PM with your email address.

    Anyone else prepared anything yet?

    #1667
    admin
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 40
    • Replies: 54
    • Contributions: 94
    • Adventurer
    • ★★

    Member since
    March 22, 2016

    Hello all and thank you so much for all your thoughts and suggestions plus the energy behind them :good:

    I have received some information from @John Doe today (cheers John!) and I will get that information on asap. I am working a lot behind the scenes at the moment with server and email changes so I will get on to this as soon as I can. If you have anything you feel is needed on the information pages then yes, please do send it in. On the Brittany site we have useful phone numbers and websites for English and French speaking assistance with various issues as well as links to Animal Rescue, etc so it would be great to have that here too.

    Thanks again for all your help :good:

    #1711
    brian61 in Normandie
    Participant
    • Topics: 60
    • Replies: 239
    • Contributions: 299
    • Chief
    • ★★★★

    Member since
    March 24, 2016

    Hello Admin,
    Thankyou for all the effort that you are putting into making your site very workable. Questions that have been repeatedly asked on other forums and which I would put into simplified factsheets are (not in any order of priority) :
    1. Moving to France – points of contact for Notaire, Mairie, Taxes, Social Security, doctors & dentists.
    2. Car Registration UK-France
    3. Initial Tax Returns – official exchange rates, filing civil service pension type income, filing other types of pension incomes etc

    But, the information does need to be maintained up to date which is why I suggested limiting the number of factsheets.

    #1712
    Katsura
    Participant
    • Topics: 28
    • Replies: 437
    • Contributions: 465
    • Guardian
    • ★★★★★

    Member since
    August 2, 2016

    I could do a basic “finding an artisan in Normandy” style factsheet… which explains things like décennales, etc… but I can’t start that till the beginning of next week. If that’s useful, Admin?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
united expat normandy

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close