What is Virtual Clubhouse?
The clubhouse mission is about breaking social isolation, and for more than 70 years, that model has been associated with a physical space. But thanks to technology, in 2020, social connection can be experienced without physical connection.
So, today, at a time when protecting all of our health from COVID-19 requires us to temporarily close our physical spaces, Fountain House, in partnership with Clubhouse International, is committing to keeping our mission and our connection going - virtually. Our goal: To provide a virtual gathering space for members that mimics much of the clubhouse social practice, as well as provide information for members and staff about how to obtain support services.
During a global crisis, we are also using the opportunity to connect our clubhouse community - starting with New York City, and in the coming days and weeks, expanding to the broader world. We are all in this together, and together we can prove that social distancing does not have to lead to social isolation
COVID-19 pushed us to create a beta version of the “Virtual Clubhouse”. Our plan is to evolve the program over time to become an integral element of our work. We envision Virtual Clubhouse will become a tool for Clubhouses all around New York City and the world to deepen modes of connection with our membership, even after physical clubhouse locations reopen. Long term, it will offer a way for people to connect with clubhouses even when they cannot physically attend and will allow clubhouses to reach an audience and membership far wider and greater than they can today, by connecting people online. We will be looking for feedback from members and staff as we go forward. We ask for your patience right now as we take these first urgent steps.
The interactive version of Virtual Clubhouse will launch soon. Stay tuned. Here’s what is available now and what to get ready for.
Engage with the Virtual Clubhouse (Beta)
Our Digital Tools
We will use a suite of online tools and services to connect digitally and mimic the physical clubhouse experience. Some of these will be familiar, some will be new. As we get ready to roll out Virtual Clubhouse 1.0, we encourage you to start testing these out.
Facebook (Our Living Room)
Facebook is the largest digital social network in the world. You probably already have an account, but if you don't, you can learn how to create one here. We will be using private Facebook Groups as a central hub of communication. Clubhouse members can chat about their day-to-day, have lively conversations, tune in to live streams and attend community meetings here.
- Clubhouse New York Coalition groups will be added here shortly.
- Fountain House members can join FH Community on Facebook
You will be asked to answer a few questions when you request to join and agree to community guidelines and consent for basic information sharing.
Slack (Our Units)
Slack is a collaboration tool used by many businesses and organizations to collaborate with teams. Think of it as a way to have text message exchanges with multiple people at a time that's organized into topic-specific channels. We are organizing ourselves into multiple working groups on Slack – similar to units – so members can work side-by-side with staff to make sure the Virtual Clubhouse and offline operations run smoothly.
- Our working groups are evolving and open to everyone from the broader clubhouse community.
- To request access to Slack, and to join our Working Groups, please submit your request through the Fountain House Online Helpdesk
Zoom (Our Community and Social Gathering Space)
Zoom is a video conferencing service that allows multiple people to have video conversations at the same time. We will run working meetings, small group workshops as well as evening/weekend and social programming via Zoom. Zoom also enables individuals to connect via phone and experience the audio element of presentations and meetings if they do not have adequate access to computers or video capable mobile devices.
- You can download and install Zoom to your mobile device or computer here: https://zoom.us/download
- Community meetings and social program links will be shared via calendar shortly. We encourage members to check the FH Community Facebook Group for upcoming info.
Basic information about our COVID-19 response (known at Fountain House as “Pink Sheets” and “Yellow Sheets”), will soon be generalized and shared in the Virtual Clubhouse.
We will also provide information around telephonic services and signing up for support services such as meals and medication delivery.
Need Technical Support?
We have dedicated technical support if you run into any issues:
Are you a Clubhouse looking for support setting up your virtual networks? Please email the Clubhouse COVID-19 helpdesk at COVIDclubhouseintl@fountainhouse.org