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PHP London Joins the Big Orange Heart Family


It’s with great pleasure that I can finally announce that PHP London, a user group for PHP developers, has joined the Big Orange Heart family.  

As part of Big Orange Heart’s mission to support and promote positive well-being and mental health for remote workers, we deliver regular events to help reduce social isolation for community members.  

PHP London was founded in 2006 and delivers monthly events for users and developers of PHP within the London, UK area.  Given the current climate and limitation of meeting in-person, their events have moved to an online format.  Initially, events took place via video conferencing services, presenting challenges in relation to safety for attendees and frustration for the hosts. 

The team reached out to Big Orange Heart having attended some of our online events and in response to our open calls to other event organisers:

And with that, the PHP London team joined the family.  We’re very pleased to have them join us and to enable their community to access sessions and be able to socialise in a safe environment virtually. 

Interview with Craig Willis, PHP London Organiser.

– Why did you decide to deliver PHP London through the Big Orange Heart live events platform?

After having used several other off-the-shelf platforms, we felt none of them quite gave us what we wanted. We also wanted to open up the event to wider audiences (YouTube) and not be restricted to the default platform we were using previously.

Having been to a few other events that Big Orange Heart have provided online, I was impressed with the platform, features and overall experience.

Another issue was the cost. The popular conferencing platforms are expensive, even with sponsorship and extra features they provide are equally expensive. I also really appreciate what Big Orange Heart is doing and being able to support them is fantastic. Whilst there are some free/open-source tools, we felt that these also didn’t have all the features we needed/wanted and choosing the Big Orange Heart live events platform was an easy decision.

– How has the experience been for you as an event organiser and host?

The experience was great. The streaming setup was relatively straightforward and the platform ran smoothly. In real life, our event attracts ~100 people, who usually split into smaller groups, so I really liked the “table” idea where someone could create a table and others could join via video.

The platform has also freed up some of my setup time as Dan and his team beaver away in the background to make sure everything is ready to go.

– Do you plan to deliver some form of virtual access to events when you return to in-person?

I think this is a bit of a no-brainer. I think most gatherings, such as meetups will cause many people to be cautious and perhaps refrain for going in person.

We do record our events (we have a backlog to upload to YouTube), so we do provide content, but I think we will look at offering a live stream and interaction once (if ever) go back to in-person events.

I’ve also been to many meetups and conferences since lockdown (both UK and global) and having them online (in some form) has been great and has opened events to a lot more people, which is something we’d really like to do.

If you are an event organiser and are interested in learning more about the Big Orange Heart Live Events platform, then reach out to the team and we can make it happen.  The platform is offered free of charge for organisations that align with the Big Orange Heart mission.

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