One of the best things about the Group is, and always has been, the twice-yearly weekend workshop / seminar. This is normally held in the Spring and Autumn in Oxford, although in the Spring of 1996 we held our first overseas meeting near Amsterdam in the Netherlands, as we have quite a few members in the area. Since then there's been another meeting in the Netherlands and one in Exeter in the south west of England.

In Oxford the hotel is good, with excellent rates, good food and a leisure centre and swimming pool that's free to resident delegates. We welcome spouses and families, and kids stay free if sharing their parents' room. Spouses who are not interested in Helix may like to go sightseeing in and around Oxford during the day -- Blenheim Palace isn't far away, for example.

During the seminar you can show everyone what you are doing with Helix; you can see what others have done; you can look at different ways of solving the same problem. The exchange of ideas and techniques is invaluable, and the atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly. Nowadays some 15-25 members attend each seminar. 

The varied programmes include topics of interest both to beginners and to advanced users. In addition to the formal sessions there is plenty of opportunity to demonstrate databases to other delegates -- a valuable exercise that always results in plenty of positive discussion -- and to consult the Help Desk.

Some of the most informative Helix sessions may well be those that take place over dinner or in the bar! Delegates attending HUG seminars for the first time often comment on how freely the 'experts' give away their trade secrets.

Next Seminar:

Dates to be arranged -- watch this space.


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