We met Kristine and Alex for the one and only time in August 2011 at the home of a mutual friend in Sunderland. They were so like Ella and I in many ways but so different from us in others! Their background of multiple unsuccessful foster placements and time spent in a Children's Home pretty much mirrored ours and like Ella and I they were in a mutual long-term relationship. They were also active members of a self-help group.
BUT - politically they were "Hard Left" activists and they were clearly surprised that we were fairly mainstream New Labour. I don't think they have ever got over this! They saw their - and it was very much their - self-help group more as part of the class struggle with any mutual support aspects a bonus rather than a core function.
We have stayed in casual contact with them but none of us have never suggested swapping membership lists or meeting up. Ella (who is much better than me at picking up on these things) has the impression that their group is about 20 to 25 strong but with very little coming and going of members. Our friendship circles currently don't overlap (as far as we know) so we only know what they choose to tell us and they only know what we choose to tell them!
I think the gap between Kristine and Alex and Ella and I is widening rather than closing. Education, employment, marriage and parenthood have all changed us a lot in the last few years while Kristine and Alex still seem like the firebrands they were when we met them in 2011. But they have a part in our lives, they have the right to be heard and we share a common interest in former Care Kids.
We wish them well, despite anything some people have said to the contrary!
We regard so much of what we do as giving and receiving emotional, financial or practical advice or support. In our time in charge and since Didi and 38DD took over the group had never been political. In a non-nasty way we don't understand where Kristine and Alex are coming from but presumably their friends and long-term subscribers are happy enough.