Friday, 15 July 2016

2016 Conference "Care Kids at 18+ - joining the wider world"

2016 Conference "Care Kids at 18+ - joining the wider world"

Well the conference has been and gone so it is time for an honest and realistic appraisal of how things went and what lessons have been learned.

The late move of venue from Penarth to Cardiff was handled well and having the delegates staying in one reasonably priced hotel but meeting in another more expensive hotel worked better than I had expected but probably not as well as the organisers had hoped.

The rooms allocated to delegates were all close together on one floor with the curious exception of two rooms that were three floors and a longish walk away. The rooms were fine and good value at the rate that had been negotiated. Breakfast was, as usual, a chaotic bun-fight.

The conference facilities were OK once Ella had made a fuss at reception about what had been promised and what the manager wanted to provide on the day. Nice one Ella!

The outside speakers were - with one exception - very poor but the internally organised seminars were brilliant which leaves me feeling rather confused! The key-note speaker was clearly re-cycling a talk she had given elsewhere without making more than a minimal attempt to customise it for her target audience. I suggest that future conference organisers look long and hard at doing away entirely with external speakers. In my view they tend to be rather poor value for money. 

The wide range of after-hours events on offer to delegates was much appreciated by all concerned and there was no reason for anybody to feel abandoned or left out as had been mentioned as a problem last year.

It proved hard work to get sponsorship for the event. In the end just over £8000 was gathered together from various organisations and people but £5000 of this was from a single source (an adult friend of Ella and I).

A total of 69 delegates attended at least 1 of the two days. 41 people made their own arrangements: either staying in their own home and commuting to the venue or alternatively staying with friends in the area. That left 28 who stayed in the hotel with their costs heavily subsidised by the sponsorship money. Delegates came from as far away as Blackpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Norwich and SE London which was the good news. Sadly nobody came down from the Newcastle area - perhaps the unsuccessful bidders for this conference were making a point here? I don't know and haven't asked!

Next week I will deal with the content of the talks and seminars.

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