Our next family conference will be 28-30 August 2020 Hilton Hotel, Coventry.

As well as 2018 being our 25th anniversary, it was also family conference year! Everyone looks forward to our family conference including the trustees, all of whom work extra hard to make the weekend a success. The conference was held once again at The Hilton Hotel, Coventry on 10-12 August 2018. We have an excellent relationship with the hotel staff and they tell us that they look forward to us coming every time!

We listened to feedback from our families and changed the date slightly this time from the last weekend of the English summer holidays to a date part way through. We appreciate that this date didn’t work for some but we had to try. It would be nice if we could accommodate everyone’s arrangements but this simply isn’t possible. The Saturday trip this year was a visit to the thrilling theme park – Drayton Manor with a more sedate day planned for Sunday – a trip to Twycross Zoo. Everyone enjoyed their days out, no one was left behind and thankfully the weather was kinder to us this year!

We had speakers from all over the UK covering topics as diverse as Science and Research, EHCPs, Sensory Processing Disorder, Transition to adult services, Wills and Trusts and many more. It was a pleasure to welcome back old friends such as Bernard Dan and to welcome our new speakers. If you have a suggestion for a talk or speaker for our conference in 2020 please let us know – we are always looking for new and interesting subjects to cover.

This year we had a slight change in the programme and we asked families to split up according to age/need. We had talks for younger families and newly diagnosed running concurrently with talks for families with older children or adults. This seemed to work well and is something we hope to continue in future conference programmes. Who can forget the party on Saturday night? What an amazing night that was for adults and children alike. It was such a wonderful sight seeing our loved ones with AS in their finest party wear coming through the balloons and down the red carpet! The excitement was palpable and everyone did so well to wait patiently until the doors were opened! Everyone was rewarded with a glass or 2 of prosecco or a sparkly ‘mocktail’ followed by an excellent disco. Here’s to the next 25 years!

Now for some facts and figures!

We had over 300 families in attendance this year along with 17 speakers and 22 exhibitors, plus trustee’s and their families. 400 people in total. The total cost of the conference was £83,543.52. This includes all accommodation, meals, entry fees and transport for the trips and expenses for our speakers who very generously donate their time.

The total amount paid by you – our families, was £22,972.64. The conference is always heavily subsidised by AngelmanUK as we feel that it is the most important event in our AS calendar, therefore AngelmanUK met the shortfall of £60,570.88. This money is raised for us by you thanks to your generous donations and fundraising events and we are very grateful for the time and effort that our families put in to raising much needed funds for us.

Every year we hear some amazing comments from our families about the high quality of the accommodation and the excellence of the speakers and this is always fed back to the AngelmanUK team, the hotel and to our guest speakers, however it does need pointing out that we also receive some negative feedback as well. Whilst constructive criticism is encouraged, and we do listen & make changes based on your recommendations, please bear in mind that the trustees spend many sleepless nights in the run up to conference trying to make it the best it can be, and we rarely get any of the benefit. Please be kind with your criticism – the AngelmanUK team are volunteers who feel strongly that they want to help and support others in their ‘spare’ time and it isn’t appropriate to be overly negative about the venue or the work we do to support you – our families. If you feel that you would like to volunteer to help at future events please email Louise.shaw@angelmanuk.org
We look forward to seeing you there!

If you missed it this time round, you’ll want to make a note in your diary for the next one, 28-30 August 2020 Hilton Hotel, Coventry.