This has been a very busy couple of weeks for the team working on the conference for care experienced people. Its formal title is “The care experience – past, present...& future?” but we just know it as CareExpConf.
We met in Liverpool, at the lovely Liverpool Hope University. This is where the CareExpConf conference will be held next April and we very much wanted to have a close look at the venue – what rooms will we be allowed to use? Where are they? How big are they, and will they meet our needs? No worries there! Liverpool Hope University is a lovely venue and we are very much looking forward to being able to meet there.
We have a small sub team of gifted writers and artists who are coordinating the artistic display of paintings, pictures, sculptures, writing, poetry and much more by creative and talented care experienced people. The team wanted a close look at the rooms that will form our gallery. The rooms look wonderful and we are very optimistic about our art exhibition by our care experienced family on the day. If you'd like to share your creative talents with the CareExpConf community you can get in touch with us via our "share your stuff" website page.
We have another sub team of academic colleagues, some care experienced, some not, but all sharing a deep commitment to explore the care experience and what it means to those who live it. This research will highlight the issues important to the care experienced family and feed into the learning that our community want to bring to the attention of those with the power to introduce change. Like the rest of the conference, our academic research will be led by the issues important to the care experienced family. This research was a focus for detailed discussion at our CareExpConf meeting last week. You can also access some groundbreaking care experienced research on our website.
We spent a lot of time, as we do at most meetings, looking at how we will order the day to offer workshops, support, opportunities for dialogue and ways to gain an accurate impression of what care means to care experienced people – and how we can improve it for all in the future. Our core team has a small sub team including care experienced psychologists and a psychotherapist leading on how we can best meet our aims to support our delegates to contribute their views safely and effectively. The conference has positive aims to listen to the wisdom of the care experienced family and what they think needs to be done to make it better, and this is a major focus of our attention.
Fundraising is a major focus of all our meetings. Everything we do has to be paid for. We are raising money slowly but surely to finance the event so that all care experienced folk who want to come and participate are not prevented by circumstances from doing so. The generosity of our donors never fails to amaze us and leaves us humbly aware of the responsibility we have accepted to bring ‘the family’ together. Our small fundraising team continue to do great things encouraging donations from our generous friends in the community. It would be wonderful if you could share our fundraising page with your networks to raise important funds to support our Care Experience family members attend.
We entertained a guest from our friends in the NHS, the nurses and medical teams who support ‘looked after children’ at our meeting. We are very lucky to have wonderful support from across the social work, legal and health professionals across the entire UK and Eire, who share an aim with us to improve life for people with care experience.
The meeting was intense as the talented committed volunteers who make up our team sparked off new ideas and initiatives to make things happen as well as they can. We never finished our tasks, but we never expected to. There is so much to do. We will continue to meet regularly until we have delivered the CareExpConf we believe our care family deserve.
The Care Experienced Conference Team