It is always a pleasure to be asked to organise events for learning disability nurses and other professionals in that field. First and foremost everyone wants the day to go smoothly and for their event to be as successful as possible. I worked alongside Sean Ledington in organising the StC Paperclip Challenge in 2013 and this event was a great opportunity to see familiar faces, all of who inspire me. This latest event in Derby meant bringing together all four countries; Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England together along with each nation’s good practice examples. Working alongside Hazel Powell and other members of the StC steering group was an absolute delight, it meant really getting involved in making sure everyone was recognised for their valued contribution.
In terms of the venue I was impressed with the Riverside Centre in Derby and all that they had to offer. Even when the programme order had to change at the last minute Jon (IT guru) quickly made adaptions to the running order to ensure our live streaming was not disrupted. Note to self: double check that those travelling the furthest are not the first to speak. Having said that, everyone adapted brilliantly and no one seemed to mind. I secretly think that because learning disability nurses are creative and flexible a last minute programme change is nothing to worry about. Especially, if those changes are managed so well by the chair Hugh Masters and the co-chair Sara Gorman. What became apparent for me as preparations for the day went on was the fantastic team-working out there. This is done through the many different online platforms available for people living with learning disabilities, their families and those supporting them. Without this network I would not have had the pleasure of meeting the talented and charming co-chair, Sara Gorman. Lynne Westwood at the University of Wolverhampton saw my plea and immediately thought of Sara who is a visiting lecturer and works with Lynne. “I really enjoyed the day thank for giving me such a challenge, such great experience.” said Sara after the event.
Another note to my self is to always have tissues at the ready. In my other professional role, working in partnership with families and carers to ensure that their voices are heard and acted upon is vital. When Hayley Goleniowska begins her presentation you know the tears you share are not out of sorrow or pity but because her words are so important and her wisdom leaves you invigorated and moved to make a difference.
That is what the impact of an event like StC15 is. You can feel it in the room, you can see it in the work of WeLDNurses,Learningdisabilitynurse.com, Positive Choices, Postural Care, Books Beyond Words and the many others who are working together to improve people’s lives and empower and strengthen those who support them to be the best they can be.
Together we are better…….
Rebecca Hill, Event Co-ordinator