Day 1 – NWG Annual Conference and Unsung Hero Awards

The Conference

Wow, what a day!!  We started with how well everyone had done on the CSE awareness day presented by Cheryl. She did a sterling job of motivating everyone and exceeded all our expectations and fears for the day falling on a Saturday and what that impact would be. But as always you all came up trumps, making use of several days awareness raising opportunity, with footballs clubs being able to contribute too. Congratulations everyone.

Did it stop there? No, today (21.03.17) there was so much great twitter activity we were soon trending 2nd in the UK again with our hashtag #NWG17 – trending on Twitter twice in one week!

Karen Leach was our first guest speaker, giving a powerful account of her experience and the impact on her and her parents and family. So well delivered you could hear a pin drop. What better way to motivate everyone to add a focus to sporting activities, reminding us to ensure that taking part in sport is a positive experience for our young people, making sure dreams, hopes and aspirations are not shattered. I was so delighted to meet her at last and know we shall work together again.

The day progressed with a series of workshops and we kept hearing very positive feedback about so much of the work being done by you all, as always we continue to be humbled by your commitment to share improved practice and resources. It is fundamentally what makes this network so unique, a family ethos of working together to do the best we can with very difficult and complex  abuse.

We heard from Gregg Mead, Safeguarding Lead with the Home Office, who sprinted through the progress report. So much has happened he struggled to tell us about it in the time allocated. We have a very strong working relationship with the Home Office and will continue to support their plans and take your thoughts, ideas, successes and difficulties to them.

I have heard so many people today say, “this is our time to plug ourselves and recharge ourselves for the next 12 months, relighting fires and re motivating people to continue their work”.

The Awards Dinner

7pm arrived very quickly, the atmosphere across the venue was buzzing and laughter and family feel surrounded all aspects of the event. People who had arrived on their own soon found friendly folk to spend the evening with.

At the moment (1am) I don’t know if we rose to the challenge of being the most tweeted event of the evening, but I guess everyone had a good try – Matthew Catlow was certainly trying very hard to understand the why’s and wherefores’ of hashtags but not sure if he managed it in the end!

The Awards were tremendous, everyone joining in, everyone appreciating all nominees should have been winners.  I’ll leave Cheryl to tell you all the final results in her next newsletter.

Dancing to the Beat Roots put the finishing touches to the day.  Turning in for the night proved to be a much bigger job than anticipated as I wandered from table to table saying good night thinking that was it. How mistaken was I? the bar was full of people enjoying the opportunity to sit with friends and catch-up, there was so much laughter and high spirits that it took another hour to get to the lift!

I just want to say thank you to everyone for making the day such a fantastic day for us all, you are an amazing group of people and I’m proud to know you all.

Thank you.

Sheila Taylor CEO