Throughout the charity sector and beyond, it is being found following two years of the pandemic people are reluctant to commit themselves to events very far in advance with many planned events being cancelled. This is Ataxia UK’s experience too! Despite a number of people expressing interest in coming to the Scottish Conference on 18th June, we have less than 20 confirmed attendees.
In many ways this isn’t surprising. People are continuing to be cautious about potential exposure to Covid-19; some have been financially badly affected by the pandemic; and others by inadequate welfare benefit increases; and everybody is being subjected to inflation and huge rises in energy and fuel costs. In this context, we have been thinking very carefully about whether we can go ahead with the planned Scottish and Annual Conferences.
Once again, we will hold this years’ Annual Conference online. To proceed with a face-to-face Annual Conference would incur significant cancellation costs as soon as the beginning of July; which in the current climate, is long before we can expect to have enough bookings to know if the Conference would be viable. In addition, due to increases in hotel costs, attending the Annual Conference would be much more expensive than previous years, which many may not be able to afford in the present financial situation. We know that a virtual conference will be very disappointing to many who are looking forward to meeting up with friends and acquaintances after such a long time apart, but we also know from feedback from the last two online Conferences that many people appreciate being able to attend online when they could not come in person.
If you want to come to an in-person Conference don’t despair!!! The Scottish Conference will definitely go ahead in person no matter how many people confirm in advance! So if you want to come to a face to face conference come to the Leonardo Hotel on Saturday 18th June, head to the Scottish Conference web page and make your booking!
The Leonardo has some disabled accessible bedrooms and we have investigated other local hotels with disabled accessible rooms; you will find a list on the booking page.
Please remember that if you are on means tested benefits you can apply for a bursary to cover 50% of the costs of someone with ataxia and their carer to travel and attend the conference (including accommodation if distance requires it). The bursary application procedure is on the Scottish Conference web page.