2023 Annual Conference - Ataxia UK

We're bringing back this year's annual conference in person & online

We are delighted to bring you the Annual Conference 2023, which for the first time ever will be a combination of in-person and online!

It will take place at the Radisson Blu, East Midlands Airport on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st October. We are very much looking forward to welcoming as many of you as possible in-person.

If you are unable to attend in person, we will be streaming the most important parts of the conference straight to your living room, as well as some interactive sessions for virtual attendees.

Conference Programme

This year's Conference had a feature-packed programme. From 'It Works for Me' sessions with Friends of Ataxia UK, to Doctors & Researchers Q&As, interactive workshops and so much more.

To the right, you'll find recordings from selected sessions and speakers.

Slides from Mary Barron, Ataxia UK's Research Officer's, presentation can be accessed here.


Annual Conference 2023 Awards 

It’s always a pleasure to be able to show our appreciation to members of our community who have gone above and beyond to support people with ataxia. What better way of doing this than by presenting awards at the Conference? 

Ceri Pepper was awarded our Ernie Heath Award for her fierce and relentless campaigning to secure the rights and support needed for her daughter Jade’s education and healthcare. As well as advocating for Jade, Ceri has been involved in various awareness campaigns, raising funds and increasing public understanding of ataxia, which has inspired others to join the cause. Ceri’s exceptional dedication and unwavering support embody the spirit of Ernie Heath. 

The deserving recipient of this year’s Matthew Law Award is Tim Kahn. Tim’s involvement in Ataxia UK takes many forms, including proofreading this magazine and serving as a clinic volunteer at the London Ataxia Centre, offering vital support to those navigating the often daunting path of a new diagnosis. In addition to this, he is a volunteer on the Helpline and has run the South London Support Group for many years, providing a welcoming and supportive environment for people to share their experiences.We congratulate Tim on receiving this award, and thank him for his tireless dedication to improving the lives of people with ataxia. 

The Branch & Support Group award went to the Farnham Support Group. Started in 2013 by dedicated volunteer Derek Wood. The group has gone from strength to strength. During the pandemic, they embraced virtual meetings, allowing them to stay connected through a difficult time,and engage with other support groups across the UK. In addition to providing advice and support to each other, the group members are passionate about raising awareness of ataxia in their local community, and have hosted fundraising stalls at their local hospital, lido and Morrisons. We congratulate them on their success in creating such a strong group.

Our inaugural Excellence in Ataxia Research and Care award goes to Professor Paola Giunti, who has shown tremendous commitment to ataxia research for over 30 years, extending to a very wide range of common and ultra-rare ataxias. She has led clinical and lab-based research at the only UK site for EU-wide natural history studies on FA and SCAs, the London Ataxia Centre. Her team was involved in clinical and lab work leading to the Skyclarys approval. Paola had the idea of setting up the first Ataxia Centre in the UK back in 2005. It has since expanded significantly, supporting around 1,200 patients today. She established a successful multidisciplinary clinic including physios, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists and recently founded a Children’s Ataxia Clinic together with Dr Sphresa Pula. 


We want as many people as possible to be able to attend in-person. With the prices of everything being higher than the last time we had an in-person conference, we’re increasing the number of bursaries for people on means-tested benefits.

If you’re eligible you can claim 50% off accommodation, travel and conference tickets for someone with ataxia, plus a carer if required. Bursaries are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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