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TAG FW 2017 busThe TAG Family Weekend 2017

took place on  Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October  at the Holiday Inn, North Coventry, just off the M6 at Junction 2.

Peter Lacey, our Chairman, reports:

I am delighted to say this was an enormously successful Family Weekend!

We had 126 attendees, including adults and children with AMC. It was in fact one of the largest Family Weekends/Conferences we have ever had.

Although many families arrived Friday and enjoyed the ‘craic’ of the evening, the FW ‘proper’ didn’t start until Saturday morning.

The first event was a speaker from the electronics retailer Maplin telling us about some of the ‘Assistive Technology’ that is around and that could be useful to help disabled people. He was very well received and answered many questions. I know several members who have since bought some of their products.

The second speaker was a maxillo facial consultant from Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. As there are many members that do have jaw/facial problems this talk was of great interest to us. In fact, Mr. Sidebottom, the consultant made it very interesting and amusing at times. He faced a barrage of questions at the end and lunch was delayed by a few minutes!

For a couple of hours in the afternoon we had four professionals from Great Ormond Street Hospital discussing with our members on what we and they thought about the future format of a renewed TAG clinic at the hospital. The attendees – and the GOSH people -  really liked this involvement and came up with some excellent pointers which the GOSH staff have promised to take onboard.

We had two other interesting speakers in the afternoon as well. One was from the Carers Trust who was able to give some advice to carers.

Last but not least we had ‘one of our own’ - Andrew Helps - doing an Employability Workshop, which went down well too.

So, you can see we had a varied cross section of speakers all of whom were excellent and well received by our members.

During the day the children were looked after – depending on their age – by ‘professional’ nannies, and by a couple of children’s entertainers. This year we also had a games room that included, table tennis, pool, air hockey as well as other games. All these proved to be very popular.

In the evening we had dinner at the hotel and this enabled people to get to know each other even better.

On the Sunday we had the formal Annual General Meeting, during which we elected our full complement of Trustees. This was followed by a general discussion.

This wasn’t our only time for chatting as there had been plenty taking place quietly all over the weekend. 

As I said at the top of this piece it was a successful FW, helped by the lovely and helpful staff at the hotel. 

Subsequent to the Family Weekend we asked for feedback via Facebook. I am pleased to say this was almost all positive.

A negative was the size of some of the bedroom doors, but with goodwill both ways this was sorted out.

Everybody liked the conference area as it meant we were able to stay together and chat during the coffee breaks.

Other results of the feedback were suggestions for topics / speakers for future FWs:

  • A speaker on benefits either from DWP or Citizens Advice. They were asked, but we were told that the DWP are not interested and it could get too personal. Citizen’s Advice gave the same answer as per DWP
  • A speaker for older people – Great Ormond Street speakers were approached by adults too. The Trustees will do this next year.
  • A children’s discussion group -  parents would have to be involved with this, or have separate groups. Q and A session was mentioned; however, it is felt that this wouldn’t work. The Trustees will decide what may be done.
  • An envelope in the welcome pack for donations.
  • Motability talk on adaptations. Motability was asked to attend, but wouldn’t come. The Trustees will ask Adaptability, or another similar company to come and show what adaptions can be done to a car.
  • Talk about independent living. The Trustees felt Independent living is up to the individual council’s and isn’t really a topic that could be discussed as a talk. .
  • More talks on AMC.

See details of 2018 Family Weekend

I hope the above report encourages you to come to this year’s Family Weekend in October 2018. Probably, in the midlands again – for logistical reasons for most members.

So, keep your eyes on the website, Facebook and your emails.