Every year we run a series of events for our volunteers at locations around the country. We have two main aims for these events:

  • To give you an opportunity to network with each other, discussing good practice and sharing situations you encounter
  • To bring you together with key members of staff, so you can hear about the work of the charity at a national level, and make sure your experiences and views in our strategic planning discussions

The final event of the year is open to everyone – all our volunteers, members, and supporters. It is our annual conference - Sands 40th Anniversary Conference held in Glasgow in November. To register your participation, click here.

This year’s events

Upcoming Networking Days:

Past events:

  • 12 May - Stirling
  • 16 Jun - Bristol
  • 30 Jun - Birmingham
  • 14 Jul - Leeds

Who should attend?

Ideally, we would like you to make it to two events, a regional day and the annual conference, and you are all very welcome. Together these events are the main way for us to keep in touch across the Sands family, and it is important to see as many volunteers there as possible.

Sands has around 600 dedicated volunteers, who run support meetings, run social media activity, run fundraising and awareness raising events, or fulfil a governance role on your local committee. It is crucial to Sands that we hear your voices, so do please try to ensure at least one delegate from your Group attends at least one event.

Which event should I come to?

You can come to any of the regional Networking Days. Many of you will find that more than one is accessible, and this gives you a choice of dates. However, this year we have had to reduce the number of events slightly due to a lower than usual number of available dates. We took the difficult decision not to hold an event in every Sands Network, but instead to focus on major populations centres with good transport links. However, this change provides an opportunity for us to increase collaborative working across all of the Sands Networks, and we are looking forward to bringing more volunteers together. We really want you to feel welcome whichever event you go to, so please talk to your Network Coordinator about your plans.

What are we covering at the Networking Days?

Each event is made unique by the people who attend – your contribution is key. We have planned a series of workshops to structure the discussions.

Sands and the bigger picture

  • Clea talking about where Sands is at in 2018, and how we are making a difference together

Sands in its 40th Year

  • Incorporating your Group’s history into the timeline of Sands
  • How are you celebrating?
  • What do you want to tell the Sands conference?

Your Work

  • Looking at the work your Group is doing
  • Sharing ideas and problem solving

Fundraising for projects and for Sands

  • Our fundraising routes and how we can support them
  • Project fundraising – developing a more joined-up approach with our stakeholders

Data Protection

  • How well are we meeting the crucial challenge of GDPR?
  • Your chance to ask questions

Our future focus

  • We have learned so much about what we want to achieve
  • How can we work together to make that happen?

Linking the days together

As we go through the calendar we hope to share ideas and stories from the Networking Days, to inspire future discussion and share best practice across our 100+ Sands Groups. We will bring all this together here – so keep checking back – and at the Sands Conference on 17th November.

Funding attendance

There is no charge for attending the regional Networking Days, but there is a small fee for the conference. Additionally, you will need to think about travel costs, and possibly accommodation and other expenses. It is absolutely appropriate that Groups fund their delegates to attend these events. Your involvement is crucial to Sands’ success, and getting you there is a really good use of funds.


Don't take our word for it! Here's what recent volunteers have said about the Networking Days.

Janine, Treasurer of Fife Sands said:
“At the Networking Day, I enjoyed getting to see some of the other volunteers, and meeting Sands staff, putting faces to names I’ve seen in emails. It was of great benefit to meet people from across the network, and see how other groups do things and sharing ideas to try ourselves. I found out what’s happening in the wider area, and not just focussing on Fife.”

“Clea Harmer (Sands Chief Executive) is such a passionate speaker, and really energises everyone. It’s good to find out how much good has been done across the country, and it’s very inspiring. When volunteering, your energy starts to flag, but going to a Networking Day galvanises you and gives you new energy to keep going.”

Jane, Befriender and committee member for Cheshire East Sands, who attended the Networking Day in Birmingham in June, said:  
“This was my second network day. I enjoyed getting together with other groups and speaking to people from head office, and seeing how we link and work together. It was great to find out what is happening in the world of Sands.  It was so useful to share practical ideas between groups, each other and head office. We were looking for memorial event ideas and love the idea of a bubble release.”

Hilary, Treasurer for Bristol Sands, who attended the Networking Day in Bristol in June, said:
Hilary_Sturgeon“I always find it inspiring to meet Clea and witness her passion and drive to improve what Sands can achieve. It's great to hear about the big picture of National Sands. There is so much more going on than just the local groups. It helps to understand and appreciate how hard it is to oversee it all when each group has their own idiosyncrasies but also need to be part of the whole network.
It's an opportunity to meet the volunteers from other areas and hear about the great work that is going on. It's good to share all our fantastic ideas and adapt things we learn from others and make them work in our area. It is also good to hear about projects that have been completed that are similar to those that we are about to embark on - helps us get an idea of what to do and learn from any mistakes. We can take the best bits from other projects!
Meet staff - it’s so lovely to put a face to a name and it makes it feel much more personal. The staff are also passionate about Sands, just like us bereaved parents and volunteers. Everyone is desperate to improve and reach our core aims.
The Networking Day made me feel enthusiastic for the future and inspired to achieve locally and further afield as part of the collective network. I can't wait to attend Sands conference in November and be involved in more discussions and continue to feel part of Sands and all the amazing things we achieve together.”