Our 2014 Sands Network Days are already underway and proving an invaluable opportunity for local Sands groups to meet, share ideas and hear about what’s going on at Sands. We have seven networks across the UK (a network of local Sands groups that link with each other) and our Network Days are similar to an informal annual conference. 

In January, our West Network Day was attended by 38 delegates from 9 Sands groups. Sands chief executive, Neal Long also attended, alongside other staff from the groups, communications and research & prevention teams. In March, our Welsh Network Day had similar attendance by Sands groups, a Sands trustee and staff, as well as health professionals from the area.

Hosted by the network convenor and a local Sands group, this year the focus of each day is slightly different and tailored for the needs of each network. For example at the West Network Day, the chosen topics were: befriender meetings; subsequent pregnancy groups; ways people contact Sands; fundraising ideas; and there was a special session from our communications team on working with the media.  While, at the Welsh Network Day on 1st March the focus was: news from the Welsh Assembly; news from Wales; about groups, group handbook and groups toolkit; fundraising; update from the trustees.

Feedback to date has been very positive and most people have felt that the sessions helped them feel more confident, gave them new ideas to take away and increased their awareness of the support available to them. We also received some great ideas for next year.  We will collate feedback from each day and share this once all the Network Days have happened.

Judith Abela, groups manager, Sands, said, “Our Network Days are a fantastic opportunity for groups to meet each other and staff from Sands.  They enable groups to share ideas and raise concerns, and people always leave full of enthusiasm.”

Our Network days are held once a year and the remaining days are being held as follows:

  • North Network: 22nd March 2014, Leeds
  • Northern Ireland:  26th April 2014, Portadown
  • East Network: 10th May 2014, location TBC
  • Scotland: 17th May 2014, Grangemouth
  • East: TBC

Please contact your local network convenor or the groups team to find out more: groups@uk-sands.org.