Wow! We had an incredible time at the very first CLDF Weekender this weekend!
33 young adults joined us at Derby University on 4-6th August for the chance to meet up with others and talk about issues which affect them. Many of the 16-24 year olds have previously attended CLDF’s Talk, Tell, Transform project and loved the opportunity to catch up with friends from across the country as well as meeting new friends.
After a relaxed evening on Friday we kicked off the Weekender on Saturday with a welcome from CLDF CEO Alison and the Vice Principal of Derby University’s College of Health and Social Care, Paul Reed. The morning was filled with wellbeing workshops, where attendees could ask questions and discuss any issues.
Pippa Mundy, Psychology Support at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, held a workshop on emotional wellbeing, where key things taken away included having a good support network around you, making sure to embrace, accept and love yourself, and knowing that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.
CLDF regular Maggie discussed living independently. When dealing with going to university or moving away from parents, young people also have to think about their own hospital appointments, medication and coordinating their healthcare. Even though they’re independent, an important message was don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Kevin and Andy from Unite Union joined us to discuss employment rights, including leave for medical appointments, how to talk to employers about your condition and where to find support.
The final workshop was with King’s College Hospital Nurses Annie and Natalie, who spoke about health issues which young adults might face, such as food, alcohol, transition to adult services and issues around having children.
After lunch we had interactive sessions of yoga, how to build emotional resilience, and the chance for some fresh air playing handball and rounders.
Saturday night was the highlight of the weekend at our CLDF Weekender Party, with special guest Justin Grace, Head Sprint Coach for Team GB Track Cycling Team and transplant recipient. Justin was diagnosed with a childhood liver disease when he was 17 and had his transplant in 2016 after returning from the Olympics in Rio. He shared his journey, inspiring us all those to live life to the full, and took time chatting and taking photos with everyone.
After a late night, we had a quiet start to our Sunday morning sharing how CLDF's Talk, Tell, Transform, project has helped all those who created a digital story as well as how CLDF could shape it in the future.
We were then joined by Rob and Hannah Mayor and their sons Callum and Finley. They’ve been fundraising for CLDF since Finley, now 5, was diagnosed, and spoke about all the activities they’ve inspired people to get involved with.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the first CLDF Weekender. It was fantastic to see everyone in one place catching up, making new friends, sharing experiences and we just can’t wait for next year!
CLDF is very grateful to everyone who helped make the Weekender happen, including Derby University for the use of building space and accommodation, university students who volunteered their time, and all our speakers who inspired and supported the Weekender attendees.