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Olly Swann

NCAS Conference 2020: an online affair

Normally at this time of year, we would be busy packing our bags for the annual National Children & Adult Services (NCAS) conference. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing challenges presented by Covid-19, this year’s event will be an online affair and we won’t get to enjoy the pilgrimage to sunny Manchester.

NCASC is without doubt the highlight of the IMPOWER calendar; a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues across the sector (and to maybe hide from one or two!) and hear about the great work going on across the country. As many of you will have experienced, a great place to do just this is at our dinners, which have become a bit of a conference tradition in their own right; last year we were genuinely humbled by the presence of c.100 guests each night. It just won’t feel the same not being pestered for additional seats at a moment’s notice!

Now more than ever, the sector needs to be sharing learning and celebrating its achievements in what has been an unprecedented year of challenges. As I fully expected, local government has continually responded to the asks made of it and ensured that those who use the services you provide, including the most vulnerable in our society, continue to receive the support they need.

If somebody had told you back in February that you would be spending most of the next year working from home, and doing most of your interaction with colleagues via Teams or Zoom, you would have said it couldn’t be done. But you have done it, and this pandemic has simply highlighted the agility and resilience of the social work profession and its partners.

The conference organisers have done a great job in repurposing this year’s event, so the onus is now on us all to make sure that we get involved and get from it what we need to. As always, the IMPOWER team will be there in numbers, albeit this time from the comfort of our spare rooms/landings/sitting rooms – please do reach out, if for nothing else but to just say ‘hello’. We are running virtual quizzes with a couple of regions, and will be publishing short guest blogposts on themes and reflections from some of the key conference sessions – any budding/willing authors should please get in touch!

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