This year, we will not be holding a national CLAPA Conference in the Autumn.
This follows a series of discussions where CLAPA staff and trustees agreed to try something different and move towards campaigning on various issues surrounding cleft lip and palate with a view to improving care in the UK. These will be long-term campaigns which will involve a significant amount of independent research before the public-facing part of the campaign begins. Not having a conference this year allows us to free up resources for us to give our first campaign the focus it deserves, and we’re confident that this will pay off when it launches publically in 2017.
For our first topic, we will be looking at the very start of the cleft journey: diagnosis. This campaign will kick off soon with a community-wide survey into parents’ experiences, good and bad, about receiving a diagnosis of cleft.
There will be a CLAPA Conference in 2017 where we will share the results of this campaign with you, and from there we may move towards a schedule of biannual conferences.
We know this decision will be disappointing for some. We at CLAPA love seeing our community come together at our conferences, both in person and online, and are thrilled with the response to our last event in 2015. However, we also feel that as our community and our reach grow, it is important for us to try new things and to spend the money you’ve all raised for us in a way that makes a real difference to as many people as possible.
This move towards campaigning marks a new chapter for CLAPA as a charity – and we hope you’re all as excited as we are!