Annual Conference 2020 cancelled in light of coronavirus outbreak

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19 May 2020

Programme Director Sue Ashmore shares her thoughts in light of the cancellation of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative 2020 Annual Conference.

It is with great sadness that we have made the decision to cancel the Baby Friendly Annual Conference in Harrogate this year due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. We have been reluctant to make this decision but are very mindful of the impact and logistics of running a large event for healthcare workers at this time.

For 22 years the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative Annual Conference has taken place all over the UK. We have grown to become the largest conference on infant feeding in Europe and just last year we were delighted to host our largest-ever conference to date in Glasgow with nearly 1,000 delegates.

The Annual Conference is a time for health workers, academics and volunteers from all over the UK – and the world – to come together to take part in innovative and challenging discussions, to network and interact during the exhibition and to learn from each other about the research undertaken over the past year. But, perhaps most importantly of all, it is also a chance for those working in the ever-controversial field of infant feeding to pause, take stock and build up resilience for another year. Meeting old friends and new like-minded people does so much to recharge batteries and renew enthusiasm for going back out there to make the world a better place for babies, their mothers and families. All the team at Baby Friendly will miss seeing you and taking part in the special moments this year.

This is the first time we have cancelled the conference since its inception in 1998 and I must admit to it feeling a little unreal as I write this blog. However, this has been and will no doubt continue to be, a very challenging year. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all of you working to protect babies, their mothers and families during this crisis and our thoughts are with you and your families during these unprecedented times.

Looking forward, we are determined to make the conference in Birmingham in 2021 the best we have ever had and hope to by then be able to give you all the warmest welcome and the biggest hug.

In the meantime, we are thinking of you all.

Take good care,