An end of an era – so the perfect opportunity for a celebration   1 comment

At the end of the Spring term .I shall be resigning as a registered childminder. Actually this will be the second time that I have resigned, the first time was in 2004 when my part time job for Worcestershire Local Authority became a full time job. However after 7 years of working for the LA, I returned to childminding in 2010.

This time I will be resigning for good, over the last few months I have been slowly downsizing my childminding and in fact now only have one funded two year old attending my setting – and just for his 15 hours. After Easter he will be transferring to the nursery unit at his local school as planned. Even my granddaughter has now left my care and has completed her transition to my colleague’s setting and is very happy and settled there (although I do of course still have her as ‘Granny’ now and then).

I have also been slowly downsizing my resources – this has been incredibly hard as I spent a lot of time and money building up an extensive range of quality resources that supported my ethos and practice. The only way I have been able to part with my ‘things’ is to give them away to worthy causes and those colleagues I know will value them. However some colleagues have refused to be given things and have made donations for the things they have had – which I am grateful for but for me it is the knowing that my resources will benefit children that is important. I still have a fair bit to pass on – including a huge collection of duplo and my heuristic things, and my craft stuff – but slowly it is going.

All of this could be rather depressing – this end of era stuff …….

…… BUT I have a plan

The plan came to me in the middle of the night (as things often do)

A party that is what I needed – but then as is my way, I reflected and thought a party is fun, it would be nice but surely I could turn this party into something that not only marked my retirement from hands on childminding, but also provided an opportunity for reflection, for sharing, for networking – and maybe a bit more.

So for a few weeks, I mulled over this idea, I discussed it with a few close colleagues – but there was an issue – events like this cost a lot to put on – and I don’t happen to have much money.

So more thinking was required how could I hold the event I wanted to hold but not take out a huge bank loan to do so.

Then it came to me – if some of my well known friends and colleagues and fellow campaigners would support me and offer to say a few words, I would have that ‘added value’ – a reason for people to pay to attend as would not just be to celebrate with me, there would be something in it for everyone attending – a grand networking event.

Worth a try I thought – but I was not at all confident –  what if those I asked to support me said no, or were busy that day? Doubts, doubts and more doubts.

I started looking at venues – Birmingham being the most central I thought (even though I live close to Birmingham – it is still an hour from home by train)  and as train connections are fairly good and there are plenty of hotels to suit all budgets I thought let’s start with Birmingham.

I was not disappointed and quite quickly I found a venue, close to all three of Birmingham’s train stations – and even better they offered a very good price for a ‘all in event’ – of course there was a downside  – the dates on offer were not the best as Bank Holiday weekends.

Taking a bit of a gamble, I provisionally booked one of the large rooms – and was given a week to confirm my booking.

Deep breathing was needed, as I still had not even mentioned this to anyone apart from my colleague Carol (who is my sounding board) I had not even told my husband.

So first tell Garry – he was a bit doubtful and worried that I would be committing to a huge expense if my plans fell flat – an expense that we could not afford. I gave reassurance that it would be fine and no risk at all to us  (even though I still had doubts)

Next, I emailed a few very close but well known friends and asked if they would support my event. A few minutes passed ………

…… and then the emails starting coming in – YES, said one, then another, another said I will see if I can juggle, all said what a brilliant and lovely idea.

Ok – slightly less doubtful now – I had a few possible contributors – but would my friends and colleagues from across the country want to attend – and want to pay to attend?

I put a post on Facebook, and asked people to express an interest – in less than three days I had over 70 people expressing an interest! (Overwhelmed does not cover how I felt).

Of course at this stage, I did not have any confirmed speakers or guests – just interest expressed – but I took the gamble and booked the room and gave a promise that I would have at least 50 guest – and maybe up to 200. The price was confirmed £25.99 per head for all refreshments, two course dinner, the room and a few extras – oh and if thinking I am going to make a profit – VAT has to be added. Knowing how much conferences and other events cost I was pretty pleased with the deal – and I hope I will have enough in the kitty to pay for a celebration cake and maybe even a small goody bag – mmmm – might be getting carried away but I want this event to be something special – goody bags on back burner, but cake going to be provided thanks to my friend Carol offering to do for cost price.  However, who knows might be possible without exceeding the £35 per head that people are paying.

People started asking if I was going to try to get sponsorship or have stalls selling or promoting things – I am resisting this at the moment, as I want this to be a personal event, and pretty much like my campaigning I want to have freedom of speech – and I don’t want my guests to feel obliged to buy things – in short I want this to be a different sort of event.

(In my head, I am even wondering if this could be an annual event – would have to cost more as would have to pay speakers at future events – something to think about)

I have now produced the official invite and reply slip. Please click on link to view           Invite and reply to celebration  And by the way if you want to know which of my friends and colleagues are supporting me by attending and saying a few words please read the invite – it is a pretty impressive list

I hope that many of you will be able to join me – if you can’t you might want to write a comment here on this blog, or email me a comment or statement to be shared with those attending – and to add to my memory book of the event.

PLEASE DO SHARE THIS BLOG AND THE INVITE WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES

 

Update

More friends and colleagues have now said they are willing to contribute, and a couple more well known people will be attending (but not contributing by speaking)

Bookings are now coming in and fees being paid – It is all go for what promises to be a fantastic event (if I say so myself) I hope to see many of you on 30th April

Those needing to stay overnight, a few of us (including me) are staying at the Premier Inn next to New Street station (and a short walk from the venue) on Friday night (29th)  and there will be a bit of a gathering – if not a party. Others have expressed an interest in an after event get together – so we will be do that as well – not sure where but plenty of pubs in the area.

 

 

 

Posted January 16, 2016 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

One response to “An end of an era – so the perfect opportunity for a celebration

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  1. As Chair of Northamptonshire Childminding Association, I have helped to organize several of our Annual Conferences and so I thoroughly understand the hard work involved in putting a day like this together. Therefore I wish you and your friends all the best. I think it is a fantastic idea and wouldn’t miss it for the world, I have managed to juggle my family arrangements about and i have booked my place and a couple of nights in a Hotel to make a weekend of it AND managed to talk a few friends into joining me [ to be honest they didn’t need persuading!]…When I invited Penny to attend our Conference and maybe say a word or two, she didn’t hesitate, she made the journey alone, having never met any of us before. She joined several of my Committee members and myself at the local public house for dinner the night before and we were over the moon, then she stayed all day, contributed to our discussions and even helped us when it came to tidying up and packing away at the end of the day [ and I know how her poor feet were feeling at that point as i was feeling it too!!] but we really appreciated it and were really pleased to have her there with us. Attending will be my personal Thank you to Penny, not only for attending our event, but to thank her for everything she has done and is still doing for our profession and all her beliefs. I look forward to seeing you again Penny and networking with fellow childminders to help celebrate your retirement, and if you need any help from myself and my friends please do not hesitate to let us know…….we will be staying at the New Street Premier Inn on the Friday and Saturday night, so you know where to find us! Thank you for the invite. x

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