HBA statement regarding our 2021 Annual Conference & Awards.
With the ongoing situation around the Coronavirus pandemic, the HBA Trustees, together with the Conference and Awards team, have taken the difficult decision to cancel the March 2021 Annual Conference.
We understand this will be exceptionally disappointing news for many delegates, including those who were also due to attend our conference in March 2020, but we have had to take this decision to mitigate potential risks with hosting our conference in 2021.
To give you an idea of why we’ve reached this decision; the Holiday Inn is situated in Bolton, which is currently involved in a local lockdown. Whilst we could look at other hotels or venues outside of local lockdown areas, there will always be a concern that these areas, or even the whole country, could well be involved in lockdowns and other Government restrictions, which may scupper our plans to host an event we’d be proud of.
We also know that many of our delegates use public transport to reach conference and some may not be willing to travel. We know that some delegates may be shielding and many may have anxieties around mingling with hundreds of other volunteers in what can sometimes be a confined space within venues, even with social distancing measures.
Our speakers and guests have also indicated they wouldn’t be able to confirm until the last minute, which makes planning an inviting timetable for the weekend extremely difficult. We wouldn’t want to run a Conference with sessions, seminars or forums missing in the schedule due to last minute changes and we think you’d agree you would rather have a full schedule of trips, seminars and events confirmed in advance.
Whilst we may not be holding a face-to-face conference, we are working hard behind the scenes to bring you a virtual conference, which you can attend from the comfort of your own home.
The virtual conference will be accessible to HBA Member station volunteers, with access to virtual seminars from guest speakers, opportunities to mingle virtually with other volunteers and entertainment too.
The National Hospital Radio Awards will also continue in their virtual format for 2021, after the success of our 2020 event. Categories, submission dates and criteria for the 2021 awards will be announced in due course, but it’s set to be a very special event and we hope to celebrate the work our member stations have done during the Coronavirus pandemic to continue to support their hospitals and local communities.
The dates, technicalities and format of the virtual conference are yet to be determined, but updates will be available on our website, through emails and our social media channels. Details on how to obtain a refund for the cancelled 2021 face-to-face Conference, will be made available to delegates directly in due course.
Nobody knows what the future holds when it comes to living in a world with Coronavirus, but we, like many, have had to make difficult decisions to ensure the safety of our delegates and our volunteers.
We hope you’ll understand, but we look forward to welcoming you to a virtual conference in 2021 and hope to see you face-to-face in 2022.
Chairman, Hospital Broadcasting Association.
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