Next month, Minister of State for Children, Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP will open the National Evaluation of the Children’s Fund (NECF) conference
(www.ne-cf.org.uk/conferences/). The conference, which runs from 17th to 24th June, was conceptualized and designed by online conference specialists Nemisys Enterprises (www.nemisys.uk.com). Practitioners and the public will be able to pose questions online to the Minister and other speakers. The NECF event is also the first online conference to have gained full academic recognition, with contributors’ papers achieving publication in a refereed journal.
John Duffy, marketing director for Nemisys, was part of the original team responsible for the first global, online, charity conference in 1999, which has since evolved into a community of 35,000 around the world.
“The online conference concept significantly increases the ability to share information when compared to traditional formats. As the event is free to attend from any PC connected to the internet and there are no travel or accommodation costs, it maximizes the potential for focused discussion by removing barriers to attendance.
“The academic recognition that this conference has achieved indicates how the web is gaining credibility as a medium to engage policy makers, practitioners and target groups in constructive dialogue. Enabling such interaction can only help with future policy making.”
The NECF conference, whose official title is “Understanding prevention: Children, families and social inclusion”, already has 500 registered delegates, including representatives from Barnados, NSPCC, Save the Children and the NHS. With 40 papers due to be presented by leading academics and professionals it will attract policy makers and those affected at ground level by the social exclusion of children. The conference is open to both professionals and the public.
NECF project manager Kate Morris, of the University of Birmingham, added:
“At a time when the Government is taking forward important new legislation that aims to arrive at better outcomes for children, the conference presents a unique chance to hear from all those involved in prevention and preventative services. Social exclusion can have lasting and severe consequences for children - the conference explores effective ways of preventing social exclusion, and the challenges that need to be addressed for effective services to be developed"
Papers will be available to view a week prior to the opening date of the conference so that delegates can subsequently interact with speakers once the conference is underway. A less formal “pavilion” area will run alongside the refereed papers, with contributions taking the form of video diaries, slide shows and downloadable reports and discussion boards.
Nemisys’ other charity clients include the Mental Health Foundation, British Paralympic Association, children’s charity Winston’s Wish, VISION 2020 UK and the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.
Notes for editors:
Nemisys Enterprises (www.nemisys.uk.com) is a new media and marketing consultancy which specialises in large internet projects. The company has a varied client base comprising charities, government departments and commercial organisations. Clients include the Mental Health Foundation, Winston’s Wish, Dame Stephanie Shirley, Hewlett-Packard, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, British Paralympic Association, Bedfordshire County Council and the National Evaluation of the Children’s Fund.
NECF is a three-year research programme being undertaken by the University of Birmingham, in partnership with the University of London Institute of Education. Researchers are evaluating what works in the prevention of social exclusion for children and young people, and why it works. Specifically, the team is doing this by evaluating the Children's Fund, a complex intervention aimed at reducing social exclusion for children and young people aged five to thirteen.
The conference (www.ne-cf.org.uk/conferences/) focuses on the development of a shared understanding of the protective and preventative strategies that achieve inclusion for children and families at risk of experiencing social exclusion. Nemisys is the technology partner for the project.
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