Bendrigg Trust Centre, Kendal, Lake District
The Behçet’s UK (known as the Behçet’s Syndrome Society at the time) Family Weekend took place on 3–4 June 2017 at Bendrigg Trust, Old Hutton, Cumbria. We planned this following the successful Family Day in 2016, which was attended by 38 people and cost about £1400. Feedback after this event showed that people felt less isolated, made new friends and contacts, picked up useful information, shared experiences and ideas, and had lots of good family fun. Over 85% said that a 2-day event with an overnight stay and 2½ days of activities would suit them best in future. We chose the Lake District for the 2017 event to give more opportunities for involvement of people in Scotland and the North of England.
In all, 46 people attended on the Saturday, and 41 stayed overnight and participated on Sunday. The age of participants ranged from 18 months to over 60 years. The event cost just over £6000, and we received funding of £3000 from the British Association of Dermatologists. There was something for everyone, with activities including canoeing, a zip wire, indoor caving, a low ropes course and a sensory room. In the evening, there were songs and toasted marshmallows around the camp fire.
Behçet’s Syndrome Society were represented by Judi Scott, Hazel McLachlan and Julie Collier, and their respective husbands David, Angus and Andy.
In a short survey following the event, 100% of respondents thought that both the venue and the activities were excellent. All cited family fun as something they got from the event, with 80% saying support, friendship and sharing experiences, and 70% saying information and learning how to find it. One family added “togetherness, fun and a sense of achievement”. Asked if they thought the event had helped them to cope better with their Behçet’s disease, 80% said definitely and 20% maybe. We thank everybody involved in making the 2017 event a big success.