A new conference focusing on community, acceptance and belonging has been born in Brighton, and will take place at the end of March.
Alice Reeves, a Brighton marketing consultant and children’s author who lives in the city came up with the idea of BelongCon.
She said according to the Office for National Statistics, Britain is the European ‘capital of loneliness’ and in the face of current political events, growing numbers of people are reporting feelings of powerlessness and despair.
Alice decided that enough was enough, and in partnership with Brighton Digital Women and a team of volunteers, she came up with a programme for an inspiring conference.
The inaugural BelongCon will take place on Tuesday, March 28, at The Brighthelm Centre. A diverse range of speakers will cover a variety of subjects, including campaigning, combating homelessness, breaking out of your bubble, building communities, and self-expression.
Speakers include Natalie Lloyd and Sophia Hill, who will tell the story of their ‘speed friendships’ experiment Manner, which brings people together through food. Also speaking is burlesque artist Vanessa Barrett – aka Coco DeVille – on self-expression, and Martin Rowsell on founding the charity Postcards for Peace.
Alice said: “Over the last year I’ve had many conversations with people who are feeling disempowered and disheartened given what’s going on in the world right now. I wanted to organise an event for those of us who want to do something, who want to bring about change, to hear from people who are out there right now making a difference in the world.
“I hope to create a space that’s inspiring and uplifting, and that people leave feeling positive and inspired to go out there and make a positive difference in the world. I really hope that this is going to be the first event in an ongoing series as it feels like something that’s very much needed right now, given the level of disconnect a lot of people are feeling with others and the world around them.
“The main thing that drove me to create BelongCon is that whenever I’ve felt a sense of disconnection with others and the world, which has happened at various points in my life, I’ve always found a strong sense of belonging by seeking out communities that are connected by shared passions – whether that was my student radio station, a local running club, a monthly writers’ group I used to host, or Brighton Digital Women.
“Being part of these communities at various points in my life has meant so much to me, and has provided a sense of belonging that has made me feel incredibly happy. My vision is for a world in which EVERYONE feels like they belong, and that’s what I hope to create with BelongCon.”
For more information about the event, click here.
For tickets, click here.