In early August 2014 the Breastfeeding Festival came to Manchester for the first time, led by a committee of just four: (from R to L) Rosie Greenwood, Nikki Mather, Zoe Walsh and Shel Banks.
Thanks to some funding from Manchester City Council, we were
able to keep the price right down so that a weekend ticket was just £5
and day tickets were £3 each. Volunteers and stallholders got in for
free, and we had a great range of local pregnancy, childbirth,
breastfeeding and early parenting-related information stands for
people to see – information-only stands from related charities with a
local presence were not charged to exhibit.
There were around 200 lay-people there over the weekend, not including
the many children who accompanied their parents. They heard talks,
music, poetry, met friends old and new, made connections, and learned
and laughed and were supported. There were also around 50 health
professionals of one sort or another. Feedback from those who were not
able to attend has led to us moving the festival from its customary
August date, to late June for 2015.
We had some great write-ups – nothing to do with us, we were as surprised as anyone – which we share below.
First this blog was brought to our attention
And then we were reported in The Guardian
Our Festival was timed to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, more
about which, here: http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/
Wonderfully, one of our speakers, a writer and poet by the name of
Hollie McNish, was moved to post an update on her Facebook account
about breastfeeding, the festival, and breastfeeding in emergencies
appro pos of all going on in Gaza, and then to blog about her ‘viral’
video of 2012 on breastfeeding in public, and her feelings about world
breastfeeding week, and our festival. See here:
Speakers included Hollie McNish, Michelle Every, Val Finigan, Jenny Clarke, Mike Brady, One to One Midwives, Lynda Coulter, Magda Sachs, Jo Watson and others.
Stalls were available to view all weekend from photographers, midwives, doulas, professional organisations, milk banking, action groups and the voluntary sector and selling nappies, slings, jewellery, keepsakes, balms and all manner of lovely things, and offering swimming classes and other activities for young families – it really was a packed and plentiful weekend. We had a photographer on site who provided us with some fabulous images.
See the 2014 Festival Programme for more detail.