2016 Mega Meet Conference "Care Kids at 18+ - joining the wider world"
The votes are in and have been counted and the formal announcement has been made that the 2016 Conference will take place in, drum roll, Penarth in South Wales.
Out of 116 verified voters (see later as verification was a bit of a saga) the number of votes cast for each option was:
South Wales 71 (61.2%) - Newcastle 28 (24.1%) - Blank or spoilt 7 (6.0%) - Not returned 10 (8.6%)
I think a small amount of analysis might be useful. Newcastle got rather fewer votes than I had predicted in the week before the count took place, this despite conducting a much more active campaign. I wonder if some of the things members of the Newcastle Organising Committee (N.O.C.) wrote were perhaps seen as too aggressive and this turned some possible supporters into non-voters?
Geography was always going to be the biggest weakness of the Newcastle bid. All other things being equal most people will tend to vote for the nearer location and some analysis seemed to show that about 70% of the likely voters were closer to S Wales than Newcastle. Even allowing for those people where the travel time didn't differ by much I calculate that over half of the voters were not likely to be persuadable to travel up to Newcastle no matter how good their campaign had been.
To repeat something Ella and I said at the start of the process - "Do you ever think that there will be a Care Kids Conference in Newcastle?" - "Yes, but only after the more suitable venues have been exhausted! Blackpool, Leeds or Manchester all strike us as being "better" northern venues than Newcastle."
The Ballot Co-ordinator had some concerns about the authenticity of "about 20" of the people who had registered to vote. She decided to speak directly with each member of this sub-group and she was able to confirm that just 13 were genuine. It isn't for me to say who created these fake people but clearly I have my suspicions.
Before the result was even announced the Newcastle Organising Committee (N.O.C.) sent out an email saying -
"If we are unsuccessful again we will have to consider putting on a rival event for Care Leavers living in northern England and southern Scotland."
So far there is no sign of this rival event going ahead but we shall see!