The Channel Country Ladies Day committee has announced there will be no event this year.
Making the announcement, president, Michelle Reay, said the weekend of female pampering, inspiration and relaxation had escalated so quickly that they had to press the pause button for its long-term health.
Plans are in hand for a 2019 Ladies Day, scheduled for October 18-20, and for it to remain an annual event beyond that.
“We had thoughts of making it biennial and resetting each ‘off’ year but that would have halved the opportunities for the women of the Channel Country,” Michelle said.
“Doing this now makes sure it’s a strong, powerful event.
“We were very mindful that the decision may disappoint, but hopefully it makes people even keener to come next year.
“After six years of running an annual event, we understand what this has come to mean for the women of the Channel Country and we want to ensure it can continue for years to come.”
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Responding to the news on the CCLD Facebook page, most were accepting of the need, saying “We’ve locked 2019 in” and “2019 will be here before we can blink”.
Michelle said the committee was using the extra time to widen its reach with funding bodies, as a group rather than having the burden fall to one volunteer to seek sponsorship, and to plan long-term infrastructure needs in a way that would alleviate the burden of setting up and pulling down a growing amount of marquees.
She said the behind-the-scenes work being done this year would ensure a greater impact on the lives of women in the Channel Country, beyond next year’s event, was delivered.
As to a location for 2019, Michelle said that was still being worked through but was likely to be in the southern reaches of the region.
”With the Channel Country being such a vast expanse, we move the event around so we draw women from the different areas each time.
“As we’ve been in the northern and western regions of the Channel Country with our last couple of events we’ll be looking to go south for our next one.”
In the meantime, Michelle said there was the potential to run some station-based arts events “to keep things ticking over”.
“We don’t want to go totally quiet,” she said, added that a strategy meeting was scheduled on a local property for early June.
“We’ve got some grand goals for the next few years, creating even more opportunities for Channel Country women, so in many ways it feels like this is just the beginning for CCLD,” Michelle said.
“We’ve recently employed our first paid position to complement and assist our volunteer committee, so this will help us grow.
“More than ever, I’m really excited for the future of the Channel Country Ladies Day, and looking forward to working with our long-term partners and supporters, and most importantly the women of the Channel Country.”