Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ulverston Breastfeeding Festival

The First Ulverston Breastfeeding Festival (16 - 22 August) was a thoroughly enjoyable event and one that deserves to grow. The town of Ulverston, close to the coast on the south side of the Lake District, is a delightful setting. I spoke on Friday in the Parish Church Hall, after a showing of the UNICEF Philippines film, Formula for Disaster. Many thanks to Jo Dawson for the invitation and for the hard work she put in with help from friends and family to make the event a reality. I really hope it becomes part of the calendar and inspires others in the UK and elsewhere.

There are links to the film and some of the information included in my presentation below, along with other news from the festival. My weekend at the festival was an opportunity to encourage people to email Nestlé over its latest baby milk marketing strategy (it is claiming its formula 'protects' babies, despite the fact that babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die). Before reading on, take a minute to email Nestlé by clicking here (will open in a new window).

Breastfeeding FestivalThere were events throughout the week, including workshops and talks on baby-led weaning, milk banking, breastfeeding information for grandparents and the Breastfeeding Manifesto. There was a breastfeeding fair on the Saturday in the Coronation Hall, with stalls by Baby Milk Action and other organisations involved. Sedleigh played his song 'Every Drop Counts' and other music outside the hall - close to statues of Ulverston son, Stan Laurel, and his partner in comedy, Oliver Hardy.

The Madonna and Child Project is running until 28 August, an exhibition of beautiful, iconic mother and baby portrait prints with associated birth stories, by Canadian artist Kate Hansen.

At the beginning of the week, breastfeeding mothers gathered for the Big Breastfeeding Picture, which helped to gain coverage in the local media. There were various café events during the week as well, for a more informal chat over tea, coffee and cake or something more substantial. On Sunday morning, before the final café gathering, some of us climbed Hoad Hill, for amazing views over Morecombe Bay towards Blackpool on one side, the peaks of the Lake District on the other and in the far distance, the peaks of Yorkshire.

Ulverston has a series of festivals throughout the year, and anyone entering the town could not miss the signs saying the current one was The Breastfeeding Festival.

So why not plan a visit to the area next August to coincide with the Festival? Windermere and Coniston lakes are very close by with extensive tourist facilities and Ulverston itself offers camping, B&B and hotel accommodation. For a taste of what to expect, take a look at this year's programme:

You can view the film about infant feeding in the Philippines online by going to:

In my talk I provided an update on what happened since the film. You can find much of the information here.

I then spoke about the situation in the UK. Here's a youtube clip I put together for the launch of the ONE MILLION CAMPAIGN last year, which has some of the information.

Click here to sign the ONE MILLION CAMPAIGN petition.

You can the text of a similar talk, with the powerpoint presentation, here:

Gillian Weaver, Chair of the UK Association of Milk Banking, told me about this great clip about a recent fundraising cycle ride by supporter, Steve Haberfield.

You can hear more of the song Every Drop Counts, by Sedleigh below. Sedleigh performed this and other songs live outside the Coronation Hall and at one of Gillian's talks. If you make a donation to the work of UKAMB, you will be sent the full song. See:

Remember you can find news of forthcoming events on our diary dates page and we'll post up the dates for the Ulverston Breastfeeding Festival 2011 event when we have them and hope we can take part once again.

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