Aug 22 2010

A Helping Hand?

Please help others to experience BiCon: support the BiCon Helping Hand Fund!

Each year the BiCon organisers aim to just cover the costs of the event: registration and accommodation costs are set so BiCon can break even. The costs of attending are on a sliding scale to make BiCon accessible to as many people as possible. But some people still can't afford to come and experience the sense of community, support – and of course fun! – that BiCon provides.

The BiCon Helping Hand Fund (HHF) exists to enable more people to attend BiCon.

BiCon 2010 inherited money passed on from previous BiCons, and £673 was earmarked for the HHF.

But this year we have experienced unprecedented demand for the HHF. This is partly because 50% more people will be attending this BiCon (333 people have already registered), and because it is a four-night BiCon for the first time in a few years – but the economic downturn is also clearly affecting people and their ability to take part in this unique community event.

We've been able to offer help to 55 people, to make sure that they are able to attend BiCon – but sadly we haven't been able to offer everyone who applied as much support as they asked for. We've tried to offer people who've never been to BiCon whatever they needed to attend (without paying for travel from abroad), but even a few pounds to each person quickly mounts up.

We've dedicated £1500 to the fund this year (although this may ultimately affect the amount of surplus we're able hand on to next year), as well as around £1300 to deal with other accessibility issues.

Over 25 people have contacted us in the last two months saying, "I didn't think I needed the Helping Hand Fund, but I've lost my job and…" – and now that BiCon is fast approaching and people need to pay, more people are unable to afford it, and having to cancel.

For many of us (when we're not involved in the organising team!) BiCon is a time to relax with friends. For people who've never been, it can be a life changing, eye-opening vision of what life can be like when you don't feel out of place, fearful of ostracism, or worse.

A number of people have told us that BiCon has saved their lives.

Please help us to replenish the Helping Hand Fund so that next year's organising team can also make sure people are able to attend their first ever BiCon – and ideally also help people who have been before, but who are in particular need, to attend again.

If you've registered for BiCon you can donate by Paypal here, by bank transfer using the details you received when booking (use "HHF" as a reference code), or you can donate when you're attending BiCon – there will be a number of ways to donate at the event.

Also, if you are willing to donate any items that would make good raffle prizes, please email bookings@delete.

As someone who once received HHF funding (back when all BiCon could do was provide a £10 rebate after the event), and on behalf of the whole BiCon 2010 team, thank you very much!

– Hessie


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