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Warwick Conferences new £5.3m dedicated meeting venue on the University of Warwick campus in Coventry and Warwickshire is beginning to take shape with the completion of the ground works and substructure.

With the steel frame in place, work has now begun on the timber frame, which will be exposed within the main conference space. The idea for the new venue is to create a beautiful pavilion that sits on the edge of the lake offering a calming backdrop to events.   

Kevin Scott, Senior Architect at Associated Architects, says: “The structure of the new venue is really starting to take shape now that the ground work and steel frame have been completed. The next stage is to complete the installation of the timber frame before work can begin on lining the roof and forming the roof lights serving the rear of the conference space.”   

“Close collaboration with Warwick Conferences has been integral in this project, particularly when it comes to utilising their knowledge and understanding of working in these types of venues on a daily basis. The input of the Warwick Conferences team in each stage of the build from the design process, technical side and now on site has created a more refined and streamlined design.”

Richard Harrison, Head of Conference Centres at Warwick Conferences, adds: “It is fantastic to see the venue progressing so well. We have already received £3,586,060 worth of enquiries for the new space with over four months to go before opening, which is a great indication of the demand for the venue.

“The need for high capacity, high quality and flexible event space is rising and there are few venues that currently meet these requirements in Central England. We are looking forward to being able to offer an uncompromised, contemporary and striking space for tailor-made and bespoke event experiences when our new venue opens this autumn.”

Offering 650sqm of contemporary and highly flexible event space with capacity for 350 delegates seated, the new venue will be available on an exclusive use basis so it can be customised to meet individual needs.

STAFF at one of the UK’s most famous football grounds are facing the boardroom in an Apprentice-style challenge to boost their creativity.

Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, which manages conferencing and events at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium, has taken a leaf out of the top TV programme’s book to launch Project A; a drive to create a series of one-off events to be held at the venue.

Following the format of the BBC1 show, headed by Lord Sugar, staff at the stadium have been split into six teams and tasked with not only generating event suggestions but also with exploring and ensuring their viability.

And, over the course of the ongoing project, the teams, made up of staff from a variety of departments led by a duty manager in the role of project leader, have had to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in the boardroom.

And their teamwork is proving so successful that plans are now underway for the stadium to host an additional 11 public and corporate events – from real ale festivals and tea dances to summer picnics and masquerade balls - in the coming months.

In the run up to the events, teams will be evaluated on their performance and prizes will be awarded in categories such as Best Team Player, Best Revenue and Best Customer feedback.

Project A is the brainchild of operations manager, Lucy Goodwin, who said: “The aim was to help develop our duty managers’ business and managerial skills and to harness the creativity of staff who aren’t usually involved in the process of event planning.

“More than 30 of our staff have taken part and their enthusiasm and drive has been incredibly impressive.

“The challenge has really inspired everyone and, along with being great fun, it’s improved inter-departmental communication and, most importantly, given people from the North East and further afield even more reason than ever to visit St James’ Park.”

Events scheduled as a result of Project A are:

·       Tea in the Toon, Saturday 25 June – a traditional afternoon tea at the stadium.

·       England Euros, Saturday 11, Thursday 16 and Monday 20 June - corporate packages to watch three England Euros fixtures with drinks packages and themed food.

·       Golden Oldies Tea Dance, Wednesday 6 July.

·       Toast of the Tyne, Friday 2September -a charity masquerade ball in association with The Bobby Robson Foundation and Bright Red.

·       Real Ale Festival, Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October – a two-day festival featuring a selection of local breweries with food, entertainment and spirit tents.

·       Family Fun Day, Friday 28 October – Hallowe’en-themed fun day for families.

·       Festive Fayre, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 November - food, craft and outdoor Christmas fair with food demonstrations and entertainment

·       Evening with Darts Legend, Tuesday 6 December - darts, auction and Q&A with a darts legend.

Other events with dates yet to be confirmed include a picnic-style party lunch for youngsters with their favourite fairy tale princesses and a North East darts tournament.

For more information about upcoming events at St James’s Park call 0191 201 8525 or e-mail

Following significant attendance in 2015 and responding directly to attendee feedback, technology sessions created by The Meetings Design Institute are once again expected to be amongst the most popular at The Meetings Show from 14-16 June, 2016.

The education programme features ten different streams, and in addition to technology sessions in the healthcare, PA, corporate, agency and association streams, The Meetings Show’s education programme will feature an entire stream dedicated to the use of technology in events.  The technology programme has been created in partnership with Maarten Vanneste from The Meetings Design Institute and also includes content and sessions from Abbit Meeting Support.

“The technology sessions were very popular and well reviewed last year,” comments The Meetings Show’s Event Director, Steve Knight.  “Buyers and planners are constantly provided with solutions and methods to supposedly improve their events but not all are relevant and beneficial.  Our sessions examine the various technologies on offer, discuss their value and ultimately help organisers choose those of relevance to their events.”

Key sessions in the technology stream include:

  •          5+ Tools for interactive Meetings - From voting by smartphone to 360 VR, interactivity is great, co-creation is even better. This session will demonstrate a number of tools that create activity, action, interaction, creation and co-creation. No more boring meetings, it’s time to transform audiences into engaged participants! Presented by Diedre Brannck and Juraj Holub.
  •          Technology for Presentation Improvement - What AV essentials are needed to support speakers? This session looks at how to help speakers use technology that changes the audience into participants and makes speakers talk less, whilst allowing the audience to contribute more. Presented by Mike Piddock.
  •          Technology Toolbox: selecting the right tool for your meeting – Everyone recognises the need for technology – but which tools should be used? Which factors should be taken into account when choosing the right solution for meetings? This session has been created to broaden horizons and make the Technology Toolbox grow and shine. Presented by Maarten Vanneste and Jelmer van Ast.
  •          Technology Update - An intense set of short updates from experts covering topics such as technology for interaction, keypads or phones, co-creation, hybrid, geolocation & beacons, event data and gamification. Presented by Tim Bull, Diedre Brannck, Martin Klofver and Fredrik Hoel.

Maarten Vanneste, from The Meetings Design Institute said: “Technology is constantly evolving with new possibilities, ideas and technology that need to be assessed understood and used in a relevant way.  The Meetings Show is the ideal place for such an update and we look forward to the impact these sessions will have on the audience.”

Organised by Centaur Live (a division of Centaur Media Plc), The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, taking place 14-16 June 2016 at Olympia, London. Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

Just nine days before the UK goes to the polls to decide its future within the EU, The Meetings Show is teaming up with EventHuddle to debate this vitally important decision and the impact a Yes or No vote could have on the meetings industry.

The debate, which will be titled EU, in or out? Step into the light or step into the dark, will take place on Tuesday June 14th at 12:50 at The Meetings Show.

Presenting opposing sides of the debate will be:

  •          Chris Heaton-Harris, MP Daventry (2010 - present) (MEP 1999-2009) and member of the APPG for events.
  •          Nick De Bois (Chair of Events Industry Board, founder of Rapier Group & MP Enfield North 2010-2015)
  •          Simon Hughes (Deputy Chair BVEP and Corporate consultant, MCHA)
  •          Alan Newton (COO - Eventopedia)

Event Director Steve Knight comments: “This is a critical decision for Britain as a whole as well as the meetings industry.  Like so many sectors our membership of the EU offers both benefits and challenges and I look forward to seeing how these are presented and what the general consensus is across those in attendance.  Taking place so close to the vote it is a final opportunity to gather, share opinions and potentially change minds as we try to identify what is best for individuals, businesses, the sector and the country as a whole.”

EventHuddle’s Kirk Thomas said: “We are delighted to be working with The Meetings Show for this important debate, their fantastic audience of event professionals means we can deliver this crucial subject to the right people at the right time, hopefully sending them into the voting booth's feeling that much more informed. 

Organised by Centaur Live (a division of Centaur Media Plc), The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, taking place 14-16 June 2016 at Olympia, London. Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

BMA House venue has nominated Maxine Reynolds as its new Green Champion for the events team.

Maxine will be in charge of promoting sustainable practices by talking to staff and clients about how to ‘Meet Green’ at BMA House. 

Sustainability is at the heart of everything at BMA House including our approach to catering,” says Rebecca Hurley, Deputy Head of Events.  “We are also a Silver Rating member of the Green Tourism business scheme and only deal with organisations that have high welfare standards and value sustainable practices.

“We are keen to ensure that staying Green is high on everyone’s agenda.  Maxine has fantastic ideas with plenty of tips and advice about everything Green.  She will be working closely with clients meeting with us, to support them in becoming greener.”

BMA House provides space for 100 bike racks so delegates can cycle to meetings, offers 12 event spaces with natural daylight, to reduce energy consumption and has 10 directional screens to help reduce paper waste for signage. They are able to filter water onsite and all BMA branded glass water bottles are cleaned and reused.

“Our catering partner BaxterStorey really reflects our green values,” says Rebecca.  “In 2012 they were able to divert 320 tonnes of food waste from landfill.  They also support fair trade tea and coffee growers, compost all our food waste and ensure our disposable products are made from recycled materials.”

On average BMA House saves of 438 trees per year with its no printing policy and offers an iPad ready conferencing system to assist.  Its location means that it is really easy for delegates to take advantage of public transport as it is only 10 minutes from stations – Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras.

Ashfield Meetings & Events is delighted to announce the gold award win at the UK Employee Experience Awards.

The awards recognise and celebrate the delivery of exceptional employee experiences in businesses across the UK.

In February Ashfield Meetings & Events announced that they had been shortlisted in the learning & development category for their internal development experience.

In 2014 Ashfield received the gold award for their training programme Bitesize at the Training Journal Awards. Since the award win Ashfield have continued to invest in the learning and development experience and have since re-designed the new starter programme, launched Future Focus and introduced SPARK THINKING sessions that encourage and teach creativity.

A number of Ashfield staff attended the second part of the submission, a presentation to the judges which formed 50% of the final submission, at the Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel in London yesterday. The presentations from all shortlisters were followed by the awards ceremony where Ashfield claimed their gold award.

Nicola Burns, Managing Director commented on the recent award win: “I am extremely proud of the employees here at Ashfield Meetings & Events, both for their confidence to present our amazing story to the judges, and to everyone that forms the learning and development experience. This is an amazing accolade that everyone in the business has contributed towards. I know this award, like the last, will spur everyone on to continue to develop our employee experience that creates a fun place for our employees to grow their careers.”

A three day conference to discuss radiological protection will be held at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) on 16th – 18th May 2017, welcoming over 300 international delegates from as far as Japan to the city of Aberdeen.

The Society for Radiological Protection (SRP) promotes the science of radiation protection and similar fields in the interest of public benefit. The conference will provide opportunities for assessing the profile and development of issues and create a platform to circulate policy and guidance advice. The conference was awarded Subvention Funding from VisitAberdeen which was match funded from VisitScotland’s Conference Bid fund.

SRP was founded in 1963 and regularly provides awards, student bursaries and scholarships to professionals working to develop radiation protection. With safety being a main concern in the field, SRP aim to cover the aspects of radiation in medicine, nuclear power, education and research and to address the cross cutting issues such as regulatory control, accident prevention and emergency response.

SRP have a passion for educating younger generations and are running an education day for schools prior to the conference opening. The educational day is aimed at pupils from local secondary schools, and will take place Monday 15th May 2017. In previous years SRP has found these days to be very popular at conferences offering students the opportunity to find out more about this scientific field. Local schools are invited to express an interest now via AECC.

Professor Pete Cole, President of SRP commented: “I am delighted that our annual conference is coming to Aberdeen in 2017. It is a wonderful city full of culture and history, combined with impressive credentials relating to science and engineering innovation. The facilities on offer are outstanding and I have been overwhelmed by the kind help that we at SRP have received from the AECC and VisitAberdeen teams.”

Steven Daun, Sales Manager at AECC commented: “It has been a pleasure to work alongside Pete Cole and the team at SRP to bring the Annual Conference to Aberdeen in 2017. The work carried out by the society is beneficial to the radiological field of research, which is ongoing in Aberdeen. We hope all the delegates look forward to visiting the region and finding out more about the world class research which is taking place in the city.”

Work has already begun on a new research project being carried out by imago and Loughborough University. As with last year, the research will be carried out in conjunction with The Right Solution and also has the support of the HBAA.

Last year’s project – Does the future have room for face-to-face communication - measured the value of face to face communication amongst a sample of more than 750 event organisers, delegates, graduate and undergraduate students, and examined the favoured forms of communication for learning new skills, retaining information and aiding business success.

imago has used the information to help shape the way it works with clients in the organisation of successful meetings, ensuring it offers all the resources and knowledge required to deliver better return on investment. 

The follow up research will examine ‘How does the meetings industry of today inspire the future leaders of tomorrow?

Emma Boynton, imago’s head of sales and marketing, comments; “Research is a valuable tool in discovering what the delegates of tomorrow want to achieve. The meetings and events industry is changing. There are a multitude of shifting trends, emerging technologies and different approaches to meetings. The data we gathered last year allowed us build a better picture of the market place and to spot opportunities that are not being maximised or highlight areas that are over saturated.

“We decided to take this one step further so we could go into more detail. Work is already underway to collate information on what venues, and the industry, can do to inspire future generations, covering everything from marketing of events through to the event itself. This research will allow us to gather a vast amount of data and it is an exciting opportunity to compare the opinions of those already organising or attending events with future participants.”

HBAA Chair and Director of Supplier Partnerships, Capita Travel and Events, Leigh Cowlishaw commented “The HBAA is delighted to be working with imago and Loughborough University on this research. We want to help ensure that the industry is equipped to support and motivate the next generation of leaders in hospitality and events, to guide them towards sustainable industry growth. Part of that means understanding the most appropriate and effective ways of sharing the HBAA association and its members’ passion, experience and specialist knowledge.”

The parties involved have already begun undertaking the research, which will be presented at the HBAA Annual Forum on July 8 2016.

2016 is an important year for imago. It marks the 25th anniversary since the organisation, which is the conference and events arm of Loughborough University, came into operation. It is now one of the leading academic venues in the UK, with a portfolio that includes Burleigh Court, Holywell Park, Loughborough University’s conference and events facilities and The Link Hotel.


The teams behind event management and catering at four of the UK’s most prestigious sporting venues have been nominated for a clutch of key awards.

The Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events staff at Headingley, Leeds, Merseyside’s Goodison Park, Newcastle’s St James’ Park and Brighton’s Amex stadium, are each in the running in a series of categories for the Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2016.

The awards celebrate the hard work and dedication that make stadia events and hospitality run seamlessly and the venues will be going head to head when the winners are announced at the Ricoh Arena, home to Premiership Rugby Club Wasps and Coventry City Football Club, on 2 June.

Headingley Carnegie Stadium – home to Leeds Rhinos and the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Everton Football Club’s Goodison Park stadium, Newcastle United’s St James’ Park ground and Brighton and Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium, have all been nominated in the prestigious Overall Matchday Hospitality category.

Headingley, the Amex Stadium and St James’ Park have also each been nominated for the Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award, with Everton and Brighton each hoping to win the Media Choice Award, voted for by journalists and broadcasters.

In addition, Goodison Park, the Amex Stadium and St James’ Park have been nominated for Chef Team of the Year and Directors’ Choice awards with the latter two also hoping for victory in the Best Sales or Marketing Initiative Award category.

The Amex Stadium has also been nominated in the Operations Team of the Year Award category.

Each of the four will then go up against other nominees for the Matchday Hospitality Awards, with Headingley nominated in the small stadium category, Everton in the medium and St James’ Park and the Amex Stadium competing in the large stadium category.                                                                                                                                     

“I am delighted that our teams at these four, major stadia, have been nominated in so many categories of these awards, which are so highly regarded within our industry,” said Natasha Carr, UK Venue & Events Marketing Manager, at Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events.

“While I very much hope they are successful on the night, I wish all the nominees in each category the very best of luck.”

For further information about Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events venues, call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, email Venues& or visit

The Head Housekeeper at Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, near Darlington, has won a coveted place on the Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders Diploma (MIALD).

Kirsty Whitwell, who lives in Darlington and is originally from Newcastle, is one of just 18 junior managers, senior supervisors and heads of department working in the hotel industry across the country to be selected to study for the internationally recognised Level 3 Award from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Kirsty, 30, and the rest of the scholars will learn through a combination of group workshops, private study, project work, best practice visits and from specialist guest speakers. The course will consist of two-day sessions running throughout the next 12 months. The Master Innholders has partnered with Merlin Consultancy to deliver the programme, which will focus on business management, business marketing and sales, human resource management, consumer management, finance and business planning, legislative management, professional development, and leadership.

Kirsty, who joined Rockliffe Hall as Head Housekeeper in July 2013, says: “I’m so pleased to have been selected – it was an honour to even be asked by my employers to apply so to win a place is fantastic! I’m passionate about hospitality and hope the skills I gain on this diploma will strengthen my knowledge and expertise.”

Kirsty won the place on the 2016 intake following a rigorous interview day at Innholders Hall in London by four judges: Hilary Cooke, director of the Merlin Consultancy and MIALD course leader; Petra Clayton, managing director of Custard Communications; David Connell, general manager at South Lodge and Miles Pooley, chief executive of RAF Club.

Hilary Cooke says: “The high quality of applications we received meant we had a difficult task arriving at our final decision and I would like to thank everyone who put forward an application for this year’s programme.

“It’s invigorating to see so many people who are passionate about the industry we work in and the Aspiring Leaders Diploma will help them to achieve great things as an individual and as part of a team.”

Contact Rockliffe Hall on 01325 729999 or visit


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