Church House recruits young AV talent

Church House Conference Centre has welcomed two new graduates to its award winning in-house AV team. They join in the roles of as Junior AV Technicians.

Tom Young studied Audio Music Production at Buckinghamshire New University and worked as a playback sound engineer at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the London 2012 Olympic archery events. He also worked as a sound engineer at a variety of music venues.

Andrew Hitchcock, who graduated from the University of Derby last year, worked as an assistant technician at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury, as well as working at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline with the Young Theatre Group and with various recording studios across London.

“We are delighted to welcome Tom and Andrew to our team,” said Ian Locke, AV Manager. “At Church House we recognise the difficulties many graduates face in gaining their first steps in the working world. Tom and Andrew have great enthusiasm for AV and the events industry as well as an abundance of raw talent. Young people are the future of the events industry and it’s therefore essential that we pass on our expertise and knowledge to them, helping them kick-start their careers and encouraging their development.”

Church House Conference Centre continually invests in its in-house AV team and technology. Recent investments include web streaming services, a 100Mbps broadband line and digital signage.  The team was recently awarded AV Magazine’s In-house AV Team of the Year Award 2012.


Broadway House earns elite AIM Gold status

Broadway House, a conference venue located directly opposite St James’s Park tube station, has achieved Gold in the stringent Accredited in Meetings (AIM) assessment – the nationwide kitemark for accredited venues and service providers in the UK meetings, conference and events industry. It is now one of only 17 UK venues to have achieved AIM Gold status.

Part of EEF Venues, this historic venue features 12 distinctive meeting rooms, with a maximum room capacity for up to 120 delegates.  Technology is state-of-the-art, including unlimited high speed internet access, complimentary WiFi, DVD and audio visual conferencing technology.

The Process

Three years ago, Broadway House gained entry-level AIM accreditation because, according to Amanda Sutton, venue manager at Broadway House, it gave the venue all of the member advantages of being part of the mia and it gave the venue a competitive edge, helping it to ‘stand out from the crowd’.  Over the course of the last three years, EEF Venues has continued to invest in and make improvements at Broadway House, such as upgrading its washrooms and adding another room to the venue’s portfolio – The Stephenson Room, which is the venue’s largest room with capacity for 120 people.

Earlier this year, the Broadway House team decided to go for AIM Gold accreditation.  The application required a substantial portfolio of evidence detailing all aspects of the operation from legal requirements, including health and safety, data protection and disability, through to commercial performance, business planning, investment, staff and contractor management, customer service and sustainability.

The venue’s AIM Entry Level verification visit three months ago highlighted areas which needed improvements, such as the security levels in four of its meeting rooms. This was immediately addressed by EEF Venues in preparation for the assessor’s return.

The all-day assessment for Gold involved an interview with Amanda Sutton, individual interviews with all staff members and an in-depth inspection of the venue.

“It was a very truthful process,” said Amanda. “When I briefed my team in advance of the visit, I just told them to be themselves and tell it as it is.”

The assessor’s report clearly outlined the venue’s impeccable standards, highlighting the efficiency of the business operation across its sales processes, its high customer levels (Broadway House holds BDRC Gold Standard with 97% score for ‘good’ and ‘above average’ customer feedback) and its strong relationships with staff and contractors.

In August of this year, EEF Venues will begin a major upgrade all of all public access spaces and conference areas within Broadway House. This will include lighting, décor and new carpeting throughout.

David Vaughton, director of venues for EEF Venues, said: “This refurbishment project is a considerable milestone for us. We view it as a huge vote of confidence in EEF Venues and also in the marketplace itself, which despite challenging economic times, is still buoyant.  Competition from other venues, particularly within the Westminster area, is strong. However, as approximately 75% of all of our business comes from repeat bookings, this drives the business during difficult times. But there is no room for complacency; it’s vital to keep improving facilities and investing to meet increasingly high delegate expectations.”

Central Hall appoints new sales manager

Central Hall Westminster is delighted to announce that Lucy Rae has joined the venue team as sales manager.

Lucy brings a wealth of experience from 11 years working in sales and marketing roles across multiple London event sites. She has a strong track record of building relationships with blue-chip, FMCGs and financial corporations, turning these into loyal client accounts.

Her new position at Central Hall Westminster sees her enter into a proactive sales role to promote central London’s largest conference and events venue to the public, private and agency sectors.

Speaking of her appointment, Paul Southern, managing director at Central Hall, said: “Lucy has a well-rounded, professional profile and her proactive drive and great knowledge of venue sales and marketing will make her a valuable addition to our team.”

Central Hall Westminster is central London’s largest conference and events venue, located opposite Westminster Abbey. The historic venue holds a 2,200 seat auditorium and over 20 additional meeting and seminar spaces for various capacities, all equipped with state-of-the art conferencing facilities and free WiFi.

Balconies, roof terraces, city gardens: Westminster’s outdoor spaces

Little beats the buzz of London when the sun shines. People appear instantly rejuvenated and there’s a new-found energy that sees us immediately making plans, getting together for after-work drinks and generally finding any excuse possible to be outdoors rather than at home on the sofa.

With skies staying bright and light well into the evening, there’s no better time to seize these summer vibes and plan an event at one of central London’s ready-made outdoor hotspots.

Etc.venues Victoria, One Drummond Gate

Just steps from Pimlico station, discover a bigger-than-expected courtyard oasis tucked within the grounds of award-winning etc.venues Victoria at One Drummond Gate. Make yours a jug of Pimm’s or mojito and theirs a bucket of four beers (a reasonable £12 per jug or bucket) at a drinks-only reception, or for rumbling tummies, plan drinks around an informal, two-course barbeque for groups of 15 or more at £30 a head.

One Drummond Gate 2Sit on the grass, at tables, on wooden benches, or comfy outdoor sofas, whatever takes your fancy and if you’re planning an afternoon event, how about surprising delegates with a refined spot of al fresco afternoon tea, including a choice of four sandwiches, three cakes (£19pp) and even a glass of bubbly (increases to £25pp). Etc.venues Victoria’s garden is available for standalone hire, or as a bolt-on to a meeting, conference or teambuilding session in the adjoining Garden Suite, until 20th September. Pop in for a show round this month and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a picnic for you and 10 of your colleagues. Email Claire Bowman or call 020 3011 0990 to enquire.

No.11 Cavendish Square

At No.11 Cavendish Square, inhale the sweet and uplifting scent of juicy citrus trees within the venue’s glass-roofed Orangery, which leads onto a tranquil courtyard garden with a living wall and a candle-lit water feature. Bordering a popular garden square, just a few minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus, this Grade II listed townhouse is one of very few venues in London that can offer indoor-outdoor space for up to 200 guests. Add in the 100-capacity Garden Room, decorated in pretty floral and bird wallpaper and the space to entertain both inside and outside becomes substantial.No.11 orangery & courtyard

In the past The Orangery and Courtyard Garden have been used to host private events including weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, as well as parties and receptions for clients including the BBC, Christian Dior, Ben and Jerry’s and Elizabeth Arden. Summer party packages, including barbeque and cocktails, start from £84 per person. To enquire, call 020 7307 2474.

Westminster Abbey

If grand and globally significant landmarks are your thing, there’s nothing quite like securing private hire of Westminster Abbey’s College Garden. A hidden treasure that is not exuberantly advertised, this grassy green is nestled within the private grounds of the Abbey, hidden from the hoards of tourists busy getting their London culture fix in world-famous Parliament Square.

Westminster Abbey_College GardenWith stunning views of the Houses of Parliament and the Abbey itself, the garden can be hired for corporate receptions and dinners during summer events season, which typically runs from mid-June until mid-July. During this period a large 12 x 30-metre frame marquee is erected to one side of the green, capable of accommodating up to 500 guests for a drinks reception and 300 for a dinner. A handful of dates still remain for the summer season, but there is scope to arrange outside events at other times during the year. For further information and venue hire fees, contact the Abbey Events team on 020 7654 4913 or by email [email protected].

116 Pall Mall

Hideaway garden parties are also on offer at 116 Pall Mall, home of the Institute of Directors. Starting from £55 per person, plan a canapés and drinks party for a minimum of 100 guests in the private terrace and garden, which includes use of the adjacent Carlton Room. This Grade I listed Regency venue is located a few minutes’ walk from Charing Cross and the team is happy to help arrange entertainment, marquee hire and customised food menus. Email [email protected] or call 020 7451 3107 to find out more.

No.4 Hamilton Place, Mayfair

No.4 Hamilton Place terraceView seekers keen to impress in stylish surroundings should investigate The Terrace at No.4 Hamilton Place, just off Park Lane. Elevated above the hustle and bustle of Mayfair, guests to this exclusive rooftop garden can peer out over panoramic views of London’s most popular royal park, the 350-acre Hyde Park.

Swathed in hot pink Pelargoniums and lush green foliage, the west-facing terrace is a real sun trap and a sought-after destination well suited to light summer dinners, bowl food receptions, canapé parties and barbeques. You’re guaranteed exclusive use and while patio heaters are available to counter evening chills, if wet weather creeps in, the adjoining and very ornate Argyll Room is available as part of your package, with an equal capacity for up to 200 guests. To enquire, call Aggi Bailey on 020 7670 4314 or email [email protected].

Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate

At Central Hall Westminster, your guests can marvel at the landmarks for which London is so famous. Think Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square and the London Eye as you make your way up the beautiful Grand Staircase (a replica of the Paris Opera stairway) – or take an elevator – to the fourth floor Skyline Terrace, boasting incredible views of these iconic sights.Central Hall terrace

Perfect for VIP summer soirees or exclusive receptions for up to 100 people, the terrace was famously used by the world’s media to film the Royal Wedding in 2011 and it is connected to the indoor South Rotunda, a bright, circular room with skylight windows. It also offers direct access to the 2,200-seat Great Hall, boasting the largest domed ceiling of its kind in Europe. Talk your event through with the team on 020 7222 8010 or email [email protected].

RIBA, 66 Portland Place

Dominating the first floor of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is the magnificent Florence Hall, the largest and most exquisitely decorated room in this venue. Vast floor-to-ceiling windows and etched glass doors open out onto RIBA’s main roof terrace – one of three at the venue – which can be used as a shady and secluded area for conference breakout sessions in the daytime, or as a fabulous summer party area in the evenings, for up to 120 guests. Imaginative planting, contemporary furniture and discreet uplighting contrast and enhance the 1930s architecture of the building, with the terrace connecting effortlessly with the Florence Hall to create an enticing and sociable space in which to entertain. Book this year’s summer party (to be held in July or August 2013) before the end of July 2013 and quote “Summer Sizzler Offer” to claim a 10% discount on the venue hire.

RIBA terraceAlso at RIBA is the top-floor roof terrace connected to the Wren Room, which boasts panoramic views across London. A perfect spill-over for guests, the terrace comes as part of the hire package of The Wren Room, a space popular for meetings for up to 100 guests or dinner dances for up to 70. Email [email protected] or call 020 7307 3888 to enquire.

Green is the new black: why sustainability matters in events

By Maria Langshaw, venue marketing manager, RIBA

In an increasingly competitive market, it seems that being environmentally friendly as a venue is now a necessity to secure business. Clients have so much choice when it comes to choosing a venue that they now need to justify their decision more thoroughly. Moral obligation and corporate responsibility play such a huge part in making decisions now that spending seems to be scrutinised more than it ever used to be.

Here at the RIBA, we have just achieved the Carbon Smart Silver standard, which means we have demonstrated that we are taking an intelligent and flexible approach to reducing our carbon footprint.

Our full environmental policy is available for our clients to view on our website but the main highlights are that:

– none of our waste goes to landfill

– 100% of our electricity is from renewable sources

– we have our very own RIBA Venues herb garden at the back of our Florence Hall (which we like to point out on show rounds!)

Our caterer Ampersand also plays its part by using locally sourced and sustainable produce where possible and fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate.

So, this is all very well but does it actually bring you more business? Well, in May alone we were chosen by The Guardian to host its Sustainable Business Awards and also for the second time in two years we were chosen to host The Footprint Awards. For us then, yes, it does seem to be playing a part in us winning more business.

While I do think these clients chose us because our Florence Hall, with its floor to ceiling windows and outside roof terrace, can comfortably accommodate the number of guests that these events attract, but surely it’s vital that if the caterer’s remit is to produce canapés and food stations using only sustainable ingredients, then we, as a venue, need to prove that we are playing our part too?

Personally, it makes me feel better to work for a company that is making such steps to reduce its carbon footprint and if it makes us more appealing to clients along the way, then that’s an added bonus!

Champagne Gosset & scallop canapés prove hits at St Martin’s wine tasting

Westminster-based venue managers and event coordinators swirled, sniffed and slurped through a line-up of seven quality wines at an enjoyable tasting evening with on- and off-trade supplier McKinley Vintners earlier this week (Weds 19th June), at Trafalgar Square church, café and events venue St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Hosted by Louise du Bosky, marketing and brand manager for McKinley Vintners, guests, who were all from venues within The Westminster Collection (TWC), tasted varieties including Domaine Clavel Régulus rouge 2010, Côtes du Rhône, Château La Mascaronne “Quat’Saisons” rosé 2010, Côtes de Provence and Ca ‘Ongaresca Spumante Rosé Brut within the beautiful oak-panelled surrounds of St Martin’s Hall.

The star of the show was the Champagne Gosset Brut Excellence NV, combining Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Champagne Gosset is the oldest wine house in Champagne, established in 1584.

Intense, elegant and warm on the nose, with very fresh floral notes of honeysuckle, wisteria, white jasmine and vine blossom, this Champagne rapidly gives way to mature, fruity aromas, from delicately perfumed, melt-in-the-mouth garden pears to the sweet, more identifiable perfumes of exotic fruits like pineapple, guava and mango. Swirling releases subtle hints of butter and caramel, followed by a warm fragrance of gingerbread and cinnamon.

On the palate it has an earthy taste with the subtle fragrance of cinnamon, cardamom and green pepper. Its finish is smooth, with delicious flavours of candied fruit, cinnamon cake and liquorice, making it an ideal accompaniment to saltwater fish, poultry, duck or rabbit.

Canapes by head chef Adam at SMITFSt Martin-in-the-Fields’ in-house head chef Adam Ismael and team excited with carefully crafted canapés, including mini chargrilled venison burgers served in a mini brioche bun with crispy pancetta and blue cheese, seared scallop served on crispy potato cake topped with pickled quail egg and chive hollandaise, and warm smoked salmon profiteroles glazed with paprika parmesan.

Guests were later taken on a tour of the rooms available for hire for weddings, private events, meetings, conferences and dinners at St Martin-in-the-Fields. The intimate, vaulted ceiling and exposed brick Gallery space looked stunning adorned with the vibrant works of artist Mark Weighton’s The One and the Many exhibition, while The Crypt was busy with jazz fans awaiting the sca and Latin funk sounds of 9-piece band Maroon Town.

This weekend, St Martin’s will see its brand new Café in the Courtyard crane-lifted into position in the open terrace directly behind the church. Its grand opening will take place on Monday 24th June, at 10am, when lunch will be available from 11.30am-2pm. In the evening the Café in the Courtyard will be the perfect place to relax with friends over a glass of wine and a meal and to watch the world go by.

Find out more about holding an event at St Martin-in-the-Fields here.

The Westminster Collection brings together the finest meetings, conference and events venues in the City of Westminster, a large area of Zone 1 central London which encompasses major landmarks, world famous shopping streets, beautiful parks and an assortment of restaurants, attractions and entertainment.

Through our free online venue enquiry service, events and marketing communications programme, TWC aims to promote the benefits of doing business in Westminster and be a trusted enquiry mechanism for event organisers, event agencies, corporate and association buyers.

No.11 Cavendish Sq proves it’s Carbon Smart

No.11 Cavendish Square is now the proud holder of Carbon Smart’s Carbon Silver Certification for its CSR and green policies which are designed to reduce the carbon footprint of the business.

Jonathan Morris, Commercial Director of No.11 Cavendish Square, said: “We have taken comprehensive, effective action to reduce our impact on the environment. We are delighted that our achievements have been recognised and we are thrilled to have been awarded the Silver Certification by Carbon Smart. We are working towards improving our environmental impact further by integrating carbon and energy management solutions across the organisation, including a new communication campaign to boost efforts in recycling and saving energy. We hope to achieve the Gold Certification soon.” 

No.11 Cavendish Square is fully committed to continuous environmental improvement and heightened carbon performance is a part of the long-term business lifecycle. An environmental impact group regularly reviews sustainable practices and implemented initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint adopted by No.11. The venue has a water purification system in place to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles, everything that can be recycled is recycled, LED lighting and low energy light bulbs are used wherever possible, suppliers are encouraged to minimise their packaging and remove it from site and biodegradable packaging is used in the onsite café.

The Carbon Smart Certification recognises and promotes organisations of all types and sizes which have taken clear practical action to reduce their impact on the environment. There are three levels to Carbon Smart Certification: Carbon Smart Blue, Carbon Smart Silver, and Carbon Smart Gold. Each level has differing levels of commitment and action.

Royal College of Surgeons to host High Tea venue showcase

Event professionals can experience the charm and impressive room portfolio of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) on 30 July, at an exclusive open day at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields meeting, events and wedding venue.

The RCS venue team will welcome event professionals to tour its magnificent 18th century spaces for hire, while catering partner Ampersand delights with delicious homemade lemonade, a Holborn high tea and a selection of other sample dishes. The venue and AV teams will also be available throughout the afternoon to chat with attendees.

‘When you think of The Royal College of Surgeons, you automatically think surgeons and dentists, with “event venue” rarely coming to mind. We are looking forward to opening our doors to new and existing bookers and showing them the huge variety of versatile space we have available for all types of events,’ says Emma Hayes, business development coordinator at RCS.

RCS has played host to both corporate and private events for 20 years and has three rooms licensed for wedding ceremonies. Centrally located on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, within short walking distance of Covent Garden and Holborn, RCS has a great variety of space, whether it’s the unique Hunterian Museum of Anatomy, with its fascinating display of surgical history, to the impressive Edward Lumley Hall for up to 300 guests, with dance floor and stage.

Places are limited, so register your attendance by contacting Emma Hayes on 020 786 96745 or by email at [email protected].