IET London: Savoy Place offers a place of respite for emergency workers

In the wake of the unavoidable closures of venues across the globe, IET London: Savoy Place has partially reopened its doors as a respite area for emergency workers.

Adhering to necessary social distancing measures, Savoy Place will now welcome emergency workers, including the Metropolitan Police, ambulance and fire services from around London to seek relief throughout working hours. The initiative, coordinated by Northbank, will offer sanctuary to those still heroically patrolling the London streets during lockdown, with a comfortable place to sit, have a drink, sanitise their hands and use the private facilities.

Visible from London’s South Bank as you cross Waterloo Bridge and commanding visibility on the River Thames, Savoy Place is perfectly placed as a temporary drop-in centre. Extensive space and concierge services allow for the sensible distancing of staff and visitors, with up to six workers permitted at any one time between the hours of 10:15am-3:45pm Monday to Friday. With wellness a key focus, the aim is to help relieve the enormous strain on many emergency workers through a small gesture of appreciation for the work they do to keep London safe.

As we celebrated VE Day last week and commemorated the end of WWII, a look through the IET’s archives unveiled similar initiatives from more than 75 years ago when the Electrical Association for Women provided a place of comfort and respite for key workers and troops during wartime. They undertook a Mobile Welfare Canteen Service which saw pop-up canteens open for troops on isolated searchlight and anti-aircraft gun posts. The service was available to varying numbers of troops, keeping the canteens well stocked so that any emergency situation could be met, from giving food and drink to tired troops on the march, to fulfilling any unexpected requests from Military Authorities.

The pop-up vehicles were made to look homely and included a library of portable bookcases to enable the men to make their dinner choices at leisure. Additional articles such as cleaning materials, buttons, sewing equipment and toiletries were also readily available, along with stamps and volunteers to post the workers’ letters to loved ones.

Savoy Place itself was not evacuated during the war and staff were kept in place while shelters were built at the venue. Although the building was damaged as a result of bomb blasts, no major structural damage was caused and it remains today as a hub for engineers, events and right now, a centre for emergency workers.

On the initiative to reopen Savoy Place to emergency workers, Sean Spencer, Head of Venues and Facilities at the IET said: “We have a social responsibility as a business as well as individuals to recognise ways we can help those most at risk during these difficult times, given the resources we have. While we all continue to work remotely, we wanted to find a way to put the physical building to good use in the meantime and support the incredible work all of our emergency workers are doing.

“As we look back at some of the most challenging times in history and celebrate the landmark of VE Day, our archives point to the incredible efforts from volunteers whose work went a small way to relieve the burdens of our country’s troops. Though current circumstances are by no means the same, we hope in years to come that our history books will reflect the efforts of thousands in our industry to relieve the pressures on our emergency workers during these times.”

Cavendish Venues think ahead with new measures for a safe reopening

We all know how the quote goes, fail to prepare, prepare to fail. That is why the team at Cavendish Conference Centre is thinking ahead to brighter days, when the country goes back to semi-normality.

Once we return to our offices, the team will be undertaking intensive preparations & cleaning procedures to ensure all venues are in the best possible conditions under the current circumstances. This is an ongoing process and will be updated in line with government announcements and industry best practice.

These procedures plan to include:

  • Floor mats sprayed with diluted bleach every two hours
  • All handrails, door handles and lift panels disinfected every hour
  • All restrooms assigned with attendants during events to carry out on-going cleaning and disinfecting work
  • Tables and chairs in exhibition venues disinfected twice a day
  • All staff members required to wear face masks and gloves
  • All visitors required to wear face masks – complementary face masks provided where required
  • Hand sanitising gel readily available at Customer Service Counters and throughout the venue
  • Temperature check for all staff members when reporting for duty every day, in place and recorded
  • Temperature check for all visitors entering the venue
  • Special rubbish bins for disposal of used face masks provided at Centre exit points and offices
  • All staff members will be regularly tested for Coronavirus – test kits have been sourced
  • Signage specifying site and event specific social distancing measures
  • Working with clients to prevent congestion i.e. staggered arrival and departure times, catering breaks etc
  • Free webcasting available to organisers for each event

The events team is still on hand taking calls and emails and is encouraging clients to get in touch, if for nothing else, just a friendly catch up.

Virtual inspiration from the comfort of your own home

Westminster is STILL, but its venues are STILL THERE. As the capital takes a break from live events to stay at home and recover from this pandemic, we take a look at a series of virtual tours to inspire for the future.

In one easy-to-find place, explore all that Westminster venues have to offer from the comfort of your own home.

IET London: Savoy Place shares how to expand the reach of your event online

IET London: Savoy Place is the home of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, where an in-house team of eight dedicated AV professionals work to deliver expert tech solutions to the many talks, events and meetings held at the city centre venue every year.

Stefano Raun-Byberg heads up the AV team, and although he has had to work from home in recent weeks, the demand for future events to be held digitally has seen his focus shift to looking at solutions such as video conferences, live streaming and web meetings. Here, Stefano sums up some top tips for expanding the reach of your event virtually.

Finding the best solution:
The show can go on! There are many alternative ways to reach audiences when travelling is not permitted. We are getting a lot of requests from members and clients looking for options, so they do not have to cancel their important meetings.

Video conferencing, for example, is a great way to host a meeting where two-way communication is required but not physically feasible. This works for all size of meetings and conferences as long as it is set up properly. There are numerous systems to choose from, and Skype, BT Meetings and Zoom are the most used in the UK. Don’t forget that there is a difference between Skype for Business and Skype, and they don’t link up, so make sure everyone dialling in is using the same system!

Web casting is another secure solution for presenting an event to a larger audience or to those less accessible. You can live stream your event via a private secure network or public platform such as YouTube or Facebook – anything from presentations to product launches, secluded fashion shows or award ceremonies.

When delegates are physically unable to attend your event, the branding options become even more important. You might have to stream your meeting from your own living room or spare bedroom, but that doesn’t mean you can’t customise your background. Zoom, for example, allows you to create your own backdrop during video conferences.

At Savoy Place, we custom make signage for events, moving away from static banners or printed signage that not only takes up space, but also might not be as visible for delegates watching online. This will become even more important once we are back to hosting events in situ – there is an expectation that hybrid meetings will become more popular and the digital component will become essential. Digital branding also has a much shorter lead time and can be more flexible!

Sound quality:
One of the most annoying things for delegates is being unable to hear the speaker properly and this is especially important if the event is being streamed or filmed. The choice of microphone – especially for larger events – is paramount.

I’m a big fan of using a lapel mic for speakers, which is discreetly attached to the speaker’s clothing and provides clear audio, giving them the freedom to move around the room. They’re also ideal if you’ve got multiple speakers on stage, meaning handheld mics are not passed around. This looks a lot more professional when an event is filmed.

Sound is important for smaller meetings, too. There is not much point of a video conference if people can’t hear the speaker. Making sure you mute your microphone when you’re not talking is essential, and can avoid embarrassing background noise, too!

There currently isn’t an industry standard for Wi-Fi in venues, and you can get a lot of different speeds and charges out there. The same can be said for people’s homes. If you are relying on streaming your event or interacting with delegates online, make sure you choose a venue with suitable Wi-Fi for your needs, and if you are streaming from home make sure you Wi-Fi can handle the bandwidth. I would stay away from shared Wi-Fi with open networks and no passwords, as these are not particularly secure and can be slow. At Savoy Place, we offer a free, dedicated Wi-Fi for this reason.

Interactive Presentations:
We always recommend using Glisser or Slido for interactive presentations, which include lots of interactive elements. These systems are great for events with delegates in different locations, as you can ask them to sign into the event using their phone, ask questions along the way and get them involved in interactive sessions even if they are not in the room.

116 Pall Mall’s event profs guide: what we can learn from coronavirus

If these recent challenging times have taught us anything, it’s that the events and hospitality industry is strong, thriving, and fast to adapt in uncertain circumstances. Whether you’re an events or weddings planner, manage a venue, run a catering organisation or own a florist, decorations, lighting or technology business – you will have been affected by coronavirus.

Even though you may not be able to work on upcoming events for the time being, that doesn’t stop you from preparing for the next chapter of your offering, or spring cleaning the way you operate to make the most of your space, location, resources or services for when you’re able to get back up and running.

To read the full article, visit:

The Royal Society shares children’s online science resources for distance learning

The Royal Society supports teachers during this challenging time and has collated a number of resources, activities and videos, that they may wish to share with parents, to support learning from home.

It is important that parents follow the guidance from teaching staff and recognise that they are not expected to replace their expertise; it may be helpful for parents to set goals for their children to reach, create routines and, for younger children, focus on promoting reading and numeracy skills in particular.

These resources are free to download or view and no sign-up is required. Many of the links are to lectures and videos that students may want to take their time to explore – providing additional learning on current issues around science, mathematics and computing.

View the resources here:

Church House Westminster shares top tips on how to keep healthy whilst working from home 

With the current physical distancing regulations in place, many of us in the event industry quickly realised that, as social beings, this kind of isolation requires us to create a ‘new normal’, and to pivot to virtual to keep things going for now.

Elana Kruger, Marketing Manager at Church House Westminster, comments: “Describing the current lockdown as ‘social distancing’ is incorrect. It is physical distancing that we are practicing, because in reality we are more connected socially than ever before with the use of WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and WebEx meetings. Another term that needs clarification is ‘working from home’. At the moment we are required to work from home during a crisis, which bears very little resemblance to the usual working from home as a flexible working option. I think for this reason we need to be very realistic and honest with ourselves in terms of personal expectations during this time.”.

To read Church House Westminster’s top ten tips for staying well and healthy, visit:

Staying mentally and physically well during lockdown with The QEII Centre’s top tips

With the first month of lockdown complete, The QEII Centre‘s marketing team have been looking into how staff have been adapting to this ‘new normal’.

They find out how staff are keeping themselves occupied during evenings and weekends as well as taking advantage of the support on offer during the working day to maintain their physical and mental health.

Across the organisation, it has been a case of making the most of the opportunities that have been presented with new hobbies taken up, old ones re-visited and having more time to catch up with TV series and maintain relationships amongst other things.

Despite the physical distance, there is a greater connectivity with colleagues, friends and families as social interaction has never been more important.

Read the full story here:

Cavendish Conference Centre celebrates National Walking Month

Did you know that May is a National Walking Month?

Walking, especially now more than ever is so important to keep us fit and there are plenty reasons why we should get up and move around including health benefits and reducing pollution levels. There is now another really good reason to start walking – you will be helping charities with a good cause and raising awareness.

The National Walking Month is a part of “Just Walk” project organised by British Heart Foundation and is an annual event. Just Walk is a simple and easy way to raise funds for life saving heart and circulatory disease research.

In the 1960s, one in two people died from heart and circulatory disease in the UK, ripping them away from their loved ones. We’ve battled against this disease for over 50 years through decades of research and discovery. The work of BHF has transformed heart attack care, progressed genetic testing for inherited heart conditions and developed new treatments for babies born with heart defects. Today, we’re winning but there’s a lot more still to be done.

Read the full story here: