The Royal Society supports efforts to tackle global pandemic

Fellows of The Royal Society and people it funds are contributing to the UK and global effort to tackle Coronavirus COVID-19.

They are working inside the UK government as well as providing independent support for national and international efforts. The work includes: research on the biology of the virus and therapies to combat it; longer term goals such as the development of vaccines; and reviewing evidence to inform policy making.

Tackling such pandemics will require both basic and clinical research at every stage, and the scientific community is doing all it can to help fight this terrible disease and reduce its toll.

For more information, visit

In the spotlight with QEII Centre’s operations director Neil Chandler

Neil Chandler of QEII: “We are prepared and will make the best of whatever is thrown at us.”
Neil Chandler joined The QEII Centre as operations director earlier this year, but just four weeks into his new role the venue was closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Here, the former Fairfield Halls Arts Centre venue director talks about his experience so far at QEII and how he and his team are getting things prepared for re-opening.

How would you describe the first few months of your new role?
“It has been an interesting time to join an events venue. While COVID-19 has been very disruptive to QEII it has given me a good opportunity to understand every aspect of the business in a very short space of time; something that under normal working conditions I wouldn’t have had the luxury to do.”

What has been the most challenging aspect you’ve faced so far?
“Getting to know the team without actually being sat with them. I like to get to know individuals and manage them as individuals, but I only had four weeks on site with the team before lockdown and that was mostly spent finding my way round. In fact, two of those weeks were gradual lock down so little business as usual was achieved. Over the last 10 weeks, through daily team calls we have achieved a lot but it has taken a huge amount of effort on all sides to understand personalities properly. I think that takes real face time.”

What plans have you been making ahead of re-opening?
“We have liaised with national organisations and worked hard to produce our response policy for clients; devising new room layouts for events in different configurations and capacities, cleaning regimes and additional signage production. We have purchased new equipment to assist with sanitization and thermal imaging and created an animated infomercial for clients and delegates detailing processes in place at the Centre. We are ready to re-open and like all venues are waiting patiently for the next announcement from government.”

What are some of the challenges you’ve come up against for re-opening?
“The (understandable) lack of clarity at this moment in time, on how we will be able to re-open. We have planned for many different scenarios and are sharing these with our clients, but as time moves on the clients need to firm up plans for their event, but we aren’t able to give them the information they need. QEII has always been proud of its relationship with clients and at the moment this is the biggest cause of sadness across the teams. We want to work with our clients to deliver the very best events, but right now we just don’t know what we will be permitted to host. What we do know is that we are prepared and will make the very best of whatever is thrown at us.”

Can you tell us about some of the steps you’re taking to reassure visitors to QEII that the venue is COVID-secure?
“From a 48-hour pre-event health screening process, (managed by our clients but expected by the Centre) to temperature checks on arrival we have a lot of plans in place.  Lifts and toilet facilities are restricted to minimum numbers and we are encouraging pre-registration and QR scanning on arrival.  Additional precautions are being taken in our cloakroom and by the teams at QEII Live and QEII Taste. Our cleaning team will carry out nightly deep cleans with our new fogging machines and continual sanitisation of touch surfaces from open to close.”

We have a created a video outlining our measures and to provide reassurance which can be viewed here:

What are you finding most challenging about planning for re-opening?
“The lack of clarity, at this moment in time, on how we will be able to re-open.  We have planned for many different scenarios and are sharing these with our clients, but as time moves on our clients need to firm up plans for their event and we aren’t able to give them the information they need.  The Centre has always been proud of its relationship with its clients, so not being able to confirm events is currently the biggest cause of sadness across the teams.  We want to work with our clients to deliver the very best events but right now we just don’t know what we will be permitted to host.  What we do know is that we are prepared and will make the very best of whatever is thrown at us.”

Turn it into a hybrid event for free at Church House Westminster

Church House Westminster has embraced the emergence of virtual and hybrid events to counteract the impact of COVID-19 and physical distancing to keep meetings going.

In a further step to facilitate meetings and events to resume, Church House is offering event organisers complimentary use of its hybrid event technology, when hosting a conference or meeting at the Westminster venue.

The in-house Audio-Visual team of event production experts deliver a range of virtual and hybrid interactive online events with the use of new event technology.

Whether you are planning a multi-presenter event such as a virtual panel discussion or a webinar with virtual break-out rooms, the venue’s approach is to connect in-person and virtual audiences and to deliver an interactive delegate experience utilising expert event production and technology. There’s no need to worry about the logistics of the event, as a rehearsal with the AV team pre-event is also included.

Options include live-streaming, on-demand and hybrid packages. For full details, visit the venue’s website here.

10-11 Carlton House Terrace issues commitment to delegate safety

10-11 Carlton House Terrace has issued a statement of commitment to delegate safety once events are permitted to resume.

The team has been undertaking intensive preparations, implementing social distancing measures, cleaning
procedures and protective practices to ensure the venue is safe to deliver events for guests and
staff in relation to COVID-19.

Measures currently include:

  • 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
  • Capacities will be limited, and furniture layouts have been revised to ensure safe social distancing for guests
  • Staff workstations in offices, reception and kitchens have been revised to ensure social distancing
  • Free video conferencing facilities and video conferencing facilities available to organisers for each event
  • Contactless AV and catering service to be introduced where possible
  • Staff members provided with face masks and gloves
  • Face masks will be available for visitors and event guests
  • Hand sanitising gel readily available at entrance, restrooms, in each event space and throughout the venue
  • Special rubbish bins for disposal PPE provided throughout venue
  • All restrooms, handrails, door handles and lift panels disinfected every hour
  • Tables, chairs, equipment and other high traffic touch points in meeting and event spaces disinfected at least twice a day or between uses
  • Staff will be working from home as much as possible; any onsite staff members will be instructed to isolate if they display any symptoms. Facilities to check temperatures and isolate available onsite.

110 Rochester Row shares measures in response to COVID-19

110 Rochester Row has shared its measures in response to COVID-19, to keep delegates and staff safe.

On arrival, guests will be greeted with plenty of signage to guide them safely around the venue, where a one-way flow system has been introduced to maintain safe social distancing. Hand sanitisation and PPE disposal points will be available at the entrance and throughout the venue and a supply of masks and gloves will be available on request.

Common touch points including handrails, door handles and lift panels will be regularly and thoroughly sanitised by the venue’s cleaning contractors, Regional Services, who carry a number of cleaning accreditations.

Upgrades to larger event spaces will be made available to account for distancing between delegates and arrivals and departures will be staggered to minimise potential contact. The venue is also available for exclusive hire bookings for the further safety of guests.

For full details of the reopening plan, view the document here.


One Great George Street releases video of reopening measures

As part of plans to reopen in the coming months, One Great George Street has shared details of their safety measures to reassure event planners in a digestible video format.

Measures include revisions to capacities to ensure the safe social distancing of guests and a new one-way system throughout the venue to control the flow of people. As part of an extensive hygiene programme, hand sanitising stations will be implemented around the venue and high-touch points will be thoroughly cleaned multiple times per day.

Catering initiatives include a ‘grab and go’ lunch bag scheme as well as clearing stations for the return of cutlery and crockery avoiding unnecessary contact with staff.

For a full list of One Great George Street’s measures, watch the video here.


Securing standards at IET London: Savoy Place

As IET London: Savoy Place prepares to safely reopen for socially distanced events once permitted, the central London venue has shared its extensive precautions for the reassurance of event planners.

The venue’s accessibility for conferences, lectures, meetings and product launches, spanning four floors with well ventilated rooms and additional outside space, has allowed flexibility in redetermining new event capacities without compromising the safety of delegates.

Following detailed risk assessments, the venue is using this time of physical closure to train its staff on social distancing competency and hygiene measures, while continuing to operate and take bookings remotely. Though venue staff will be well-versed in these new procedures, Savoy Place will ensure that fogging disinfection is carried out specifically by specially trained GCC operatives in all high-risk areas of the venue. Perspex screens are being installed in reception and standard precautions such as sanitising stations and PPE disposal bins will be implemented. All visitors will have an allocated arrival time to avoid unnecessary queueing or crowding and will be asked to confirm that they are symptom-free for accountability.

IET Venues’ highly competent technology lends Savoy Place to bespoke digital messaging for each event to reiterate important measures displayed on screens around the venue. These will also exemplify the new rules for a one-way system around the building to remind delegates how to safely travel throughout Savoy Place. Each room is set up with its own screen and capabilities for video conferencing, so everybody around the venue can tune into one channel at once, or allow for different sessions in each room. Instructions will be given to all speakers using lapel microphones to minimise the need for contact with the AV team.

To ensure the success of hybrid events, the AV team has been integrating popular online meeting platforms into their own AV system, so online and live audiences can interact simultaneously with presenters and speakers, as well as with each other. Multi-layer video switchers and digital sound desks allow the management of audio and video coming from different sources and locations and can merge them together in a multilevel communication layout. Dedicated hybrid event packages offer optional add-ons like, which can be embedded into the streaming to encourage interactivity.

Savoy Place is offering the unique services of, using its in-house video and webcasting team with its own independent broadcasting channel, offering both live and post-event uploads to the highest standards. Hybrid events require top quality AV and video production so that virtual participants are provided a similar experience to in-person participants. Knowing every inch of the venue like the back of their hand, the experienced team know every angle and hidden trick to ensure the lighting, sound and delivery of video is of unbeaten quality.

RSA House shares new measures for reopening strategy

RSA House, in partnership with CH&Co, has shared its latest measures for a safe reopening when the time is right.

Using the term ‘physical distancing’ rather than ‘social distancing’, the team as RSA House has put together a helpful document and video to outline the safety measures for both guests and staff for future events at the London venue.

New procedures in response to the changing environments include flexible event solutions with rescheduling options, stringent hygiene routines and a revised catering offering.

For full details on these measures, view the document here.