Church House Westminster launches redeveloped website for interactive user experience

Church House Westminster has redeveloped its website to offer a more interactive user experience in the wake of COVID-19.

The new layout includes COVID specific measures including updated capacities and user-friendly virtual tours for those unable to visit the venue in person.

Following guidance from the government, Church House Westminster can now safely host in-person meetings of up to 30 people. Subject to successful pilot events, the team remains hopeful of resuming hosting of larger scale events at Church House, whilst adhering to physical distancing measures, from October 2020.

To see the updated website, visit

QEII Centre offers top tips on running a successful event with social distancing

As the QEII Centre gets ready to run events again from 1 October, Stuart Drummond and Jessica Blankson from the venue’s event management team, tell us how they are looking forward to getting back the buzz of live events and provide some tips on how to run an event with physical distancing.

What are you looking forward to once the Centre reopens?

We can’t wait to get back to the Centre and start managing events again, the interaction with our client and running successful events is what gives us a buzz and we have really missed this over the last few months.

Nothing can beat the experience and atmosphere of a live event, the hum and murmur of delegates interacting and networking, the quiet whilst speakers deliver industry leading and defining presentations and the delicious aroma from the catering amongst other things.

Not being at the Centre, has felt very odd as we normally spend so much time there! We like to keep busy and have structure in our days that planning and running events gives us, and it will be great to have this back as it has been a summer of uncertainty for us and our clients.


What reassurance are you able to offer clients about the safety of holding an event post covid-19?

We have found that clients have taken reassurance from the work that has been conducted as an industry over the summer to make venues ready and compliant for reopening. At the QEII Centre, we have been able to provide plans of the room capacities as well as videos and documents that demonstrate how events will run at the Centre. I think these have helped show clients the measures we are putting in place to keep them and their delegates safe.

We would encourage clients to book in site visits, to see the measures for themselves and understand the journey the delegates will be going on from coming through the front door to leaving the event. It will also help provide reassurance for their own health and safety and those of their staff, for example the installation of sneeze screens at desks. It will also give clients an opportunity to ask about some of the key measures that have been implemented such as cleaning regimens.


What are your top five tips for clients when taking into account physical distancing?

It is easy to forget but the principle of running an event is very similar to how it was before Covid-19, the main changes are the information that needs to be communicated to delegates and the way some processes are run such as registration. Our tips focus on pre-event communication and working with the venue to ensure physical distance is maintained:

  1. Eliminate lines and queues by pre-registering delegates
  2. Ensure your delegates turn up prepared to the event (e.g. know that they won’t be allowed in if their temperature is too high, if they need to wear masks and when they do and don’t need to etc.)
  3. Make sure you are aware of the capacity of the rooms you have hired and identify whether you need to move to a larger space
  4. Reduce the possibility for crowding, for example consider staggering breaks to control the numbers of delegates moving round at any time
  5. Have staff and helpers available on the day to manage the flow and ensure that delegates follow the one way one system on entering and exiting rooms


What questions should clients be asking their event manager when planning an event?

As this is new for us and our clients, we seem to be getting new questions all the time but there are a few common questions, which we would be happy to share:

  • How many delegates will be allowed into the spaces the client has booked / in the venue as a whole?
  • How many other events are in the venue on the same day and how will this work?
  • How will the event space look with the physical distanced capacities?
  • How many exhibition stands are allowed? How does this vary by stand type?
  • Where can clients position staff/ helpers to manage the event? Will I have to adhere to the one-way system?
  • How will the catering be served?
  • Will face masks need to be worn during the event?
  • What technology or options are there to replace handling items?

We can wait for events to restart and see all our clients back in person at the QEII Centre. It has been great to keep connected with you via Zoom, Teams and other platforms but nothing beats the feeling of seeing you all face to face!

One Great George Street completes AV upgrades in its Telford Theatre

One Great George Street has undergone a series of upgrades in its lecture theatre during closure, ready for the reintroduction of events.

The central London venue has combined classic Edwardian architecture with the latest technology, offering new audio-visual equipment installed in partnership with RunTech.

A new projection system allows the team to fill the venue’s new 10m x 3m screen fully. In addition, a new switching system allows high quality content to be sent in a more flexible way to the screen and comfort monitors, giving clients a hugely upgraded experience. The whole system runs on a 4k60p network for the highest quality.

New laser projectors from Panasonic and an Aquillon switcher from Analog Way power the new system. This ensures flexibility in displaying content in 4:3 and 16:9 as was previously possible, but now also to fill the new screen surface. Clients will be able to utilise this space for additional content such as sponsors’ logos, live to screen video, ultra-wide screen slides, and twitter feeds or live polls.

To see these upgrades in action, click here.

RSA House and caterers CH&CO deliver their first hybrid ‘Safer Event’ with Hire Space

Award-winning Central London events venue RSA House, catering specialists CH&CO and event booking platform Hire Space joined forces in August to host their first ‘Safer Event’ together.

The strategy day for Hire Space was an opportunity for their team to get back to business at one of their accredited ‘Safer Venues’ and to catch up on some well overdue team interaction. The purpose for RSA was to put into practise all the new procedures and kick start their events alongside CH&CO launching their new safe menus and RSA their hybrid event offering, in partnership with Radiance Production.

The event was held in accordance with safety guidelines established in the ‘Safer Events – A Framework for Action’ white paper, in accordance with public health, government and industry body guidance. Twenty of the Hire Space team joined in-person with ten members joining virtually from around the world. In a post-event survey, attendees gave the event a safety score of 9.2 out of 10.

The day began with the staggered arrival of guests and digital contactless temperature checks being taken by a member of the RSA reception team. On entry, guests sanitised their hands and were given a ‘Safer Events’ branded hand sanitising wipe and a device enabling them to open doors throughout the venue without touch – a very well thought through gesture, as one of the Hire Space team comments, “Event measures were plentiful which was reassuring. The sanitiser, masks and brass keys at the entrance set the tone of a safe event from the start”.

Thorough signage has been placed around the venue, to include two meters physical distancing floor markers outside in order to manage queues. Additionally, floor markings, digital and human signage in event spaces and public areas was in place to manage a one-way flow of traffic around the venue, to reduce interaction amongst staff and guests. In a post-event survey sent to the Hire Space team, a score of 9.2 was given by guests with regards to their overall feeling of safety.

During the morning, the Hire Space team were taken on tours of the venue by the RSA sales team, giving them an insight into the 11 unique and versatile event spaces RSA has to offer. This included the newly refurbished Prince Philip Room and Romney Room, the iconic Vaults and the charismatic exposed brick Auditorium. Laura Pearce, Head of Sales, RSA House says, “After weeks of thorough preparation to get the venue ready for re-opening with new and heightened safety procedures in place, it was exciting to host our first Safer Event with Hire Space. This was an opportunity for all of us to experience the ‘new normal’ and to learn from the new processes we have in place”. Laura goes on to say, “It’s incredibly important to reassure our clients and the industry that although times have changed, we can hold events safely whilst following guidelines and maintaining a sense of occasion. Our doors are open and we’re very much looking forward to hosting more of the same in the coming weeks and months!”

With self-service stations a thing of the past, the RSA team managed all catering service from behind Perspex barriers to minimise shared touchpoints. Individual energising breakfast bags included a Greek yoghurt with mixed berry compote, a blueberry muffin, a flapjack and a summer berry and banana smoothie. Spanish Bento boxes were a talking point of the day and included Charcuterie from Brindisa of Borough Market.

The afternoon session was enjoyed in the striking Great Room which is steeped in history, providing a truly memorable setting for any event. The hybrid element kicked off with a welcome talk from The RSA’s Head of Commercial Development, Charlotte Sumners, about the history of The RSA and the building along with an overview of The RSA’s current areas of work. Profits from events held at the venue fund these current programmes including, ‘Future of Work’, ‘Regenerative Futures/Sustainability’ and ‘Fair Education’. CH&CO’s certified nutritionist, Amanda Ursell, joined virtually from Italy, to talk about ‘What You Eat Can Optimise Your Immune System’ and gave a useful insight on how to combat screen fatigue.

The day was wrapped up with a private cinema experience in the venue’s ultra-comfy and charismatic screening room, Durham Street Auditorium which was built on the last remaining stretch of 18th century cobbled Victorian roadway. Guests had the chance to sensibly socialise sitting two meters apart whilst enjoying a movie of their choice. CH&CO served pre-packed popcorn and pick ‘n’ mix, adding to the authentic cinema experience.

RSA House recently gained the Hire Space ‘Safer Events’ accreditation and Visit England ‘Good to Go’ accreditation. The venue is open to host meetings and weddings for up to 30 guests and all other events from 1st October (pending government guidelines).

IET London: Savoy Place shares Christmas party preferences following recent research survey

Following the news that UK events are starting to resume, IET London: Savoy Place conducted research that found 60% of people are expecting Christmas parties to be more important than ever in 2020.

Christmas parties have been the subject of debate for many weeks, with the festive season sitting right on the periphery of potential normality or indeed a second wave of COVID-induced regulations, but overall, the public are optimistic about having a party this year, providing venues can offer an attractive package while still adhering to necessary measures.

With just 25% thinking their Christmas party is looking unlikely for now, three quarters were either confident it would go ahead or felt it was too early to plan yet. Of those not anticipating a Christmas party, 39% would expect a summer party in 2021 as an alternative. Figures also show that 90% would prefer a pre-Christmas party in November or December, while a small minority were keen to wait until January to extend celebrations in the new year.

The demand for a nice and secure venue has emerged as the top requirement this Christmas, valued by 79% of recipients, followed by good food at 68% and, preferably free, drinks at 51%. When questioned on concerns in the wake of COVID-19, getting close enough to talk with loud music being played, dancing and transportation were considered the biggest obstacles, while catering, drinking and entertainment were of little concern. One tongue-in-cheek response expressed relief that there were likely to be less drink-induced inappropriate endeavours between colleagues this year due to the importance of distancing and therefore far less regret heading back to the office the next day.

The good news for employers looking to keep their costs down for this year’s festivities is that only 20% of those asked believed that partners should be invited to staff Christmas parties. Having been in lockdown with loved ones for so long, a change of scenery – and company – is looking likely to be well received!

In order to reward staff with what could possibly be the first and last social occasion of the year as a team while budgets are tight, key considerations include scaling down the guest list to team members only, choosing a venue with flexible contracts, and preferably on-site parking or safe transport options. When asked if people were expecting to feel comfortable using public transport again by December, 46% said yes, 18% no and 36% thought it was too early to tell.

Savoy Place are now taking bookings for Christmas parties, offering a dedicated event coordinator to talk through and settle any concerns beforehand. Guests can enjoy a festive three-course dinner or reception in a stunning setting with a backdrop of the London skyline. Find out more about hosting your Christmas party safely at Savoy place.

10-11 Carlton House Terrace to offer mental health first aid at events

10-11 Carlton House Terrace has recently achieved a new benchmark, set out by Stress Matters, that guarantees a mental health first aider at every event.

All members of the London venue’s in-house events team have been trained in mental health first aid.

The #MHFAEveryEvent campaign launched by Stress Matters aims to “promote the importance of having a mental health first aider present at every event”, and to have it seen as “the equivalent to needing a physical first aider on-site”.

The 10-11 Carlton House Terrace events team are now certified to recognise and support those who might be living with mental ill health through Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England’s action plan.

Catherine Owen, head of venues sales and marketing at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, added: “Making our venue as accessible as possible has always been a priority and becoming fully-qualified mental health first aiders was a natural next step. Going forward, there will always be a mental health first aid trained team member at every event on-site. We’re proud to be able to care for our guests, clients, staff and suppliers in many different capacities and mental health is of paramount importance as we prepare for events to re-open soon.”

Regent’s Conferences & Events hunt for 2020’s engaged unsung heroes for ultimate £20k wedding day reward

Regent’s Conferences & Events has launched a campaign to track down one worthy couple affected by the disruption to weddings this year and reward them with the ultimate dream day worth £20k.

In a bid to reward some of the unsung heroes of this unfathomable year, Regent’s is on the look-out for key workers, volunteers or any engaged couple that has gone above and beyond to help people or overcome significant challenges that have thwarted plans for their dream wedding day. In exchange, the idyllic central London wedding venue, set in 11 acres of manicured lawns in Regent’s Park, will be choosing one lucky winner to be gifted their wedding for up to 100 guests in August or September 2021.

With scenes to savour, tastes to tantalise and memories to make in a magical landscape, Regent’s is set in glorious tranquillity to create a wonderfully romantic venue for fairy-tale weddings. Dramatic splendour and breath-taking beauty are part of the package at Regent’s, from exquisite architecture and beautiful décor inside to the pristine lawns and a paradisiac secret garden, offering a perfect moment of privacy for the happy couple.

On the decision to launch the campaign, Rachel Azzopardi, Head of Catering and Events at Regent’s said: “We are all too aware of the disruptions many hopeful newly weds-to-be have seen this year which have resulted in unthinkable disappointment and the cancellation or postponement of wedding plans. While it’s been fantastic to see the recognition and tributes to so many emergency workers, charities and hard working volunteers this year, we wanted to find a way of giving back with a measurable thank you to a couple who particularly deserve it. The emotional and financial implications for many during COVID-19, as well as the physical ones, have been vast and we’re so excited to deliver the dream day for one worthy couple who have been let down by 2020.”

Entries can be made by couples themselves or on behalf of somebody else, simply detailing why they should win. The complimentary package will include grounds and marquee hire with use of a secret garden, and three course wedding menu with drinks for all guests. For a list of all inclusions and full terms and conditions or for more details on how to apply, visit:

Westminster venues join forces to host flexible events in a post-Covid world and beyond

Four of Westminster’s leading venues have come together to provide 97 highly flexible and safe event spaces as they prepare to re-open this October following months of lockdown during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

Westminster Campus is a brand-new collaboration of venues comprising Central Hall Westminster, QEII Centre, Church House Westminster and One Great George Street.  This alliance was created as a joint effort to provide more safety, security and space for the ‘new normal’ of post-pandemic events in the heart of Westminster.

The Westminster Campus venues will allow even greater flexibility to take into account new capacities and physical distancing rules enforced following the pandemic. Depending on the enquiry, the venues will work together to host one event in multiple locations to ensure maximum safety, security and flexibility within Government guidelines.  The unique partnership will offer just one point of contact and one contract for an easy, stress-free process.

Moreover, all the venues in the Westminster Campus are members of the Meetings Industry Association (mia) and have achieved AIM Secure – the new enhanced professional accreditation featuring vital infection prevention and control protocols – which demonstrates to buyers their commitment to offering a first-class service safely and responsibly for the health of staff and customers.

By joining forces in this way, the four venues are able to provide a total of 97 versatile event spaces within the centre of Westminster with its excellent transport links – all close to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.  Event planners can also tap into extensive resources for accommodation and other important requirements.

Before setting up Westminster Campus, the group carried out meticulous surveys to its client base to find out expectations and goals. The survey found that 60% of event planners would be interested in hosting an event in a central London location if they were offered increased capacity in partnership with other venues.  The survey also revealed that half of organisers are looking at in-person events from October 2020 to March 2021, so this is expected to be a very busy time for venues.

A spokesperson for Westminster Campus comments: “This new collective is very exciting, and we believe this is just the beginning of a new way of working for the events industry; not just during these times but into the future.

“The events industry has always been more collaborative than competitive, and it has never been more important to work with others in these very challenging times we are facing. Just as importantly, we want to be able to offer our loyal clients an exemplary service while keeping within Government guidelines to keep us all safe. All the venues involved are committed to giving our clients and our workforce the confidence to return to face-to-face events by maintaining secure, safe and responsible practices.”

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, says: “It is essential for the long-term survival of the sector that we take a creative approach to offer clever solutions to event buyers, so we are delighted to see four mia members – all based in close proximity in the heart of Westminster – collaborating to enable live business meetings and events to take place safely with lots of space, no matter what their requirements.”