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Lobbying for the Industry

Posted by Sarah Threlfall

We CAN open Safely

My wonderful colleagues across this great industry have been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the drastic impact that the Coronavirus shutdown is having on the Live Events market.  We CAN open safely, we just need the government to recognise that and support us financially in the meantime.

Today, I have taken the excellent work linked below that HBAA have done and sent it to my MP for Northampton South, Andrew Lewer,  imploring him to raise our plight with his colleagues and to reopen and / or support us.

HBAA Business Events Meetings and Accommodation Report


Letter to MP For Northampton South

Hi Andrew,

I am writing to you as a business owner in Northampton South who offers consultancy B2B services to Corporate Event Management agencies around the UK.  I offer Project Management support for corporate events such as conferences, exhibitions, product launches etc.  These events are usually very high end, with big budgets and often operate all over the world as well as a significant proportion in hotels and venues around the UK and in Northamptonshire.  They are not weddings, music festivals or other ‘consumer’ type events eg. the Good Food show.  These are events which bring usually hundreds of corporate attendees together and, according to latest research (attached) is worth over £30 Billion to the UK GDP.

However, the industry has been decimated as you can imagine by the Coronavirus lockdown.  There is no end in sight as the Government will not publish any guidance or indication of when the sector may reopen.  As you can imagine, the average conference delegate is VERY compliant – certainly much more so than a member of the public who has had several pints in their local pub or who is out shopping with their family.

The industry already has a hugely positive Health & Safety culture and is well versed in Risk Assessing every single event.  Working within existing Government guidance for social distancing etc. we have already produced several Best Practice guides on how to operate events safely.  And yet, we remain ‘illegal’ with no signs of when restrictions will be lifted.

Up to 30% of jobs in this industry could be lost as a result (again, see the attached for source) due to agencies closing or making redundancies.  As we have seen with previous recessions, our industry is hit hard, and so we need the Government to specifically address our concerns urgently so that we can reopen as soon as possible.  In the meantime, we would also appeal for additional, specific financial packages in order to support us during this time.  Due to the ‘unclassified’ nature of what we do (we have no individual SIC code and individual councils sometimes place us in Tourism or Hospitality) we fall down the many gaps in current provision.  There are also a high percentage of self employed or PAYE Director owned Ltd companies earning largely or solely through dividends which, again, have been left without sufficient support.

I urge you to discuss our concerns and the industry in general with your colleagues in Westminster who will hopefully be receiving similar messages from others in my profession.  Corporate events can be run safely and will generate confidence and revenue again in a very beleaguered industry.  We need you to reopen the corporate events market NOW and provide immediate financial support to those that are employed in it.

Many thanks

Sarah Threlfall

Sarah Threlfall

Sarah's worked in the corporate event industry across hotels, global event agencies and now at Brightspace for over 25 years and has been lucky enough to deliver some jaw dropping delivered events from Antigua to Zambia. She now leads the agency and is heavily involved with all the projects and is wildly enthusiastic about every client and every event; relishing the challenge to get under their skin and deliver real value in their event strategy. Health and well being are central to her life so she prioritises all sorts of activity with running as her first love and most recently, joining a ladies cricket team. She's also very likely to be found on the touchline of junior football / rugby and cricket matches as well as indulging her love of live theatre. (p.s. as 2 separate hobbies; her kids would disown her if she were bursting into song / bringing out the jazz hands on the sidelines!)