Putting something back: the charitable contribution made by the venues

There is no doubt that
introducing a meetings and events division is a savvy decision for any historic
or landmark building looking to bring in a new revenue stream to its business
operations.

In recent years more and more
amazing and unique spaces have become available to the corporate buyer, much of
it prompted by a burst of lottery funding initiatives for large capital
projects in the 1990s. As part of the conditions attached to securing funding,
organisations had to show that they were going to maximise the use of their
buildings and present balanced budgets. As such, opening their buildings to
corporate events buyers was a logical decision. 

By entering the events market
place, landmarks were able to exploit the commercial potential of their venues,
to help deliver on their charitable or maintenance commitments. This is
certainly true of the majority of the association which I chair, Unique Venues
of London, where 71 of our members are either charities themselves, or have
charitable foundations which directly benefit from funds generated through
hosting events. 

It is fair to say that in many
cases, venues are vital for ensuring that some of the country’s best loved
landmarks are kept in mint condition for future generations. For example, last
year our members generated approximately £65m from events. The majority
of these funds have subsequently been invested back into the various museums,
galleries, theatres, churches and attractions to fund their core work, whether
that is in preserving priceless art work, supporting live art-forms or the
general up-keep of beloved national monuments.

I myself am well aware of the
valuable investment opportunities generated by events. At my venue, the Royal
Opera House, all the revenue garnered from our commercial endeavours goes
directly towards funding the work of The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera
companies. Looking further afield, venues including: Christchurch Spitalfields,
St Paul’s Cathedral and St Martin-in-the-Fields, all use the money from their
event spaces to help with their important outreach work with London’s homeless.

In terms of value to event
organisers, landmarks are constantly investing both in terms of structure and
facilities. At Unique Venues of London alone, we have seen £43m of
investment across our membership in their meetings and events spaces in the
first half of 2014. For example, Gibson Hall and London Museum of Water &
Steam have pledged to enhance the delegate experience with upgrades that have
come into effect over the past six months. Meanwhile to mark the centenary of
the First World War, IWM London’s transformation, designed by Foster +
Partners, saw new, contemporary event spaces open in July.

Although sometimes the unsung
hero, the venues and events divisions at charitable, heritage or cultural
institutions are an essential element that ensures they remain part of the
national fabric for generations to enjoy for years to come.

Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor

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Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

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ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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