#StrongerTogether – Acts of support in the UK events industry in the face of COVID19

Friday 01 May 2020


As the events industry grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, many UK events businesses have quickly turned their efforts to help the local and medical communities. We explore how the UK events industry rose to the challenge and offered different services in extraordinary acts of support.

Help for key workers

Key workers across the healthcare and other essential services continue to selflessly go to work every day. As a way to support and thank those on the front line of this pandemic, the events industry from across the UK has found new ways of giving back

  • Visions Group – Event production specialist Visions Group, built a staff village for staff working for the National Health Service (NHS). Within the grounds of Reading School in Berkshire, the village provides temporary accommodation and operational support service to NHS staff.
  • Ten Hill Place Hotel -  Edinburgh’s largest independent hotel – owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RSCEd) – offered 1,000 free stays to medical and clinical staff battling Covid-19. Opening its doors to the city’s hospital staff on 27 March and has since accommodated over 200 key workers.
  • Macdonald Hotels – This collection of over 30 luxury UK hotels and spas is offering all NHS staff free tea, coffee and choice of breakfast roll to say thank you for all their efforts.


Building hospitals and producing medical supplies

Across the UK leading venues, including ExCel London, NEC Birmingham, SEC Glasgow and Manchester Central, have been transformed into fully functioning hospitals.  This has been supported by industry suppliers who have volunteered their time, services and spaces to help the NHS in the fight against COVID-19.

  • GES – this leading full service supplier to live events has played a large role in creating NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London. This key temporary facility took 38,0000 man hours to create, resulting in a critical medical facility with 3,700 patient rooms.
  • Principality Stadium – Entertainment and event professionals have been helping turn the Welsh venue into a 2,000-bed hospital. Theatre and lighting technicians who usually build festival sites and TV sets are among those helping to put power into beds and create full functioning kitchens.
  • LandRover – Leading car manufacturer has offered an additional 105 vehicles for the British Red Cross. This recent donation brings the total quantity deployed worldwide during this crisis to over 300, part of the ongoing commitment to provide assistance wherever possible.
  • London O2 ArenaThis leading London venue has been made available to the NHS for the training of additional staff required at the new Nightingale hospital in the ExCel centre. The NHS will have access to the venue until the end of June in order to assist with the growing numbers of staff required to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
  • UK Distilleries – Distilleries from across the country, including the London Gin Distillery, Brewdog and Bottomley Distillery, have switched to producing hand sanitiser during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Royal Mint – The world’s leading export mint in Llantrisant has started mass manufacturing medical visors for the NHS. After developing a successful prototype that helps protect frontline care workers, Royal Mint have started producing 4,000 medical visors per day for NHS staff.


Supporting the vulnerable

With many vulnerable people self-isolating in their homes, the events industry is playing the part in feeding those most in need.

  • Open Kitchen MCRA Manchester not for profit sent waste food from cancelled events to those at high-risk from the coronavirus. Open kitchen MCR works with food businesses to create nutritious meals for the vulnerable, using ingredients that would otherwise have gone to waste.  
  • National Museum LiverpoolTo support efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus, the events and catering teams at National Museums Liverpool have donated a number of crucial food items and ingredients to Knowsley’s Big Help Project food bank. The contribution included a variety of produce that was no longer required following the organisations announcement that its venues would be temporarily closed in line with government advice.
  • Olympia LondonThe iconic convention centre has been converted into a large food storage, production and distribution facility to support vulnerable and isolated residents with food donations. Working with The Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank service, which began work this month, Olympia has helped them increase the Foodbank’s capacity by 400 percent by delivering over 1,000 parcels per week.  
  • Boulevard EventsThe family run event catering company located in London, switched their services to provide healthy meals for local families, giving them access to nutritious food during isolation that has been specifically designed to boost immune systems.  

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