Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
A perfect mix in East Anglia
Suffolk will bring your senses to life, offering you an authentic experience in an inspiring setting. Norfolk is an unexpected and refreshingly different destination for your next conference or meeting. Cambridge has venues for all types of events. Let’s go to East Anglia to see what it can offer the event organiser.
Destination Cambridge, the dedicated conference desk situated within Visit Cambridge, the official tourism service for Cambridge, should be your first point of contact when looking for that perfect venue to host your next event. From historic colleges to traditional or modern hotels, museums, purpose built training centres, unique venues and versatile theatres, we can offer facilities for up to 1,400 delegates. For the larger conferences or social events, such as weddings and private parties, we can also set up a dedicated, personalised accommodation website to enable individual delegates or guests to book and pay, online, making life so much easier for them and the host.
The Colleges in Cambridge, primarily educational establishments, are mostly available for residential conferences during vacation time, whilst some are able to offer facilities all year round. The excellent selection of hotels, some with leisure clubs, is constantly being refurbished and upgraded to meet the increasing demand for corporate and private functions. Many venues specialise in themed banquets or we can arrange a gala dinner in a college hall for a special Cambridge-evening. There is a wide range of unusual venues, such as stately homes, a vineyard, or an air museum on the outskirts of the city or short drive away.
Cambridge is easy to get to via the superb road network that runs through East Anglia, namely the M11, A14 and A11, which makes Cambridgeshire one of the most accessible destinations in the East of England. Not only can Destination Cambridge offer a complete venue finding service, an added advantage, as we are situated within the Cambridge Tourist Office, means that we have invaluable information at our fingertips on all the events and what’s on in the area. We can also organise social programmes for delegates or accompanying partners. There are a host of activities for relaxation or team building, be it a walking tour, a punting trip, wine tasting, a chocolate demonstration or even a personal shopper – whatever takes your fancy to make your event memorable.
The Destination Cambridge conference desk, working in partnership with all the venues in Cambridge and the surrounding area, prides itself on offering value for money and will endeavour to accommodate all budgets. All the venues offer a quality service and flexibility is key, with the motto of “The answer is yes, what’s the question“ being a priority.
To ensure your delegates get the most out of their time in Cambridge, we can supply maps, guide books and souvenirs, definitely making Destination Cambridge (www.destinationcambridge.org) the one stop shop for all your conference requirements. Don’t forget that the business traveller can also book accommodation online by clicking on the official tourism website www.visitcambridge.org
Conference Cambridge, the official free venue finding service for the University of Cambridge, offers a wide range of unique venues that are ideal for one-day meetings or training days. Some of our venues include:
The Pitt Building, an imposing venue, commissioned in honour of William Pitt the Younger, was completed in 1833. For over 100 years it housed the printing and publishing offices of Cambridge University Press and the Oriel Room is still used today by the Syndicate. Since 2004, following an elegant renovation, the venue has been offering its facilities for conferences and meetings.
A superb new meeting room – The Perceval Room – has recently been added to the portfolio. Refurbished to the highest modern standards, it is proving a very popular addition to the existing meeting facilities at The Pitt Building. Accommodating up to 70 people, the room is of generous proportions and offers built-in widescreen projection equipment with Blu-Ray capabilities, Videoconferencing, Wi-Fi internet access, magnetic walls for displays, black-out facilities and a dedicated multi-drinks station with lounge facilities.
Newnham College’s graceful series of buildings were designed in a Queen Anne style of mellow brick with white woodwork, between 1875 and 1910 and are grouped round spacious gardens with tree-studded lawns opening onto playing fields and tennis courts.
The Lucia Windsor Room is a versatile, flat-floored space, which can be sub-divided into two rooms by means of solid oak folding panels. Equipped with the very latest in AV, the room can accommodate groups of 100 theatre style or 150 for receptions. Dividing the room into two creates a more intimate setting, which is perfect for smaller groups, training sessions or private dining. With a tempered air system, Wi-Fi, controllable variable lighting and disabled access, the room is suitable for a range of events. Outside the room there is an elegant foyer area that can be used for registration and refreshments.
The oldest of the graduate colleges, and situated close to the train station, Hughes Hall offers a range of meeting and training rooms including the Garden Lecture Room, which is set in the middle of the attractive gardens and can be used for lectures for up to 40 people or meetings for 25. There’s also the Pavillion Room, which can accommodate 80 people for a lecture or 40 for a meeting.
The Hughes Hall Conference suite contains three meeting rooms of varying size that open onto a foyer with informal seating, its own entrance and cloakrooms, which means you have your own self-contained space.
Last year, Clare College opened a new 150-seat conference facility – the Gillespie Centre – offering light and flexible meeting rooms, fully equipped with wireless connectivity and modern AV facilities, as well as 34 new executive bedrooms. The Gillespie Centre is built to the highest standards of sustainability, using solar thermal panels and a Ground Source Heat Pump for efficient heating and cooling.
This contemporary facility is set within Clare College, the second oldest of the Cambridge Colleges, founded in 1326 and situated just a short walk away from the centre of the City, in a peaceful location with extensive riverside frontage.
For further details or to book a showround, please contact Conference Cambridge on 01223 740768 www.conferencecambridge.com
Norwich & Norfolk
Norwich, on the shortlist to be the UK’s first Capital of Culture, offers exceptional modern meeting and conference venues, set in one of England’s most impressive medieval citys, which also happens to be a top 10 retail destination. The city is on the doorstep of the wetland paradise of the Norfolk Broads and is just a short drive or train journey from the North Norfolk Coast or the hustle and bustle of Great Yarmouth.
The Hostry – opened November 2009 – is Norwich’s newest venue. Set in the peaceful Cathedral close and just a short walk from the railway station, The Hostry is a contemporary space built adjacent to the 11th century Norwich Cathedral.
On the first floor, the venue seats 150 in the main conference room, a flat-floored space with complete flexibility. The ground level has a 90sq m of exhibition space, which is also ideal for breaks and networking. The Cathedral’s Refectory, serving freshly prepared food, from business breakfasts to private three course dinners is nearby. Special guided tours of the Cathedral are on offer, introducing delegates to the history of this 900-year-old building.
The Forum, Norwich’s landmark Millennium building designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, is one of the UK’s most striking examples of 20th century architecture. The Forum also offers some of the most inspiring spaces in the UK which are available to hire for a range of business and community occasions, including The Curve – a state-of-the-art auditorium with full high definition technology, video conferencing and tiered seating for 120 people.
Conference organisers can use Fusion, a giant digital screen gallery, the largest in Europe – perfect for a special reception – to captivate delegates with film, image and sound. Allied to this is The Forum’s 400 sq m main atrium, which can be used for dinners, exhibitions, large receptions and other special events. In addition, tours of BBC East’s studios (located at The Forum) are available.
There is a fantastic variety of venues across the county ranging from luxurious country house hotels, with golf and spa facilities, to contemporary business accommodation and boutique hotels. With more attractions than most counties, Norfolk can offer a relaxing and different social and partner programme to complement any event.
Budgets for events in London, Manchester or Edinburgh stretch much further in Norfolk. Day delegate rates for 2010 in top venues average £30-£40 and 24-hour rates are on a comparable level.
Norwich has its own international airport with daily flights to the major European hub in Schipol, while Stansted is just a 90-minute drive away. There are two direct trains an hour to London Liverpool Street from Norwich. Journeys to London King’s Cross from King’s Lynn in the west of the county take under two hours.
For organisers interested in discovering more about the county, the Norwich and Norfolk Conference Bureau provides a free venue finding service and impartial advice to help in planning an event. Bureau manager Virginia Edwards is available on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find a list of services and venues on www.conferencenorfolk.co.uk
Suffolk is an inspirational place. Offering wide open skies, quiet coastal retreats and tranquil rural countryside, visitors discover a county that gives them the room to breathe and the space to think.
Then there is Suffolk’s rich history and heritage, cultural connections, passionate producers of fresh local food and excellent accommodation. It all adds up to a highly attractive proposition that is easily accessible from the capital and further afield. Just under an hour away from the M25 and close to Stansted and Norwich airports, the county also has good road connections to London and the Midlands via the A12 and A14. By rail, the county benefits from an excellent service by National Express from London Liverpool Street and Stratford to Ipswich, with good connections on to Suffolk’s other main towns. It’s also a great travel choice for sitting back and soaking up the gentle landscape that gave inspiration to the likes of such celebrated Suffolk artists as Constable, Gainsborough and Britten.
It’s no wonder then, that the county is high on the list of destinations for corporate businesses looking to host events that combine premier accommodation and services within a location that has a very special charm.
Located just outside the county’s capital town of Ipswich, Trinity Park Conference and Events Centre has taken advantage of the growth in conference business. An award-winning building, specifically designed to offer state-of-the-art events facilities in a flexible space, the Centre can be arranged as a single space, seating 1,000 theatre-style or 400 for dinner. Moveable walls can also divide the room into six separate areas to host smaller business events, such as team briefings and breakfast meetings or lunches.
At Ufford Park Hotel, Golf and Spa, located just outside of the attractive market town of Woodbridge, visitors are able to mix business with a little pleasure. The hotel has nine modern air-conditioned meeting/function rooms, with many enjoying panoramic views over the fabulous golf course, and the largest accommodating up to 200 guests seated theatre-style. A little R&R, of course, is also key to Ufford’s appeal. The venue’s 18-hole, Par 71 golf course spreads across 120 acres of unspoilt Suffolk countryside, while luxurious spa facilities provide a highly relaxing experience, from head to toe.
In the west of Suffolk, Bedford Lodge Hotel blends contemporary chic with traditional charm. The venue hosts a range of conference, corporate events, away days, team events and business seminars, and is ideally positioned close to the A11, A14 and M11, alongside the international home of horseracing in Newmarket. With six dedicated advanced conference and events rooms, facilities include wireless internet access, air conditioning systems and individual ISDN lines.
The historic town of Bury St Edmunds is home to The Angel Hotel, where Georgian elegance is enhanced by contemporary design elements. The luxury 4-star Suffolk hotel remains at the hub of this neat little market town and its three stylish meeting rooms offer the leading edge facilities demanded by modern businesses.
Suffolk has it all – an accessible escape to places that combine real character with cutting edge hospitality, coastal areas and peaceful countryside, luxury and charm, and venues where the emphasis is on quality service and ensuring business is a real pleasure. More information can be found about these and the county’s other business venues at www.visitsuffolk.com