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.
The ultimate conference destination
In February, the city was named Best UK Destination at the 2010 Confex Awards and, in March, joined the Meetings Industry Association as part of a plan to see all venues featured in the city’s 2011 conference guide be Accredited in Meetings (AIM) approved.
With a proven track record of staging world-class events, from sporting to cultural, Manchester is now firmly established on the worldwide conference and events stage as a leading business destination. Recent conference wins for the city include the British Lymphology Society conference, which will take place in October of this year, the 2011 meeting of UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee, and the 2013 Local Government Association conference and exhibition.
Central to Manchester’s success in the conference industry is the city’s Conference Ambassador Programme. Re-launched in September 2007, the programme is made up of representatives from the many diverse fields of excellence within the city, from the academic and business community to the public sector. These representatives form a key group in promoting and supporting Manchester as a world-class conference destination – to those associations, societies and professional bodies with which they are affiliated.
Manchester can quite rightly claim to be the original, modern city. Birthplace of everything from the industrial revolution and the computer to the football league and Top Of The Pops, Manchester is truly a city of firsts.
As the gateway to England’s Northwest, Manchester could not be better placed, with Cheshire, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cumbria on its doorstep.
As a host city, Manchester offers an endless choice of entertainment and leisure options. Home to the largest theatre land outside of London and with the busiest indoor arena in the world, from theatres and galleries, to designer shops and one-off boutiques, Manchester’s extensive choice has helped to establish the city as one of Europe’s most exciting conference destinations.
From modern, purpose-built meeting rooms to the elegant splendour of refurbished Victorian buildings, Manchester offers event planners a wide range of meeting room options.
For large scale conferences and events, the centrally located MEN Arena is capable of holding 19,000 delegates. Europe’s largest indoor concert venue, the arena is one of Manchester’s largest conference spaces and yet, if required, can be converted into a more intimate space for 3,000.
Just across the city centre, in Petersfield, is the Manchester Central Convention Complex – arguably the city’s flagship conference venue – and winner of the 2010 Business Tourism Award at the Manchester Tourism Awards. The complex is currently in the third and final phase of a £28 million redevelopment programme that will see three conference rooms with capacities from 400-2,000 seated theatre style and a restaurant added to the facility’s already impressive offering. Existing facilities include a column free space of 10,350 sq m where 4,000 can be hosted in a tiered theatre.
New to the city’s conference scene this summer is The Point – an exciting £12 million development at Lancashire County Cricket Club’s Old Trafford cricket ground. It is set to be one of the largest purpose-built facilities in the country, accommodating a conference or formal dinner for 1,000 people. Coupled with the cricket club’s existing conference facilities and 68-bedroomed Lodge, it has the potential to stage major exhibitions and other events. Designed to a high technical specification, and incorporating many environmentally friendly innovations, The Point promises to be a leader in its field.
From the traditional elegance of The Palace and The Midland to the ultra-modern meeting rooms of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, close to the bustling bars and nightlife of Deansgate Locks, Manchester offers a huge choice of conference venues and meeting room facilities within hotels.
Celebrating its first birthday last month, the Park Inn Hotel Manchester Victoria by Radisson is proving a popular choice. Perfect for large or small events, the hotel features four modern and flexible meeting rooms with natural daylight. In addition, one large conference room of 202sq m can be divided into three sections and is ideal for conferences, dinner dances and weddings that can seat 220 max theatre style and 180 max banquet style.
The city’s current Large Hotel of the Year, the five-star Radisson Edwardian on Peter Street has 18 fully equipped meeting rooms and one major conference room, catering for up to 550 people. Each room is purposely designed to offer maximum flexibility and state of the art facilities. Everything from fashion shows and exhibitions to dinner dances can be catered for, and with the latest technology we are able to provide restaurant-standard food for 550 people.
The city’s hotel portfolio is forever expanding. There are currently three Holiday Inn Express hotels under construction and the former Princess on Portland hotel is in the middle of a major refurbishment that will see it rebrand as The Princess Hotel.
Out of town
Need space to think? The city-region surrounding Manchester offers a great range of venues set in beautiful countryside – prefect for team building and away days.
If you’re looking for a fly in, fly out meeting, check out one of the many hotels at Manchester Airport. They offer a vast range of meeting rooms and conference spaces – all a short hop from the terminals, so you will be from runway to meeting room in minutes.
For an aviation experience with a difference, try the Concorde Conference Centre at Manchester Airport’s Runway Visitor Park. Located just off the motorway network, adjacent to the busiest airport outside London and with free parking on site, the centre offers you convenience, flexibility, service and the benefit of something quite unique.
The main 1,600 square metre Concorde Hall is a hangar-style ‘Blank Canvas’ space with the flagship Concorde aircraft as the stunning centre piece. This enables it to suit a range of events, from conferences to fashion shows and gala dinners to exhibitions.
Manchester Airport is the global gateway to Northern England. Over 100 airlines offer direct flights to over 210 destinations worldwide, connecting over 22 million passengers to more places than any other airport in the UK.
Most major cities in the UK have direct train services into Manchester. There are four key train stations in Manchester city centre – Deansgate, Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria. Of these, Piccadilly attracts the most visitors and is the main arrival point into the city centre.
Manchester is well connected to the rest of the UK via excellent motorway links. The city’s ring road connects Manchester to motorways north, south, east and west.
Once in Manchester, the Metrolink tram service provides fast and frequent journeys across the city-region. These services complement the free Metroshuttle buses that circle the city centre.
Support services available
Visit Manchester has developed strong working relationships with over 360 partners across the Manchester city-region and provide conference organisers with a single point of contact during the organisation and delivery of their event.
There are two association specialists that act as liaison between the city’s conference community and the national and international association sector.
The services they coordinate include:
- Unbiased venue finding
- Conference venue and accommodation booking
- Advice and booking of conference support services
- Assistance with funding applications
- Bid preparations and site visits
- Providing images and maps and visitor information services
- Conference marketing support
To deliver this they are supported by two new client services assistants and a research & administration assistant.
Manchester facts & figures
- Over 250 outstanding venues, including a world class convention centre complex
- An award-winning airport serving 20 UK and more than 210 world-wide destinations
- Over 19,000 hotel bedrooms with over 5,000 in the city centre, many with their own conference facilities and meeting rooms
- Welcomes more than one million international visitors a year
For more information