NEC and Ricoh Arena confirm reopening plans

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Two of the West Midlands’ largest conference venues have confirmed they will reopen for events in the autumn.

The move by the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Solihull, and Coventy’s Ricoh Arena follows the Government’s announcement earlier this month that conference venues could welcome delegates back from October 1.

A series of measures are being installed at the two venues to ensure delegates stay safe while in attendance and a further announcement on future operations at the NEC’s sister venue, The ICC in Birmingham city centre, is expected in due course.

Earlier this summer, the NEC was fitted out in just a week to be used as one of the country’s makeshift Nightingale hospitals for the treatment of covid-19 patients but in the end did not accept a single one.

It has since been decommissioned but the NEC team continues to support the NHS by enabling the creation of a smaller, standby facility until March.

The Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards are back for a second year, in partnership with the Ladder for Greater Birmingham. The event will be held online only on Friday November 27, 2020 and will celebrate apprentices, employers and training and education providers.

The awards are free and easy to enter via our online form which can be found here along with those all-important T&Cs. The deadline for entries is Friday September 18.

If you have any questions about entering or the awards in general, please email tamlyn.jones@reachplc.com and contact andrew.robinson01@reachplc.com or nikki.kandola@reachplc.com if you would like to learn more about becoming a commercial partner of the awards.

For more information visit our events website here and please follow the hashtag #BAA20 for updates on social media.

The business conference sector is worth around £32 billion to the UK economy each year and represented a quarter of the 38 million international visits to the UK in 2018, according to the Government.

Ian Taylor, acting managing director for conventions and exhibitions with NEC Group, said: “We are pleased the Government has announced an open date for our industry.

“This is the news we’ve all been waiting for and is the first step on the path towards recovery.

“The NEC will be open for business on October 1 and we look forward to once again hosting great live events at our venue.

“The protection and safety of our visitors and staff will always be our primary focus and we will ensure all appropriate measures are in place, ready for the return to event activity.

“We know that it’s vital to build confidence in live events in the months ahead and these safety measures will provide great reassurance for all of our customers.”

Stephen Vaughan, chief executive of Wasps Group which owns the Ricoh Arena, added: “A huge amount of hard work has been going on behind the scenes so that, once the government did announce a reopening date for the events industry, we were ready to hit the ground running.

“The safety of our visitors and staff is of paramount importance to us and we understand the Government’s approach to easing the lockdown.

“We are looking forward to re-opening and will continue working closely with various event organisers and their suppliers to prepare for the return of their events.

“Ricoh Arena prides itself on the adaptability of both its facilities and events team and we are all ready to rise to the challenge of helping the events sector to get back on its feet so it can do what it does best – helping industries to connect, debate and do business.”


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