ACC Liverpool: The Brit Events Incubator!

“We are in the process of developing a future focused Social Value Strategy which addresses diversity, pandemic recovery and climate action”
29th Nov, 2021

In April, the UK government announced that ACC Liverpool would host a series of pilot events in a science-led research programme, to reopen the MICE and business sectors. Three months later the venue was proud to have set a safe path for British events. What about now?

The Good Business Festival’s launch event, Change Business for Good (photo below), was the first in-person live business event to occur in England without COVID-19 measures in place. From the very beginning, ACC Liverpool joined with other organisations and governing bodies within the events industry to lobby the government for clearer guidance on reopening. “The data gathered will be used to determine how festivals, shows and conferences can take place again with large audiences. It is hoped the pioneering event will help pave the way for a return to more normal activities,” told us Faye Dyer, managing director of the ACC Liverpool Group, operator of ACC Liverpool, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and M&S Bank Arena. Liverpool Public Health officials have found that the city’s pilot events have caused no detectable spread of COVID-19 in the region, which has spurred rapid optimism that events could be reopened shortly thereafter. In fact, from May 17 some larger performances and events in indoor venues with an event capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number) can take place. “Right after the relaxation of rules, we hosted the European Health−Tech Innovation Week, a one-day hybrid conference and exhibition which virtually connected delegates across Europe,” says Dyer. This was followed by the virtual event of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and, later on, the Royal College of Nursing in September. A series of on-site corporate conferences are also in the pipeline.

Reassuring news after some very challenging 14 months for ACC Liverpool: ensuring close contact with customers and rescheduling future events were constant concerns for the waterfront’s venue during the lockdown. “Throughout the crisis, we’ve worked hard to protect and support our talented team of event industry professionals, and took full advantage of all government initiatives including rates relief, furlough and cultural recovery funds,” explained the ACC Liverpool Group’s managing director. The venue also had a chance to host events in December, when government restrictions eased, continuing to trade its products throughout the pandemic and planning for the future. As a trusted, award-winning venue, ACC Liverpool is projecting a return of confidence in the conference market, particularly for corporate organisations, and has bookings from May onwards. “The response to the Good Business Festival proved how the public are keen to get back to attending live events, and we hope this will help to reignite the live events industry.” They are tech-ready too: any of the venue spaces can be converted into a professional hybrid studio, and can also ensure multiple stream sessions with different panels and locations.

Summoning its corporate social responsability, ACC’s priority was to work with Liverpool City Council to support their pandemic response, while trying to mitigate the impact on local communities. “Offering space across both the M&S Bank Arena and the convention centre, we operated as a logistical distribution hub, with thousands of items a week distributed to vulnerable households across Liverpool, including essential food and goods,” says Dyer. Furthermore, the exhibition centre has been deployed for COVID-19 mass testing since November up to date. The campus is relatively new, opening in 2008, built with leading sustainability credentials, and committed to invest in environmental standards. “While CSR and sustainability has always been at the heart of everything we do, we are in the process of developing a future focused Social Value Strategy which addresses local and global challenges like diversity, pandemic recovery and climate action,” concludes Fyer.

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