London’s Business Design Centre opens it’s doors this week as a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination facility, led by the University College London Hospitals. The Islington-based venue is expected to remain a vaccination centre until the end of Spring, with the possibility to extend.
However, the venue has said that this will not impact its plans to reopen for events and reports a full calendar in Q4, having some calls for events around summer. Business Design Centre, based in the heart of the London Borough of Islington, normally plays host to around two hundred and fifty events each year, welcoming almost one million visitors through its doors. The multi-purpose venue is also home to over one hundred businesses which occupy showroom and office spaces on a permanent basis. The large exhibition hall has been converted into a vaccination centre, with private booths where people are consented and then vaccinated. The bright and welcoming space makes social distancing easy, with volunteers and staff on hand to help guide people through the process.
UCLH director of strategy Laura Churchward thanks the Business Design Centre for its support and encouraged everyone who is invited to have a vaccine to take it up. “Being vaccinated is the best protection against coronavirus,” she said.
The venue’s occupation as the vaccination centre isn’t the first time that the building has been used for the UK’s benefit, with the Government’s requisition of the then Royal Agricultural Hall for use throughout the Second World War. The building rehomed the Inland and Foreign Parcels Department from the Mount Pleasant Post Office where parts of it remained until after the war.
Business Design Centre’s chief executive, Dominic Jones, said: “We were absolutely delighted that our offer to donate venue space at the Business Design Centre was welcomed by the government and NHS. Playing our part in the national effort to support the vaccination programme is of vital importance in the country’s recovery and that we can lend our expertise in facilitating this was similarly received by our team and clients alike,” he said. “We look forward to welcoming those attending for their vaccinations in the coming months and to continuing to support the great work that the NHS staff and their volunteers are doing at this time, which brings us closer to reopening businesses and to what we love most, holding events that bring people together.”
Councillor Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said the opening of another vaccination facility in Islington was a “huge boost” to the efforts of the National Health Service. “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our families and our community. The size and location of the Business Design Centre makes it an ideal venue for this vital, large-scale vaccination programme, which offers us all the best possible chance to get back to a more normal way of life,” he said.
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