Insight: Issue 69 (3rd November)
Glasgow be like:
Today we’ve got: all the goings-on from COP26 in Glasgow; the EICC has secured council approval for a new sustainable hotel in Edinburgh; the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget has offered some rare good news to music venues; why the events industry is facing a ‘talent drain’ crisis, and what you can do about it; and a London-based artist has created a launderette/playground entirely out of LEGO bricks (nope, we did not make that up).
COP26: a turning point for humanity?
As we’re sure you’ve noticed (!) – world leaders from more than 170 countries have descended on Glasgow as COP26, the long-awaited United Nations climate change summit, has finally begun.
If you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about – advocates are saying that the potential importance of this event cannot be overstated, with many experts suggesting that time is running out for a whole-world agreement on effective measures to tackle climate change. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has even gone as far as to suggest COP26 will be a ‘turning point for humanity’.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has outlined 10 recommendations in the ‘COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health’, which will be the action points for the summit:
- Commit to a healthy, green, and just recovery from COVID-19.
- Place health and social justice at the heart of the UN climate talks.
- Prioritise those climate interventions with the largest health, social and economic gains.
- Build climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable health systems and facilities, and support health adaptation and resilience across sectors.
- Guide a just and inclusive transition to renewable energy to save lives from air pollution – particularly from coal combustion – end energy poverty in households and health care facilities.
- Promote sustainable, healthy urban design and transport systems, with improved land use, access to green and blue public space, and priority for walking, cycling and public transport.
- Protect and restore natural systems, the foundations for healthy lives, sustainable food systems and livelihoods
- Promote sustainable and resilient food production and more affordable, nutritious diets that deliver on both climate and health.
- Finance a healthier, fairer, and greener future to save lives – transition towards a wellbeing economy.
- Mobilise and support the health community on climate action.
EICC secures approval for sustainable hotel
In rather appropriate timing, the City of Edinburgh Council has finalised plans for the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) to create one of Scotland’s most sustainable hotels. The councillors voted 47 to 9 in favour of the project, which will be funded by M&G Real Estate and delivered by Qmile Group as part of its £350m Haymarket Edinburgh development.
The EICC will open the 350-bedroom four-star hotel in 2024, and it is expected to create over 200 jobs. The project also includes a hotel school and training academy, in partnership with Edinburgh College – providing a pipeline of qualified hospitality professionals for Scotland’s leisure and tourism industry. Good news all round.
Autumn Budget = good news for music venues
As COVID and COP26 continue to dominate the headlines, you may have missed the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget last week. Rishi Sunak announced to the House of Commons that he will introduce a 50% business rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with eligible businesses able to claim a discount on their bills of up to £110k. While the eligibility criteria were not divulged, he did single out music venues as being among those that will benefit.
There were, however, no specific measures offered to events – prompting Simon Richards, Treasurer of the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA), to issue a statement declaring that ‘hard-pressed events businesses need more support’. And they need it yesterday.
Is ‘talent drain’ the event industry’s next crisis?
As the events industry starts to pick itself back up, countless event companies are experiencing an acute shortage of staff, while also struggling to fill vacancies. The truth is, our sector is not very attractive for the time being – with an all-but-inevitable winter wave of coronavirus on the horizon, and the often clumsy approach of the UK government regarding restrictions and support (*ahem* see HBAA statement above).
In the long term, we reckon people with a passion for events are bound to return – there is no better industry than ours…right guys? But in the short term, Event Planner recommends being realistic about difficult-to-fill vacancies. They suggest recruiting more diversely (which offers plenty of advantages anyway) or training up motivated applicants who are lacking in experience. You never know, they might surprise you.
Yinka Ilori creates LEGO ‘launderette’ in London
And something cheerful to round us off – London-based Artist/Designer Yinka Ilori has created a launderette-style playground for the LEGO Group. Located in Shoreditch, east London, the Launderette of Dreams is an immersive space decked out in Ilori’s signature colourful patterns and featuring rows of artificial, gamified washing machines.
Pressing buttons on the machines causes different kinds of playful responses, such as spinning LEGO or dazzling light displays. The whole installation required over 200,000 LEGO bricks to build – transforming the mundane into the magical.