Be part of the pollution solution: Five alternatives to single-use plastics for your next event

Next year BeaconHouse Events will celebrate our 10th year in business and our vision has always been to drive positive, lasting impact with every event we do, whether that be a conference, exhibition, awards ceremony or festival; and with the prediction that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, it’s time to tackle the issue head on. We recognise that the event industry has a major impact on our planet and we take our role in that seriously. We don’t want to make grand statements and big promises, but we are committed to working with our team, our suppliers and our clients to make consistent, considered changes as a carbon responsible business. This includes taking a close look at how we can significantly reduce, commit to reuse and make it easier to recycle any single-use plastics at our events.

From 1 October 2023 businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer certain single-use plastic items in England, this includes the sale of plastic cutlery, balloon sticks and polystyrene cups. So, what are the alternatives that will allow you to give your delegates a great experience?


Lanyards are usually the first thing you see when you enter an event, but traditional lanyards are made from plastic materials that will take hundreds of years to decompose. Not the kind of legacy you want your event to have! Luckily there are plenty of eco-friendly, affordable options on the market now, including lanyards made of bamboo or recycled fabrics, which achieve the same effect. Where possible to avoid date specific branding and you can use your lanyard again and again (it’s more cost effective too!) – and avoid the plastic wallet and print your badge info on recycled card.

Plastic bottles and cups

According to a 2022 study by Zero Waste Scotland, if reusable cups replaced single-use plastic cups, carbon emissions could fall by 69%. In UK terms, a switch from disposable cups to reusable cups could save 52,000 t CO2e each year! Most people have a cupboard full of reusable water bottles at home that they use for the gym, their commute or for the office. Communicate with your delegates in advance, explain your environmental commitments and encourage them to bring their own reusable water bottles or hot drink cups along on the day, avoiding the dreaded piles of single-use water bottles making their way to landfill when the event is over. You could even offer an incentive on the day for anyone who remembers to bring theirs along.


You want to put your own stamp on your venue and curate a space that your delegates enjoy being in and want to share. There can be the temptation to invest in photo-ops like balloon walls, but with a bit of creativity you can create something striking that your guests will really remember. Plants are great for mindfulness so in place of balloons (that can take around 450 years to decompose!), consider hiring something that can be reused, fresh foliage or a living wall to bring your space to life instead.

Cutlery and plates

People always remember which events have a good spread, and now they might also remember how it was served too. Knives, forks and spoons made from birchwood are a sustainable alternative for plastic cutlery, the tree grows fast and because it is naturally smooth there are no worries about splinters. There are even edible options on the market made from Jowar flour; they decompose very quickly, especially when you add water to them or the other, more fun option, is to eat them. Replace your plastic plates with more biodegradable options like bamboo or even corn starch; these alternatives are just as durable as plastic and can look a lot more aesthetically pleasing too.

Plastic bags

There is often a lot to carry at an event, festival or conference and giving out handy carrier bags can make a delegate’s life much easier; but did you know that less that 1% of the 5 trillion plastic bags we use worldwide each year are recycled? Tote bags on the other hand are washable, reusable and can be made from recycled materials (and who doesn’t love a practical tote bag when they are nipping to the shops). Should it be a single day event, perhaps a branded paper shopper could be the better fit, and easily recycled by attendees afterwards. If you are giving out merch at your event, why not avoid the usual plastic waste and opt for wooden USB sticks, postcard seed sticks or bamboo notepads instead.

Our ESG strategy is based around key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as the Global Goals, which look to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. We particularly wanted to focus the strategy on areas where we could make meaningful change as a team, including Climate Action, Responsible Consumption and Production, Quality Education and Good Health and Wellbeing; all areas where we can strive to have an authentic and last impact both in the North East and across the events sector as a whole.

To find out more about how we can help you to work towards your sustainability goals or to understand more about how we are making changes as a business contact

Are corporate meat-ings a thing of the past?

As an office of foodies, we know that the catering options are a corner stone of any event, but the amount of meat consumed was having a major impact on how sustainable our events could be. So we got our heads together and came up with a simple solution – what would happen if you had to opt-in for a meat option, rather than opt out?

BeaconHouse Events co-founded the TechNExt Festival, delivered in partnership with Dynamo North East and Sunderland Software City, and the week-long event took place in June 2023. As part of the event the team created the ‘Good Festival Ambition’ in order to curate an experience that put quality, inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and sustainability front of mind. As part of this ambition, the catering throughout the week was designed to reduce our carbon emissions by encouraging people to make conscious choices about what they were consuming. That meant that all buffet options at the Main Stage event and Festival Party were meat-free and the menu for the 120 guests at the conference dinner was vegetarian by default, with delegates having to request the meat option if that was their preference. The result was 55% of the attendees at the dinner choosing the meat-free options, as opposed to the average of only 10% that we would see at a usual event, greatly reducing our carbon footprint across the week.

The climate impact of meat is enormous – roughly equivalent to all the driving and flying of every car, truck and plane in the world and when forests are destroyed to produce industrial meat, billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. This one simple change allowed us to do better for our planet during the week-long festival while still providing a delicious dinner for the guests to enjoy.

Under 5% of people in the UK are vegetarian but there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of people attempting to cut down on the amount of meat that they consume, either for health or environmental reasons. That means that as an industry we have to adapt. And the issue is coming into mainstream consciousness more and more, over the last year we have seen the news that Oxford Council have banned meat from their menus at corporate events, with Cambridge, Exeter and Norwich Councils following suit and Cambridge University Darwin’s College served a fully vegan menu for their ball this June.

But the key to creating impact isn’t simply switching to a veggie or vegan menu, the trick is to communicate the importance of why. Going meat-free was just one element of our ‘Good Festival’ ambition and ‘for good’ was a core value that ran through everything throughout the week. That meant a focus on quality, inclusivity, diversity, accessibility, and sustainability, all of which we communicated the impact of to our delegates in the lead up to the festival.

It is our job as a responsible employer and business to forge the path of what is possible and to collaborate with other organisations, both in and outside of the event sector, to learn from, and inspire, each other. We are seeing an increased demand for environmental reporting from our clients and are proud to be early adopters of TRACE, a digital carbon measurement platform to help the event industry reach Net Zero. TRACE helps us to gather data on our carbon impact at each event, which in turn gives us the ability to work with clients to benchmark and track success alongside their ESG strategy.

This small step is part of our wider goal to reduce our carbon emissions by 5% year on year, with the key ambition to become and remain a carbon responsible business, looking at carbon neutrality, alongside supply chain engagement, research into sustainably sourcing materials, digital solutions to limit single-use print and staff training to upskill the team on the future of events both in-person and online

There is still relatively low adoption for sustainable change across the sector, but with consistent and considered steps we can make real change together. To speak to one of our team about how you can put sustainability at the centre of your next event call on 0191 691 3456 or email

Aint No Mountain High Enough…meet Project Coordinator Rebekah

Her keen eye for detail and ability to sniff out the next biggest trend means that she is always first with recommendations for the latest office must-trys and keen to come up with fresh, relevant ideas to keep our events ahead of the game.

A keen hiker, Rebekah finds peace and creativity in the great outdoors; so we grabbed a flask and pulled up a camping chair to find out how she scaled her career ladder, what most surprised her most about joining the industry and who her dream client would be (spoiler: we’re going to need our wellies for this one).

Our team has a varied career background – what did your career look like before you joined us?

I studied Surface Design for Fashion and Interiors at the University of Huddersfield and then went on to a Masters in Fashion Textile Practice. My Surface Design degree had a real focus on the whole process, from a creative idea to seeing a product in store, including everything from visual research, material exploration, business management and an understanding of final production – I loved the research and discovering what was shaping our collective consciousness, which led me to work as a Freelance Print Designer for Acorn Conceptual Textiles, a highly successful Textile Design Studio, and an internship with Joanna Feeley and the team at TrendBible. After my internship I stayed at TrendBible for almost 6 years, working my way up to Trend Consultant, where I predominately worked across Homes and Interiors and the Baby & Kids markets, working with clients across the globe. I love seeing a project come together from first concept to finished product and it came to the point in my career when I was ready for a new and exciting challenge, which is when I found my role at BeaconHouse Events.

What first drew you to a career in event management?

When I thought it was time for the next step I started to think about my skills and where I could apply them, and I kept coming back to 3 main things – detail orientated, super organised, and personable– three key skills I would say every event planner needs! Outside of work, I’m the planner in my friendship group, I love to plan trips, seek out the news hotspots for cafes, restaurants and design hubs and I love to see people having a good time. I thought that if I could be a part of creating experiences that make people feel happy, empowered, inspired, and catered for then that would be a good day at work for me.

I also thrive in busyness, thinking on your feet and meeting new people. The fast-paced nature of working in events really excited me, I love being hands on and getting stuck in so the onsite days are something I knew I would really enjoy. From my experience of attending events, whether that’s been a conference / tradeshow for work or a festival, I really felt the power they have to bring people together and a fun way to drive positive change. Events are a great way of getting people together to do some good and I wanted to be part of that.

What skills do you think you need to be a great project coordinator?

You have to be highly organised, have excellent attention to detail and the ability to time manage effectively and multi-task as there are always a lot of different project plates spinning and the odd curve-ball to content with. Events are often a time of high pressure for our clients and one of the key skills has to be strong communication along with the ability to shape and maintain robust relationships built on trust and transparency.

Tell me what a typical day looks like for you

At the moment I am still finding my feet in the business, but I’m so pleased to already be working across a wide range of events and clients. My day-to-day is mostly juggling lots of different tasks, which makes every day different! This could include communicating with vendors, booking travel, report writing, researching into venues or activities, website content, managing supplier and client relationships, client calls, site visits, or a really yummy one and my personal favourite, food tasting. I’m also very proud to be a part of the BeaconHouse marketing and sustainability teams so my internal role consists of supporting and contributing to our planning meetings, helping with strategies and tasks to grow and drive change from within the business.

BeaconHouse offers the opportunity to get involved in ‘Wellbeing Days’, where we can volunteer with causes we care about, and I’m looking forward to getting involved with giving back. The events sector has a reputation for being high-pressure and I’m passionate about starting positive conversations about mental health; I would love to volunteer and offer support to some of the local organisations doing fantastic work in this area and I have plans to become a mental-health first-aider in the future.

What surprised you most when you joined the events sector?

What surprised me the most was how much of the role is office based! A lot of what people associate event planning with is being present at parties or conferences or being out and about meeting venues, but actually that is just the end result of months of hard work behind the scenes.

Seeing months of hard work finally come to life in a really visual way is definitely one of the things that I find most rewarding about the job – and getting to be a part of that experience is even better.

Where can we find you outside of the office?

I love being outside so you can usually find me exploring the North East countryside with my cockapoo Olly. We are incredibly lucky to have so much natural beauty in the region and I love seeking out spaces that are untouched, have good views and where you can hear a pin drop. To me there’s no better feeling of climbing a mountain, no matter how tough it was and seeing the view at the top – just like planning an event really!

What would be a dream client to work with?

It would have to be the National Trust. It would be a dream to create an event that helps to protect our natural environments and to educate people of the benefits of nature for our physical and mental health would be very rewarding. It could include a sponsored walk, talks from organisations and charities such as Mind, Mind over Mountains, or Adventure Therapy and it would have to take place in a gorgeous, natural outdoor setting – though we would have to have a good think about how we got a good wifi connection…

Five things people will actually remember from your 2023 events

Your event is an experience, and whether you are planning an awards ceremony, a festival or a conference, you want people to remember your event for all the right reasons. Everyone wants to be ahead of the curve and while A.I. and digital technology can add extra dimensions to an event, those big flashy moments don’t always add as much value as focusing on the everyday details. Research shows that people actually prefer personalised experiences at events, which means they want to feel like you have thought about what THEY need or want from the experience, not just picked an off the shelf generic solution, however fancy that might be.

We spoke to our team here at BeaconHouse Events to find out from their experience what makes an event to remember…


1. Things to discover People love being the first to discover something new, so surprise and delight your delegates with little touches that will make them smile. This could be regionalised or themed wording on signage, places to relax, selfie stands and photo points or pop-up entertainment as they move around the venue. Not only will your delegates remember these moments, it also gives people something to talk about and share on social media after the event is all wrapped up.


2. Service with a smile Events take a lot of planning but if the staff on the ground are tired, stressed or aloof, it will undo all of your hard work. Try and provide as much information as possible in advance but have attentive, visible team members throughout the event space to answer specific queries or help out with any issues that might need solving. Encourage staff to make an effort to remember names, offer extra information that might be useful and enjoy the experience. Customer focused staff who go above and beyond, who are friendly and proactive are going to make everyone’s experience more enjoyable and leave delegates feeling positive towards you and your brand.


3. Feeling like a local If you are welcoming delegates from out of town they might not have a lot of time to explore the local area or find the best places to visit. Always put someone with local knowledge at the registration desk, armed with information on great places to eat nearby (not just your local golden arches), things to do in downtime (like free walking tours), local gyms, art gallery opening times or day trips. Help your delegates make sustainable choices as much as possible when they are travelling to and from the space, send out public transport routes, e-transport information or car sharing options for people that aren’t familiar with the area.


 4. Not having to ask Keep in mind that there will be a mix of people with different preferences or requirements at your event, so make sure alternative options like vegan food or non-alcoholic drinks are not only available but visible. If someone has to ask for an alternative it can make them feel out of place, and they are going to remember how they felt in that moment over any free gift or fancy venue. When it comes to catering we always try to make sure that everyone feels included and can enjoy the same experience, there’s nothing worse than a soggy salad when everyone else is enjoying a hearty meal. Take into account any religious or cultural accommodations and communicate them clearly, this could include halal food options, spaces for prayer or catering timings during Ramadan.


5. Making connections Meeting interesting people and having great conversations is one of the best and most memorable things about bringing people together. Build in moments where people can organically connect outside of formal networking sessions and create spaces that encourage informal conversations – sometimes that is where the best ideas flow! Plan personalised socials and networking based on how individuals like to spend their time so there is the chance to meet people with similar interests and get value from the more relaxed sides of the event too. Not all socials have to involve drinking, things like yoga, city runs, historical tours or craft sessions are a bit different, fun and definitely memorable!

To speak to our team about your 2023/24 business goals and how events can form part of your strategy, give us a call on 0191 691 3456 or email

Earth Day: Our four year ESG strategy

Our strategy aims to deliver considered, achievable actions, help us to reach responsible carbon neutrality and drive sector-wide change from inside our organisation.

This strategy is incredibly important to us as a business and is the product of over a year of research, team consultation and expert guidance. It outlines our key commitments to the environment, people, governance and financial resilience. These plans include steps to reduce our carbon emissions by 5% year on year, with the aim to be a carbon neutral business by the end of 2027, alongside supply chain engagement, research into sustainably sourcing materials, digital solutions to limit single-use print and staff training to upskill the team on the future of events both in-person and online. Alongside this we have a commitment to educate and empower the next generation of North East talent, supporting local charities and initiatives and giving our talented team opportunities to sign-up to support education initiatives, including Girls Network and founders4schools as well as supporting individual young people to thrive in the sector through mentoring schemes.

This launch of our strategy also coincides with the exciting news that we have been awarded the Standard Good Work Pledge by North of Tyne Combined Authority. This award recognises our efforts to be fair employer, our commitment to staff health and wellbeing and our demonstration of social responsibility in the region.

Explaining why we have launched our strategy now, and what it means for the business and the sector, our co-founder and director Sarah Thackray said, “Since forming in 2014 our vision has always been to drive positive, lasting impact with every event we do, whether that be a conference, exhibition, awards ceremony or festival, and now is the right time to also focus those efforts internally and look at how we can make lasting change from within the business.

“We recognise that the event industry has a major impact on our planet and by doing our part we can lead the way in making sustainable change in the sector. It is our job as a responsible employer and business to forge the path of what is possible and to collaborate with other organisations to learn from, and inspire, each other. We don’t want to make grand statements and big promises, we are committed to working with our team, our suppliers and our clients to make consistent, considered changes which will move us closer towards our goal of being carbon neutral within the next five years. We are proud to be early adopters of TRACE, a digital carbon measurement platform to help the event industry reach Net Zero. TRACE helps us to gather data on our carbon impact at each event, which in turn gives us the ability to work with clients to benchmark and track success alongside their ESG strategy.

“The inclusion of financial resilience was important to us as a team, without a robust business model you simply don’t have the capacity, skills or resource to invest back into the wider community. Everything that we have planned works in tandem with our growth plans for the coming years and allows us to support our clients to achieve both their business ambitions, while supporting them to reach their own ESG goals too.”

Over the past year we have been working closely with innovation sustainability manager Katrina Appleyard to develop an ESG strategy which will form a key pillar of both our internal and external delivery from 2023-2027.

Discussing our work together Katrina, innovation manager for sustainability at Dynamo North East said, “BeaconHouse Events are taking responsibility for their own organisational impact before they are under any legislative pressure to do so which is incredibly refreshing to see. As part of our work together I carried out a lot of research into how the events sector is approaching sustainability globally, and while there are a lot of organisations looking at how they can produce green events, there is nothing being said about what it means to look internally and be a responsible events company from the inside out. While BeaconHouse were already behaving in a way that was socially conscious, this strategy has helped them to pin down what this looks like and make it much more explicit when it comes to achievable actions.

“The fact that BeaconHouse Events are even considering what they can control, and how they can make positive change from within the business, automatically makes them leaders in their field. The events industry is in a unique position in that they are built to bring people together and address societal issues, however that often has a direct impact on the environment when you consider things like travel or single-use materials, so there is a lot of learning to do within the sector on how to address this juxtaposition.

“This won’t be a linear journey for any organisation and there will be a lot of learning along the way. A big part of this process will be trying different approaches to see what works, and educating both clients and peers within the industry along the way, collaboration really is at the heart of it. What is inspiring to me about the work this commitment from BeaconHouse is that they are striving for social change and business habit change which is much bigger than simply looking at the impact of their events in silo.”

Sarah continued, “We have worked closely with Katrina on this strategy and her comprehensive guidance and expertise has been invaluable as we shaped our vision and goals.”

Our ESG strategy is based around key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as the Global Goals, which look to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. We particularly wanted to focus the strategy on areas where we could make meaningful change as a team, including Climate Action, Responsible Consumption and Production, Quality Education and Good Health and Wellbeing; all areas where we can strive to have an authentic and last impact both in the North East and across the events sector as a whole.

To find out more about how we can help you to work towards your sustainability goals or to understand more about how we are making changes as a business contact

Hot off the stress: Top tips to reduce stress and burnout

Stress is a major problem for our sector, and knowing how to manage it can improve mental and physical well-being as well as minimise health-related issues brought on by life in what can be a stressful sector. Here at BeaconHouse Events we’re committed to giving our team the knowledge to understand what stress looks like in our colleagues, as well as the space and tools to preempt a situation or tackle it head on.

This Stress Awareness Month we sat down with the team to learn their top tips coping under pressure and how they juggle busy client portfolios while keeping themselves healthy and effective…


Go outdoors Build time into your diary to get outside and into the fresh hair – it really can blow away the cobwebs and help you approach a problem from another point of view. This can be anything from a walk around the block between meetings, eating lunch outside on a sunny day or something more extreme like sea-swimming or planning a hike on a weekend. It’s not just a nice thing to do either, studies show that being in nature lowers your stress-hormone cortisol and decreases your heart rate!


It’s good to talk Make time to spend time with your direct reports or team leaders for a weekly check-in to plan tasks and prioritise workload. These sessions are great for getting another point of view on a problem or to ask for support if you need it. Spending time discussing a problem one-on-one can help to manage expectations and allow you to plan your workload accordingly. Find the people that energise you, both in and outside of work, and if something is on your mind make sure you share it with a colleague, friend or family member, a problem shared really is a problem halved!


Get enough ZZZs Sleep can be elusive when you’re counting tasks instead of sheep, but a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to avoid feelings of stress. Research has even shown that people who sleep better feel less negative emotions and are able to be more resilient in the face of a stressful event, and recover faster. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, try to keep to a regular nighttime pattern, keep your bedroom cool and quiet and avoid working, looking at your phone or watching TV right before you fall asleep.


Take time out to do something you enjoy Plan in time to do things that you enjoy and stick to it, that can be anything from reading a good book to watching your favourite TV show and spending time with friends. Taking moments to allow your brain to turn off will let you approach your task-list feeling refreshed and with renewed vigor. Try a ‘self-care’ day once a month where you totally switch off.


Fail to plan, plan to fail Build in a point at the end of the day to clear your inbox or at least make a note of the bigger tasks you need to tackle the next day or after the weekend. Ending the day with a good plan of what you need to achieve next means that you can end the day feeling confident that nothing has been missed and leaves you able to fully switch off. Be intentional about planning your time, or try time blocking in your diary, and be present in the task you are doing with no distractions to make the most of the time you have put aside for it. If there is a job that you are worried about, try to get it out of the way early so it is not hanging over you for the whole day.


Be present At BeaconHouse Events everyone has each other’s back, including our clients. Really be aware of the people around you and offer support if you see someone is struggling or not acting like themselves. Take time out to ask a colleague if they want a coffee or to take a walk, it can really turn someone’s day around! Knowing that you have a support system around you and a culture of trust is a huge benefit when there is a curveball to content with.


Look after your health Looking after your physical health can have an enormous impact on your mental wellbeing. The BeaconHouse team do a whole range of things to keep our bodies and minds in top condition, including gym memberships, midweek football, running, long dog walks, netball, zen-days and outdoor swimming!


Find your groove Get your favourite song on in the car, in the shower, on your headphones – anywhere at all – and sing along as loud as you can. We love everything from noughties indie rock to 90s trance in the team but it’s less about what you listen to and more about how it makes you feel!

If you are interested in joining the team, we would love to hear from you. Visit to view our current vacancies.

*World Scholarship Vault

Law, order and cold-water swimming…meet Sophie

After considering a career in law, Sophie met BeaconHouse Events co-founders Sarah and Catherine during her university year in industry, where she really got a taste for events and realised that this was the sector where her skills and passion lay. She joined the team 2017 and is a now a Senior Events Manager using her experience and people engagement skills to lead large, high-impact events for clients across a wide range of sectors.

We grabbed a coffee and sat down with Sophie to talk about what she does why she loves working in corporate events, what a typical week looks like for her and the virtues of cold water swimming…

What made you first consider a career in event management?

When I first started looking for university placements, I was looking at the different aspects of marketing and engagement and while a lot of those looked really interesting, I started to think about what I enjoy doing outside of work – and naturally I’m a planner! In my friendship group I’ve always been the one that enjoys organising the trips or the birthday parties – I’m pretty detail oriented and love an agenda or organised fun, so it was a fairly natural fit once I understood what would be involved if I did this full-time as a career.


Did you know a lot about the industry before you started in the industry?

Not at all. My first role was at another events agency, ‘Benchmark Communications’ whilst I was studying and the kinds of events that we were working on there were big scale, with thousands of attendees from sectors like academia and healthcare. It was a total crash course – new vocabulary including ‘delegates’ and ‘plenary’, it was all totally new and I enjoyed soaking up every minute.


What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I always wanted to be a barrister, even throughout secondary school that was always the path I was going to take. I was even part of a mock-law team where we would debate cases and observe real trials in court – I loved it. Then, when I was looking at options for university there was a lot of talk in the media about there being too many people applying for law school and speculation about what the job prospects looked like for people coming out of a law degree with so much competition. My favourite topics at A Level were Business Studies and Economics, so after that I started to look at other avenues where I could continue learning about those subjects and potentially do law conversion later which is how I ended up gaining my degree in Marketing and Business Studies and never looked back.


What skills do you think attracted you to law, that you now bring to event management?

Definitely that eye for detail is important but I think more than that, it is about being a critical listener with clients, and the rest of your team; to really understand what problem they are trying to solve and what they are trying to achieve. Having a cool head under pressure is definitely a bonus too, you have to be pretty unflappable to work in the events industry!


What does a typical week look like for you?

A lot of my clients are tech focused which is a really interesting and fast moving sector to be part of. Currently I’m working on the DIBI Conference up in Edinburgh which is a gathering of UX professionals and tech creatives, as well as working with Opencast on their internal events programme which is a large, ongoing project. My week is usually split between client work, strategy meetings and 1-2-1s with the team on their development; it usually comes as a surprise to people that 90% of our time is spent at a desk. It’s  the 10% that you spend onsite delivering an event that is usually the most seen, but most of our role is about strategy, research and planning, all before we ever set foot in an event space.

I tend to work with clients who are all pretty different from each other, and the types of events we are planning with them are diverse, but what keeps it really interesting is that they are all at a different part of their lifecycle. That means in a single week I can be working with clients on initial scoping for a project, while other clients are in that middle development stage or in full delivery and evaluation mode.


How do you like to work with clients?

I like to think of us an extension of our client’s team, we really get to know their business and work with everyone from people and experience teams through to internal communications leads to do everything logistics wise, but also being a sounding board for ideas and sparking creativity about what is possible. We take on a really collaborative approach, it’s a great feeling to be welcomed into so many fantastic teams in the region and across the wider UK to understand the amazing work they are doing.


What do you enjoy about mentoring the next generation of talent in the industry?

It is incredibly rewarding to see the next cohort of talent come into BeaconHouse Events and into the industry. As a team we have a real spread of experience – we have always found that there are people with such great talent out there with perfectly transferable skills for events, seeing that talent and drive come out is incredibly rewarding. Events is a great career to learn on the job and it is so fulfilling to see people as they grow in confidence and thrive.


What do you think surprises people about your role? 

I spent seven years with ASM Global – the company behind the new Sage complex, Utilita Arena and Playhouse Whitley Bay – whilst there I very much worked on those conventional experiences that people tend think of when you talk about event planning, things like Disney on Ice or a major ballet production. The corporate side of things does tend to get forgotten a little bit.

What is surprising to people is how much cross-over there is between those big consumer events and what we deliver for our current clients. By looking at how we design events to learn from those consumer experiences, we can help people to connect in a more authentic way, to adopt new innovative ways of learning and to make memories that they want to talk about and share. We want people to be engaged with the content we are producing and are always looking to learn and adapt the format of events to make them really enjoyable for the people attending. With the emergence of digital and hybrid events making the competition much higher for people’s attention, there needs to be a real pull to get delegates to attend your event over another.


What has been your career highlight so far?

I can’t choose one event to be my favourite, because I like them all for different reasons, but when I look at the range of events that I’ve been lucky enough to work on that makes me feel very proud. We’ve had everyone from a Prime Minister at an event to Deborah Meadon from Dragon’s Den and I’ve delivered experiences for tens of thousands of people. When you look back at the accumulation of all of those together it is pretty amazing.


Outside of work what can we find you doing?

Other than enjoying the Newcastle’s foodie venues, I love being outdoors and making the most of the North East coastline. Last summer myself and Katie, another event manager here, took up sea swimming so we try and go once a week now, even in the winter! Sometimes we do ten minutes…sometimes longer, depending on how cold it is but it is completely addictive and I really miss it when we have to skip it for whatever reason. We go on a Monday lunch-time and it totally sets you up for the week – you end up with endorphins for the whole day afterwards.


And finally, what would your dream event be to work on?

I’m obsessed with skincare (my one piece of advice would be to wear SPF every day and no-one is listening to me in the office!) so it would have to be a huge expo type event with expert speakers, what is new in active ingredients, little villages of people exhibiting the latest products, French pharmacy style pop-ups, the works.

If you are interested in joining Sophie in a career in events, we would love to hear from you. Visit to view our current vacancies.

How events can boost team morale in 2023

According to new research, 42% of businesses are feeling the impact of low employee morale* and according to analytics company Gallup, 57% of UK employees are ‘not engaged’ at work, with over a quarter saying that they are ‘actively disengaged’ with the organisation that they work for.

Team morale can have a huge impact on your productivity, efficiency, retention and workplace wellbeing and with remote working and hybrid teams, it can be hard to know how your team is feeling and what they need. ‘Morale’ isn’t just a buzzword in 2023, when times get tough, a highly engaged team will pull your business through, and in times of skills shortages and high staff turnover, your people are your most important champions.

According to Dynamic Signal, 63% of employees cite poor communication as a reason why they would leave a role and 53% don’t think their company communicates with them in a way that would lead them to become an advocate. Hosting events such as internal staff conferences, celebrations or annual meetings are a proven way to open up channels of communication, spark meaningful conversations and reconnect with team members who may be feeling out in the cold. Events like this are a way to demonstrate your values in action, and most importantly come together as a team in a fun, positive way outside of the day to day.

Remember that it’s important to go into your event with a clear purpose and vision of what you want to achieve, so every aspect of your event can be designed to help you engage and motivate your team in a meaningful way.

So, how can an event give that much needed boost to your team, and create a happy, healthy and high-performing team?


1 Communication

When teams are busy or spread across multiple locations, it can be tricky to keep everyone updated on success stories, growth and future plans. Emails or even video updates can get lost in to-do lists and busy diaries, but hosting a quarterly or annual update event means that you can really make your people feel part of something bigger and be on hand to answer any questions about what the information means in practice. In larger organisations this might be one of the few opportunities for all teams to have face-to-face time with senior leadership, opening up channels of communication across the organisation.


2 Real connection

The pandemic, the rise of digital meetings, social media and busy home lives all contribute to many craving some human interaction. No one here is arguing that there aren’t benefits to video calls, but for many it’s more difficult to be creative in a silo and far easier to be distracted by your inbox when you’re attending an online meeting. Meeting in person and enjoying shared experiences make it much more likely to build lasting relationships with colleagues which in turn will increase staff morale and reduce staff turnover (according to research by Gallup, when 60% of employees in a company have a work friend, safety incidents decreased by 36%, customer engagement increased by 7%, and profits increased by 12%)! Not only that, IRL conversations are proven to be more productive, with team members able to collaboratively brainstorm much more effectively in person than online, giving you a platform to tackle those big conversations together.


3 Recognition

Events and celebrations are a great way of saying thank you to your team and showing that you recognise all of their achievements. A simple ‘thank you’ is one of the best ways to increase staff engagement and boost morale and getting everyone away from their ‘day-to-day’ to enjoy an experience together is a meaningful way to show that you care. You could include awards (serious or silly categories!) as part of the day to give an extra thank you to the people who have really gone above and beyond. By recognising success you have a tangible way of celebrating your values in action, making it much easier for people to put them into practice when they are back in the work place, which in turn makes for a much happier atmosphere.


4 Create ambassadors

If people are proud of where they work, they want to share it with their friends and family. A morale boosting event – whether that is an awards dinner or a full team away day gives your people something to talk about with their community outside of the organisation. Creating moments that people want to share on their social media channels will not only boost morale but it increases the opportunity to attract new talent to your organisation when they see the additional benefits and learning opportunities that you offer your team.


5 Re-energise and inspire

Give your team space to step away from the day-to-day, learn new things, get inspired and have some fun. You will be increasing essential endorphins, boosting morale and giving team members something more than a transactional experience – you’re making them part of an experience. Find a cool venue, book an inspirational speaker or create an environment where teams that wouldn’t normally interact, learn from each other and most importantly, have fun together. A professional events team can work with you to hand pick the best speakers to re-energise your people, and they don’t just have to be talking about your sector, the best speakers allow you to look at things from a different perspective and give your team something to think about, and talk about, long after the event is over.

For more information on morale boosting events or to speak to the team about how to engage your team in 2023 email or call +44 (0)191 691 3456



Creating an event to empower businesses to grow through doing good

The event, which will be held on Tuesday 23 May at INNSiDE by Meliá Newcastle, will bring together North of Tyne and wider North East businesses community to discuss how growth can be fueled by doing good and share best practice, linked to the Good Work Pledge project which already has almost 100 businesses signed up to be part of the scheme (including ourselves).

Good to Grow is a free, face-to-face, offline seminar which will see over 150 delegates from the North East business community coming together to discuss the importance of sustainable, ‘good’ growth and the challenges and opportunities that it gives businesses in the region. Guests will be joined by keynote speaker, writer, film-maker and doer Big Ian Donaghy, alongside an address from North of Tyne Combined Authority and speakers from regional businesses discussing the impact they have achieved and how they have approached good work practices.

Driving the growth and resilience of North East business is a topic that is close to our hearts here at BeaconHouse Events and we are working towards our application to be a Good Work Place Employer, so were honoured to be selected to support the team at the NECA to bring this event to life.

We spoke to Caroline Preston, who leads the Good Work Pledge project for the North of Tyne Combined Authority, on why this event is so important to the North East in 2023 and how working with BeaconHouse Events has taken it to the next level.

Caroline said: “The work place has changed and sustainable growth now needs to be a top agenda item. This event is a way for businesses to discuss how we can pull together as a community and encourage good practice as a means to grow, retain staff and attract the next generation of talent to our North East businesses.

“The North East currently has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK at 38% and 75% of families that fall within that figure have at least one person working. We need to act now as a business community to make work better for everyone. We have an amazing spirit here in the North East and many businesses are working hard to make sure their employees are happy, healthy, and well rewarded but we need to do more. Poor employment can have a really detrimental effect on our communities, these jobs are low paid, often unreliable  and offer zero or minimal additional benefits. Worse still these low paid jobs are often done by the very people who keep us supplied with food, who look after our loved ones and keep us moving.

“While there are many factors that affect this, businesses do have a part to play when to comes to offering opportunities to progress, flexible working so families can juggle childcare or other responsibilities, promoting health and wellbeing and proving security for their people wherever possible.

“A lot of our sectors are still suffering from a skills shortage, and this is a proactive and actionable way of addressing this as a region. Research shows that when businesses invest in their people, employees are more loyal and perform better in their roles, giving you space and resource to grow your business in a sustainable way.

“It’s customers too that are looking for something more these days, as are the next generation that are entering the workforce. They actively want to support companies who are supporting the people who live and work in the region and businesses can no longer ignore this. There are already businesses doing amazing things here in the North East and this event will be a catalyst for new conversations and connections to help everyone learn from each other in a really practical and inspirational way. We’ve always come together as a region in the past, and it is time to do it again, let’s aim a little higher, harness the skills in our network and get this moving.”

“We wanted this event to inspire and motivate people to make change within their organisations, and we chose to work with BeaconHouse Events to really make sure that the event had the right balance and impact that it deserved. It was important to us that the speakers were inclusive, diverse and had a new and interesting perspective on the problem and the team at BeaconHouse have gone above and beyond to ensure that they are representative of the wide range of businesses that will be in attendance.”

Choosing a keynote speaker who encapsulated the vision and the values behind the event was really important to us as we strategised how the event would look and feel on the day. We finally found the perfect choice, Big Ian Donaghy. Ian works tirelessly to raise dementia awareness and combat loneliness, always focusing on the individual drawing on his experience of 20 years teaching young people with learning difficulties, and nearly 10 years in the world of care. Ian will be discussing his book ‘A Pocketful of Kindness’ which discusses the power of kindness and the idea that nobody ever changed anything by doing nothing.

Caroline continued, “Alongside the managing the speakers, Sarah, Katie and the team have been hugely helpful when it comes to logistics, planning, venue and have brought their years of expertise to the fore with advice and guidance in making this event really flow. While I have worked on large scale events in the past, they have used their industry knowledge to become critical friends through the whole process and to support me with additional resource and advice.

“There is a reason they are so successful as an organisaton, their attention to detail and knowledge of the corporate events space is second to none. The team have experience in event management in a wide range of sectors and I really valued that insight into what works, trends and themes in the industry and how to create an event that people will still talk about after they leave.

“I can’t wait to have BeaconHouse Events as a member of the Good Work Pledge and want to say thank you for making the event planning process so smooth and pain-free. See you on the 23rd!”

The Good Work Pledge scheme was launched in 2021 to make poor employment a thing of the past, and Good Work the norm. As part of the scheme businesses are awarded a level of the pledge, helping to build a ‘community of good work’, where members will have access to learning, networking opportunities and support in the pursuit of good work and sustainability. The pledge includes five pillars of best practice; promoting health and well-being, developing a balanced workforce, valuing and rewarding your workforce, effective communication and representation and demonstrating a social responsibility.

Tickets to the event are free, register at

How to give everyone space to engage and be heard

Neurodivergence has nothing to do with intelligence levels and while it can bring specific challenges in certain environments it also brings unique and valuable strengths to business. Approximately 25% of CEOs are dyslexic in the UK, with creativity and big picture thinking being likely key factors in the extraordinary link between dyslexia and entrepreneurship. Yet still the working world is created for neurotypical employees by default.

So, what does neurodiversity mean? The most typically occurring conditions are:

  • Dyslexia (a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words)
  • Dyspraxia (a disorder which affects movement and coordination)
  • Autism or Asperger’s syndrome (which generally involves social or communication difficulties and often presents in repetitive behaviours)
  • ADHD (can involve difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour)

Taking steps to create a neuro-inclusive event means that every voice in the room has the opportunity to contribute, leading to more meaningful interactions, better conversations and increased engagement both inside and outside of your organisation. In-person events by nature aren’t always accessible for everyone, but by being mindful of different needs from the outset, your experience can be as open as possible.


1 Have conversations

Over 15% of the UK is neurodivergent so you don’t need to guess at how to make your events more inclusive, just ask! Speak to people who live with neurodiversity and understand where adjustments can be made to create more inclusive spaces and increase the number of people who feel happy and confident to attend your event. Take the approach of ‘not about us, without us’ and have honest conversations with people with lived experience to ensure that your efforts are really what they need and want, rather than just ticking a box.


2 Communicate clearly

Sending out comms on what to expect when onsite, routes of travel, food and catering information and schedules well in advance can help people plan and prepare, making it much more likely that they will sign up and attend. Likewise, if you’re taking specific measures to make neurodivergent people feel comfortable, talk about it ahead of time – your guests might not be comfortable being open about their needs or asking for adjustments but knowing in advance that you have considered different options can break down barriers to attendance, as well as raising awareness and understanding to other attendees.


3 Be detail orientated

Create a plainly-worded pack of information that can be picked up at reception or downloaded answering frequently asked questions to ease anxiety. Alongside the general information that all guests would find helpful, answer things like – if and how you can ask questions during the day, clear floorplans and information about the venue with maps / pictures and how to speak to staff if you have an issue.

Make sure your onsite team are trained to fully understand the needs of people onsite and are aware of any questions. Communicate with guests that you are there to support them in a non-judgemental and positive way.


4 Curate your environment

Think about the environment as a whole and what it will be like to spend time in that environment. Avoid smelly food (which can cause overstimulation), turn down or remove bright lights and create a pleasant temperature which doesn’t fluctuate between hot and cold. If guests have to move between locations, especially between inside and outside, remember to communicate any clothing or footwear requirements so everyone can plan accordingly.


5 Create quiet spaces

The hustle and bustle of busy events can be overwhelming but by creating a quiet space, and clearly communicating the purpose of that space, you can carve out a safe space to escape. This space should be for everyone to make the most of, but take steps to help guests understand that it is a sanctuary away from the event activities and not a place for meetings or phone calls. Curate your space to have low or dim lighting, no noise or distractions, lots of space to spread out and place it away from catering so there are no strong smells.


6 Inclusive giveaways

When you are planning your branded event goodie bags and giveaways, consider gifts that will be helpful to neurodivergent guests on the day. This could be noise-cancelling earplugs to combat background noise and loud areas, fidget toys to reduce anxiety or sunglasses to dull bright, overpowering lighting. Badges could also be given away when guests arrive to show whether they are open to social interactions, like handshakes, or not.


7 Use technology

Hybrid experiences are a fantastic way of engaging with a wide range of audiences who are not able to physically be there in person. However, if a fully hybrid option isn’t possible, consider a breakout space with pods and headphones where guests can listen to keynote speakers without having to sit in a busy conference hall where there often isn’t a lot of personal space.


8 Ask for feedback

Always follow up after the event to learn what worked and understand any other ways that you could adjust for future events. Give people the opportunity to feed back on the day and get in touch with an anonymous questionnaire afterwards to hear thoughts from attendees.


For more information on making space for neurodiversity at your events or to speak to the team about your 2023 goals email or call +44 (0)191 691 3456.



Why hybrid events are on the rise and how to manage them in 2023

That’s not just our opinion according to new research in the industry. Pre-pandemic, hybrid or virtual gatherings made up only 19% of events world-wide but now 60% of event planners and businesses say they will continue to host events in this way in 2023 and beyond. So, why are hybrid experiences sticking around?

Technology and internet connectivity means that it is easier than ever to have meaningful conversations with people from across the country, and even the globe, without the need for costly, carbon emitting travel. When it comes to inclusivity, hybrid events also mean you can have more voices in the room. Attendees with additional needs or people who are neurodivergent now have more options to get involved, increasing the opportunity for diverse and varied thinking and connection in your business.

While a hybrid event opens the doors for more people to take part, there are some important points to consider before you decide to jump head first into hybrid event planning…

1 In person vs online experiences are different – and that’s ok.

Taking part in an experience online or in-person both have their pros and cons, but it’s important to remember that they are very different at their core. Trying to create a ‘one size fits most’ solution will leave all attendees feeling a little underwhelmed, so play to the strengths of each option to make sure everyone gets the best value from taking part. Try to align how you would like people to think, feel and react; just like you’d choose different venues for different audiences and event types, the platform and tech you use must be a good fit for what you are trying to achieve.


2 Get people talking

Try not to keep your in-person and online attendees separate. Build in points where they can interact with each other and the speakers. Consider whether you would like this to be in real time and if your on and off-line audiences can mingle in the allocated networking slots. Make sure you brief your speakers so they keep virtual audiences in mind and make them feel included; online polls and Q&As give both in-person and virtual attendees the same opportunity to interact with speakers and contribute.


3 Deliver the goods

A special delivery to remote delegates shows that you’re still thinking about them on the day and adds a little ‘extra’ to the experience. This could be a parcel of the merchandise they would have been gifted at the offline event, tasty snacks to enjoy during the event or even a voucher for a coffee. Not only does it show that you’ve considered the needs of your online attendees, you’re also increasing the chances of social media interaction from your guests as people share snaps of their special delivery.


4 Balance the budget

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that holding a hybrid event is the cheaper option. Make sure you budget accordingly to avoid any nasty surprises. Having less attendees on site doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll save money, any budget which may have been spent on catering or venue hire will be replaced by the cost of high quality video capture and streaming platforms to ensure online guests get a quality experience.


5 www…(Welcome, Welcome, Welcome)

A warm welcome is one of the most memorable parts of an attendee’s event experience and this can often be overlooked if you’re joining online. Allocate a team of ‘online community managers’ to warmly welcome your online attendees and deal with any customer service queries during the event. This way, both sets of guests come away feeling looked after, happy and understood.


6 Test life is the best life

You might have the best speakers and content in the business, but if your tech fails then your remote audiences are going to be left twiddling their thumbs (and you’ll definitely hear about it). Make sure you test, test and test again when it comes to joining experiences, sound, break-out spaces and video sharing. Speak to the venue well-in advance about their connectivity speeds on-site and have a contingency plan in place for potential last minute signal, software or hardware issues.


7 Consider your sponsors

In-person and online experiences can offer different opportunities for event sponsors and it’s good to have these conversations early to manage expectations. Particular points of interest include, the number of attendees that will be there in person and what that means for your sponsors’ marketing materials and investment. Alongside opportunities at the venue, you could also consider sponsorship of digital backdrops behind the speakers, logos that can be seen on screen (for example, ‘lower thirds’ graphics, animations and coffee mugs) or include sponsor details in digital information packs.

For more information on hybrid events or to speak to the team about your 2023 hybrid goals email or call +44 (0)191 691 3456.

2023 Growth Plans with a Focus on Sustainability

We were delighted to see a 32% increase in turnover in 2022 through a mix of in person, digital and hybrid events across our client portfolio. Our sustainability strategy will form a key pillar of the 2023 work within the team as we continue to support ambitious North East businesses across the emerging tech, education, innovation, architecture, healthcare and creative arts sectors.

We even got a bit of a press release together about our plans and here’s what came from that…

Catherine Duhaut, co-founder and director at BeaconHouse Events said, “Since forming in 2014 our vision has always been to drive positive, lasting impact with every event we do, whether that be a conference, exhibition, awards ceremony or festival. In 2022 we have had the opportunity to work with some incredible clients, both in the region and nationally, and over the next 12 months we are focussed on supporting more ambitious businesses to raise their profiles, engage their teams and put our region on the map.

“During and post-pandemic we have seen a rise in the need for innovative, modern event solutions for our clients, ranging from new ways of using digital experiences, ensuring sustainability is a key component of any event planning and addressing topics such as neurodiversity to ensure that everyone can have a valuable experience, whether that be in person or online.

“We’re working with suppliers to reduce the impact of our events over 2023 and we are proud to be early adopters of TRACE, a digital carbon measurement platform to help the event industry reach Net Zero. TRACE helps us to gather data on our carbon impact at each event, which in turn gives us the ability to work with clients to benchmark and track success alongside their ESG strategy. We focus on the detail so our clients don’t have to, looking at everything from how we can make transport to events carbon neutral, sustainably sourcing materials for our badges and responsible recycling. We create sponsorship packages to offer digital branding to avoid single-use print and we work hard as a team to repurpose event materials that could have another life following an event. We know that ESG strategy is a key priority for many of our clients in 2023 and by making simple adjustments we can create big change together.

“We have some incredible projects in the pipeline this year and these ambitious plans will mean more opportunities for new talent to join BeaconHouse to support our growth. The talent in our regional freelance community is fantastic and we are always looking to speak to resourceful and trusted people to partner with us. We continually invest in our people and our success is truly a testament to the team and the culture that BeaconHouse Events has today.

“We are proud to be based right here in the North East and both myself, co-founder Sarah and the whole team are incredibly excited about creating meaningful events with the world-class organisations that call our region home.”

…and following all that excitement! We then got shortlisted for not one, but TWO national industry wide awards for the CN Agency Awards, winners to be announced on 03 March – so if you’ve got this far in the blog, we’re counting on you as a BeaconHouse supporter and hope you can keep your fingers crossed for us!