Collaboration is key at Hoults Yard

Over the past year businesses in Hoults Yard have been taking part in The Good Business Meet Up, a joint initiative between BeaconHouse Events, Opencast, and HyHubs to drive change for the local community through positive conversations and consistent, considered projects in the local area, including sharing learning on becoming more carbon responsible or sustainable travel. But this group isn’t just about having good conversations. It’s about making things happen. In April 2024 over 30 people from Hoults Yard business community came together to litter pick around the local area, together picking up more than 50kg of waste and filling 20 bin bags in just an hour and this is just one in a series of initiatives being actioned from the meetups. Rather than discussing what could happen, the task force will be out and about in the community through a series of planned initiatives to demonstrate that small, consistent actions really can equate to big change.

Business including Opencast, Swarm, GSS Architecture, Steel River Consultants, Tandem Property Asset Management, Acropolis, Red Engineering and Ingram AV have all been rolling up their sleeves to champion what being a good business means here in the North East and Sarah Thackray, co-founder of BeaconHouse Events thinks this could be the start of something really impactful for the region.

Speaking about the Good Business Meet Up, which is currently held once a quarter, Sarah said, “While this has started as a way for businesses in Hoults Yard to come together to support each other to make positive change, in the future I would love for this to expand to include representatives from across the whole of the region so we can share and learn from each other and expand the reach of what we can achieve. The conversations that we have are really positive and focus on how to be a purposeful business; this isn’t about shaming businesses who aren’t doing things perfectly, it is about having action-focused conversations and celebrating and learning from those individuals and organisations who are doing what they can to become more sustainable and give back to the communities that we operate in.

“Future initiatives we are planning include a volunteer day showcase that will bring charities and community groups into the yard to let businesses who call HyHubs their home, know about the projects operating locally and how they can get involved on a voluntary basis. Here in Byker, we are surrounded by non-profit groups who are doing amazing things and this would be a way to match-make those organisations with businesses who align with their mission.”

While some members of The Good Business Meet Up are certified B Corps, the group is keen to help all business leaders discover what the best path is for them when it comes to exploring what being a purpose driven, responsible business means to them.

Sarah continued, “There is no ‘perfect’ way to do ESG (Environmental, Societal and Governance) and it is important to have really honest conversations with each other about what has worked and what hasn’t, that’s certainly something that has benefited me and the team at BeaconHouse Events. Having a community where you can ask questions without fear or judgment, team up to make things happen, and understand what sustainability means in practice is a really powerful thing and I’m excited to see where it takes us.”

Dan Pearson, Executive Delivery Manager at Opencast, said: “It’s been fantastic to see how an idea that Sarah and I had last year has transformed into a growing community, where local companies are coming together to discuss our shared ESG goals and challenges.

“Opencast prides itself on being a purpose-driven business that exists to make life better through the power of people and technology. Social expectations of what businesses should be doing have changed with employees and investors expecting much more – so groups like ours play an important part of how, by getting together, we can do more to make a positive impact.

I am excited about the future for our group as we evolve and continue to collaborate, share best practices, and provide guidance to address issues collectively.”

Louise White, marketing manager at HyHubs said, “At HyHubs, we’re actively taking steps to ensure we’re a good business in every sense. Through initiatives like The Good Business Meet Up, we’re not just talking the talk, we’re walking the walk. It’s amazing to collaborate with other HyHubs-based businesses, seeing the community come together to plan and work towards positive impacts. Whether it’s a litter pick or a community project, we’re rolling up our sleeves and making things happen.

HyHubs residents and businesses from across Hoults Yard are invited to take part in the Good Business Meet-Ups that take place quarterly at Hoults Yard. For more information on the next meet-up and for wider North East England purpose driven meet ups email

Sustainable catering for your next event

These staggering statistics show the enormous impact that the event industry is having on our planet, but we can’t make change alone. We know that there are brilliant initiatives, big and small, happening up and down the country when it comes to tackling food waste and creating sustainable catering experiences, and we are constantly inspired by the creativity that we see to tackle environmental issues. If we all commit to making small, considered practices within our industry, maybe we can start to turn the tide when it comes to food waste.

So, how can you create high-impact events that don’t cost the earth?

1. Partner with sustainable caterers

Where possible we partner with sustainable caterers to help us to reduce the amount of food wasted through our events. Magic Hat Café in Newcastle offers bespoke, freshly prepared catering for events, all created from food and drink destined for landfill. The team at Magic Hat collects food from hospitality venues and shops across the region and uses these surplus ingredients to make delicious food. We love working with the team and our delegates are always impressed with the quality of the catering they deliver. By partnering with an organisation like Magic Hat, you’re directly impacting the amount of food being wasted in the UK with every mouthful.

Make sure you communicate your sustainability goals to venues and catering teams, so everyone is on the same page when it comes to combatting food waste. We love to learn from our partner venues and organisations, by having an open conversation and sharing ideas you can make real change, rather than trying to combat the issue in a silo.


2. Don’t over cater

Try to accurately estimate the amount of people you are expecting at an event and try not to over-order when it comes to food and drink. We’ve found that serving food through sharing platters or ‘family style’, rather than in individual portions, reduces the amount of food wasted and also limits the amount of packaging being used per event. This method allows delegates to serve themselves according to their preferences, or how hungry they are and avoids plates of wasted food at the end of a meal. Why not provide branded food boxes so guests can take home food to enjoy later if they can’t quite finish everything during the event?


3. How are you disposing of waste?

While limiting the amount of waste produced is the goal, there will inevitably be some food waste left over at the end of your event. For the Dynamites Awards 2023, we worked with a North East based anaerobic waste digestion plant to dispose of excess food, converting it into renewable energy, biofertiliser, and biomethane Gas. The biomethane produced is also injected into the local Gas Grid, helping to heat local homes and businesses as a renewable alternative to natural gas. How amazing is that?!

If it is safe to do so, leftover catering and ingredients could be donated to local charitable initiatives like The People’s Kitchen so people in need can get a taste of the event too, rather than it being destined for the bin.


4. Get delegates involved

Engaging attendees in your sustainability efforts will help people feel more invested and foster a sense of shared responsibility while allowing you to communicate your sustainability goals authentically. Why not try incorporating integrative elements into your event like a waste sorting station where guests can learn about your recycling practices and feel like they’re doing their part? Provide interesting educational materials on the impact of food waste and what you’re doing to combat it, and signpost to charities or organisations where people can visit to learn more about mindful consumption.


5. Track and evaluate your success

Make sure that at every event you have a robust way of tracking how much food was wasted, and where you have started to see positive change. This will help you to build on your success and adapt future events to have even more impact. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem like a lot at first, by making small changes together we can help each other to turn the tables on how much food is wasted in our sector. Share your success with your team and delegates so everyone can celebrate the part they played in your achievements.

For more information on how to create a sustainable and impactful event contact or give us a call at +44 (0)191 691 3456

How events can engage your people in 2024

This might be a reaction to more colleagues craving connection with the rise of hybrid or remote working, global businesses looking for innovative ways to engage teams around the world, or simply a way to celebrate success and shared achievement after a turbulent few years – whatever the cause we are thrilled to see more organisations realising the power events have when it comes to retaining and attracting the best people.

Forget the boozy summer get-togethers and forced fun, these days leaders are looking to engage their teams with a diverse programme of events; keeping the momentum going with things like round-tables, dinners, awards ceremonies, or event programmes that bring people together in an authentic and considered way. We’ve been working with clients to utilise a mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid event formats to engage audiences and empower as wide a range of people to attend as possible.

Engaged people are more committed to their place of work, tending to stay at their organisations longer and be more productive and effective when they are there. According to the 2023 ‘State of the Global Workforce’ report from Gallup, nearly 90% of UK employees are disengaged from their job and are either quiet or loud quitting. This puts the UK at 33 on Gallup’s table of employee engagement in European countries. Only Luxembourg, Spain, France, Italy, and Northern Cyprus scored lower.

So how do events help you to engage your teams in 2024?

1. Celebrate shared success and say thank you

People are busy, and when everyone is focused on the next thing to do it can be difficult to reflect on what has gone well and learn. An event is a collective moment to stop, give each other a pat on the back, and say thank you for all the hard work that has gone into the previous period. Truly thriving teams understand their purpose and feel like they are making a valuable contribution to the overall success of the organisation.


2. Connect multiple sites or remote teams

With the rise of remote or hybrid working patterns and teams often sitting across multiple sites and time zones, it can be difficult for people to feel connected to the organisation or their colleagues. Bringing people together at an event helps co-workers to interact away from the usual day-to-day, spend time with departments or people who they might not usually cross paths with, and strengthens their sense of belonging in the organisation – all things that directly impact the likelihood of them staying with the business long-term. Building real-life relationships with colleagues through shared experience leads to a strong sense of community and camaraderie, which in turn has a positive effect on teamwork, creativity, and collaboration.


3. Keep everyone informed

Be honest, how many times have you read a company update email or annual report cover to cover and retained that information? Yeah, thought so…

Events are the perfect tool to communicate important information or complex ideas in a way that is memorable and engaging. Inviting all colleagues to take part in a company-wide event will make your people feel informed and heard. When we have an understanding of the bigger picture, people are much more likely to be engaged with their particular role and how it fits with other priorities. We work with clients to understand the key messages that they would like taken away from the day, and from there, we devise the best strategy to convey the information to the people in the room – this could be anything from an engaging presentation, a panel session with the senior team, digital downloads for people to read post-event or opportunities for 360o discussions.


4. Boost morale and motivation

An event that is well put together, professional, and engaging shows that a business is authentic when it says it invests in employee development, learning and success – all things that are proven to boost morale and motivation. And don’t forget that events can be fun too! Giving people the opportunity to spend time away from their day-to-day jobs and let their hair down can invigorate tired teams, especially if it is at the end of a stressful period, rather than moving right on to the next priority.


5. Inspire new ways of working

Investing in an event for internal teams is an investment in their CPD and future learning. By understanding issues or barriers to success, we can find the perfect keynote speakers to fire up your team and get them thinking from a different perspective. Inspiring speakers, learning opportunities, and the chance to share their knowledge are powerful tools when it comes to engaging teams in 2024. By understanding a business inside out, we can devise the best tactics to encourage learning and problem-solving together. Creating a culture that champions learning, creativity, and innovation through events can unleash the full power of your people and drive sustainable growth and success.


What do our clients say?

“As we grow as a company, so does the scale and the ambitions for internal events, and BeaconHouse is with us every step of the way. It feels like a true partnership. They understand our company values, the kinds of experiences we want to give to our people and, importantly, what our people respond well to. We always know we are in very good hands with our events, strongly supported by BeaconHouse from the concept stage all the way through to evaluation.”

Julian Blake, External Relations | Opencast

To speak to the team about your event ideas for 2024 email or call 0191 691 3456.

Meet Rob Charlton – CEO of SPACE Group

In our new series, we’ll sit down with our clients to talk about what it is like working with our team and why events form such an important part of their business planning. First up we spoke to Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group, a collective of four different companies working across the built environment, Space Architects, BIM. Technologies, bimstore and Twinview. Headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, Space Group operates globally, working with high-profile clients including universities, local authorities, and national names like Vistry Homes, Barratt Developments, and Lidl.

Over to you Rob…

BeaconHouse Events has been working with Space Group for a long time – how did it all start? 

I had to rack my brains a little for this one, it seems like such a long time ago. Space Group had been running an event called BIM Show LIVE in London for quite a few years and it had become huge, with almost 2000 people attending at one point. We’re not events people, we just wanted to use the event to spread a message. In 2017 we decided to move the event back to Newcastle and take back control of it a little but we didn’t really know any event management agencies in the area who could help us to bring it to life. By chance, I met Catherine at a meeting at Northumbria University and agreed to talk through what we were looking to deliver at the event and that was where it all began! BIM Show Live continued to be hugely popular after its return to the North, with 400 national and international delegates joining us over two days. BIM Show Live was one of the most trusted information-sharing platforms for Building Information Modelling (BIM), but we always endeavored to make it fun and engaging for the delegates – and BeaconHouse showed that they can take any brief and make the magic happen.

From there we worked together to create and develop _shift, an annual event that is focused on showcasing the decarbonisation of the built environment and the value of innovation in the industry, which forms a key part of our status as a BCorp. We also work with the team on One Space, our conference which brings together our internal teams.


What makes working with the team at BeaconHouse Events different? 

Since that first event together in 2017, BeaconHouse events have become an extension of our team, not just an external agency – every year we challenge ourselves to do something different and I always throw some challenging  ideas and watch the horror on their faces. The team at BeaconHouse always brings their brand of creativity to every project, but what I value is that they push back if an idea is over the top  and I really value their expertise and opinion on what is going to make the event the best that it can be. Sarah, Catherine, and now Katie always take full ownership of the event and that means that I know all of the detail is taken care of – they just take all of the logistical pain away.

On-site the BeaconHouse team keeps the day moving and you don’t get sidetracked. I’m always looking to Katie for what we should be doing and I know that she has an eye on timings, the AV, and all of those logistics so I just don’t have to worry and can enjoy the day.

Any events we have will always be through BeaconHouse Events.


Is the process collaborative? 

Absolutely. We work on the content for each event together and the team is very talented at finding the best speakers that align with what we are trying to achieve. Both sides will share ideas about people who might be a good fit, but it is always aligned with the budget and what is realistic. Sarah is a spreadsheet queen, our FD likes working with her because they speak the same language so they keep my feet on the ground when it comes to event spend. We work together at the start of the process to set that budget and we discuss each time we meet to make sure we have enough for what we want to do. Their financial management is very strong as an agency and their transparent way of discussing budgets is refreshing and gives me confidence in what they are delivering. There is a lot of trust there, and that’s what happens when you build a long-term relationship.

They liaise with our internal graphics and marketing experts to make the most out of the assets from the events, like video and photography to make it work hard on our social pages, website, and other platforms.


How important was it to you to partner with a North East based event partner? 

We want all of our partners to be based in the North East. It is really important to us as part of our BCorp commitment to maximise the local pound and it is great to find talented businesses that we can work with.

Over the years we have seen the team at BeaconHouse grow and develop; from working closely with Sarah and Catherine back in the BIM Show days, we have now seen Katie move through the business and take on _shift as very much her event, that’s a testament to the strength of the business and the great people they employ. That’s what’s good about working with relatively small businesses, you still have that owner connection that I enjoy, despite the team growing and evolving. Even as they are less hands-on with the events these days. Sarah and Catherine make a considered effort to keep in touch with me and they do that really well – there is nothing transactional about the way that they work and I never feel like it is just someone doing a job.


How have events shaped your strategy as a business? 

I’m a frustrated party planner, and you tend to spend time on the things that you enjoy doing, I love it and it is never a chore. Seriously though, I think we do it well and it is genuine – not just something to tick a box like you sometimes see in our sector. What we learned from BIM Show Live was if you have a level of familiarity then you can build a real rapport with your delegates that continues from year to year – for example, for ten years we had the same two brilliant guys MCing, a standard format that you can then play with and tweak. We’ve taken that learning through to _shift and use the time to bring together fantastic speakers for our clients, it’s not about selling Space Group, and you build a reputation and get people talking. We’ll hear people talking about the conference throughout the year and they look forward to it because it’s different from what other people are doing. Boozy lunches are great for some businesses, but that’s just not us.


Your team is based all over the world, how have events helped you to keep them engaged with business? 

Our One Space event is a quality event for our people. We work with BeaconHouse to make it professional, bringing in paid keynote speakers to inspire and support our learning. We are at our strongest when all of our four businesses are working together because there is absolutely nobody else doing that, so the One Space event is a fantastic opportunity for all of the businesses to come together and present what we are doing.


How important was it to find a partner that operated sustainably in the event space? 

To be honest, it wasn’t always on our agenda, but what has been good is that BeaconHouse has educated me on that during the journey. What I like is that when I have ideas that maybe aren’t sustainable, they push back and they are very innovative in how they approach sustainability. We re-use everything year after year so we limit the amount of waste, we have moved away from printed materials in favour of digital information and most recently our catering has been fully vegetarian, which I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about at first and had to be convinced. By the time we got to the event I had forgotten that we had made that decision and I didn’t notice that it wasn’t meat, it was just delicious. The team is always challenging what can be done and coming up with new ideas but it never feels like a gimmick – it’s just a core part of how they operate as a business.


As architects, how important is the venue to you? 

Incredibly important, and we work with BeaconHouse to find spaces that align with our brand and what we want to achieve with the event we chose the Henry Daysh building on the Newcastle University campus for the _shift and One Space conferences. That was strategic for a couple of reasons, one because it was a building that we designed and fitted out, but also because it aligned with the sustainability messaging of the event. As an existing building, there is a lot of embodied carbon in it, and it highlights our message that ‘creative reuse’ of buildings is more sustainable from an energy perspective.

Catherine and I visited the venue together to understand how we could work with the space to make it conducive to learning and the team worked with the director of estates at the University to take care of the contracts and logistics.

Choosing the right space is crucial to the success of the event and I know that the team put a lot of thought into how and why certain spaces are chosen over others. I hate events in boring old hotels, we have to keep it interesting.

Thanks Rob!

Find out more about how we bring _shift to life here and to speak to the team about your event ideas email or call 0191 691 3456.

A year of sustainable growth

Throughout the past year, our team at Hoults Yard has forged partnerships with leading businesses across various sectors, including emerging tech, education, innovation, architecture, healthcare, and creative arts sectors. New clients include Newcastle Building Society, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, Newcastle Carers, CF Fertilisers, HyHubs, North of Tyne Combined Authority, the British Applied Mathematics Colloquium (the largest applied mathematics conference in the UK) and the British Society for Oral and Dental Research.

The increase in turnover in 2023, fueled by a blend of in-person, digital, and hybrid events delivered for our national client base. As organisations grapple with burnout and talent retention challenges, our strategically designed staff engagement events have been pivotal in driving our growth trajectory. Additionally, the addition of three new team members has bolstered our capacity to deliver exceptional experiences.

Alongside an organic growth plan, we unveiled our ambitious five-year ESG strategy early in 2023. This comprehensive initiative aims to position BeaconHouse Events as a trailblazer in driving positive change within the event sector. Over the past year, we’ve spearheaded collaborative efforts to offset our carbon footprint ethically and instigate sustainable practices industry-wide. This includes ‘meat-free by default’ catering at major events (a tactic that significantly reduced the carbon impact with one simple, measurable change), an investment into in-depth carbon tracing technology TRACE and donating the carbon credit equivalent to local charities and community organisations who align with the business’ mission.

Looking ahead, as we approach our 10th anniversary in 2024, our vision remains to drive lasting, positive impact with every event that we deliver. We have seen a rise in clients looking to engage with their teams in a really meaningful way post-pandemic and we see that trend continuing over the next year as organisations strive to recruit and retain the best talent and say thank you to their teams for navigating a particularly turbulent few years. We have had the pleasure of working with a range of incredible clients over the past year, both here in the North East and nationally. We are proud to call the North East home, and it is encouraging to see national organisations looking outside of London, especially to our region, to deliver events of national and international significance. We have big plans for 2024 and beyond and we can’t wait to get stuck into another busy year and work with even more ambitious businesses to raise their profiles, engage their teams, and put our region on the map.

We have some high-profile projects in the pipeline this year and these plans will mean more opportunities for BeaconHouse. 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.

In 2023 we co-curated and delivered the inaugural TechNExt festival in partnership with Dynamo and Sunderland Software City. The festival is set to take place again in June 2024 and will see over 3,000 attendees and feature a lineup of 50+ community-led fringe events alongside its flagship event programme and a new schools challenge initiative to engage young people in tech.

ChatGPT – Design this event: Why the human touch is important in event planning

With near-constant news stories about how technology will change the future workforce, it got us thinking about the parts of our event planning process that are intrinsically human. In September 2023, the World Economic Forum looked at the impact of generative AI and large language models on jobs as part of its ‘Jobs of Tomorrow’ series. The report found that roles where AI posed the least threat, were those that involve human interaction and complex thinking skills – sound familiar?


1. Being a critical friend 

Our clients often tell us that one of the things that they like most about working with BeaconHouse Events is our ability to act as an extension of their internal team, offer sound advice based on years of experience in event planning, push back on ideas that don’t add values and be an arm around their shoulder through what can sometimes be a stressful process. By building relationships with our clients we understand them inside out and can form a truly collaborative partnership that goes much deeper than a client/agency transaction.


2. Logistical problem solving 

While Chat GPT has many benefits, we’ve yet to see it solve a last-minute problem with the sound equipment, track down elusive keynote speakers, or collaborate with partner organisations to create a sustainable event programme that doesn’t greenwash. Our clients know that in the lead-up to an event, and on-site, they don’t have to worry about the logistics being taken care of because our team has it covered, instead they can concentrate on speaking to delegates and enjoy the experience.


3. Building relationships 

Event planning doesn’t happen in a silo and we rely on building high-quality relationships with our clients and our network to make sure that we are delivering the best experience possible. Over the years we have worked in tandem with venues, AV teams, photographers, and speakers and built genuine friendships that have seen us through when the going gets tough and allows us to keep developing new ways to bring our client briefs to life.


4. Creative thinking 

Creativity isn’t just the nice fluffy stuff. Strategic creativity is born from client conversations, an appreciation of their brand and vision, and an understanding of what they are trying to achieve through this experience. Crafting innovative and engaging event concepts requires an understanding of our client’s brand, values, and ambitions, and true creativity is born from collaboration. With every new brief, we work with our colleagues, clients, and partner organisations to come up with ideas that surprise and delight delegates and push our clients to be brave and bring personality and purpose to everything from the signage to the snacks. Call us cynical but we don’t think AI is quite there yet.


5. Negotiating contracts 

90% of the work that we deliver goes on at our desks, and while negotiating contracts might not be the most glamorous part of event planning, it is an essential element that needs time, experience, and dedication to do well. By understanding each event brief and client individually we can find the best way forward when it comes to event insurance, venue hire, catering, or speaker fees rather than adopting a one size fits approach.


6. Emotional intelligence 

A big part of event planning is the ability to predict delegates’ wants and needs, how they may feel about certain choices, and how they could interact with different aspects of the event experience. We are experts in making the intangible, and tangible and put people at the heart of every experience – and people are complex creatures!


7. Adapting to the unexpected 

Any event planner worth their salt keeps their cool under pressure – ask any of them and they’ll have an event story that starts with ‘oh you’ll never guess what happened…’ and AI would just not be equipped to handle some of the things we have seen!

Every event and experience that we create is highly tailored and based on months of collaboration, conversations, idea generation, and strategy and despite its sophisticated algorithms, AI has a long way to go before it can navigate the intricacies of human beings that the best event managers have mastered.

At BeaconHouse Events we love to create event experiences that people at the heart. To speak to our team about bringing your next event to life email or call 0191 691 3456


How do you select the right charity partner for your next event?

By being strategic about your chosen charity, you can forge a partnership that is both beneficial to the charity and your business rather than being a transactional experience that lacks value on either side.

More and more people want to work for and do business with organisations that have a clear sense of purpose, and who are using their platform for good. There are lots of ways that you can leverage your event to raise funds or awareness for your chosen charity partner – that could be anything from allocating a percentage of ticket sales to their cause, holding auctions or raffles on the day, giving free sponsorship space with donation links or inviting a representative to tell their story as part of the proceedings, it just takes a little creative thinking so that any activities fit naturally into the proceedings and don’t seem shoe-horned in or out of place.

With so many non-profits delivering amazing work, how do you manage the process of finding who is the best fit for you?


1. Define your values and goals

Understanding your business’s purpose and values, the goals of the event, and what you aim to achieve through your CSR efforts makes it much easier to find a charity or cause that aligns perfectly. Consider what causes resonate with your attendees and the theme of the event, or where you can have a positive impact on the future of your sector or workforce. Whether it is environmental, conservation, social justice, mental health, or education there will be issues that disproportionally affect the people who live in your area, or work within your sector. By establishing what you care about as a business, you can use your events programme to make long-lasting and meaningful changes.


2. Ask your team for input 

CSR activities are a fantastic way of engaging your people and giving them pride in the place where they work. Ask for ideas for local initiatives that they care about, or to submit ways that you can get attendees excited about supporting your chosen charity. Involving your team in the decision-making process helps you to embed your values across the organisation, gives them a way to get meaningfully involved, and creates excitement for what’s possible. If there is an authentic connection between your team and chosen charity it will be much easier to communicate how and why you have chosen to partner together, rather than it coming across like a PR stunt.


3. Build a partnership 

Choosing a charity or cause to partner with shouldn’t be a one-hit wonder. Striving for a longer-term relationship that outlives the event allows you to consistently communicate what matters to you and have a golden CSR thread that runs through everything that you do. By consistently communicating how and why you have chosen to support a specific cause, you can have a much more authentic conversation with your delegates than you could if you simply hand over a cheque.


4. Do your due diligence

When you are looking to work with a particular charity, make sure you take some time to do your research and seek transparency about how funds are allocated, the governance structure, and the impact of their programmes. Most charities will have annual reports and financial statements that are available online for you to browse and independent reports evaluations are a great way to assess credibility. By making sure that your chosen charity is reputable you can be confident that your efforts are directed towards trustworthy and effective organisations.


5. Ask the charity what matters to them 

Speak to charitable organisations in advance of your event and ask them what would be most beneficial for them. It could be that they need funding for a specific project that aligns with your business values, or maybe they would like the opportunity to engage with your cohort of delegates to raise awareness for their mission or would really value being part of the event’s digital presence. Have conversations about where you can add the most value before, during, and after the event and you can build a relationship that makes sense for both parties.

At BeaconHouse Events we love to create ‘good’ experiences for our clients. To speak to our team about bringing your next event to life email or call 0191 691 3456


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