London, UK

Right now, we are all in the turmoil of thinking about the next cancelled event, contemplating how many tourists we will be able to attract when regulations permit or how our new normal in terms of health safety will look like. To help you see the bright side in this chaotic state, we are sharing some positive stories from the UK, where the events industry decided to use its empty facilities and idle workforce to aid hardworking healthcare professionals.

Help for key workers

Key workers across the healthcare and other essential services continue to selflessly go to work every day. As a way to support and thank those on the front line of this pandemic, the events industry from across the UK has found new ways of giving back.

Event production specialist Visions Group, built a staff village for staff working for the National Health Service (NHS). Within the grounds of Reading School in Berkshire, the village provides temporary accommodation and operational support service to NHS staff.

Ten Hill Place Hotel is Edinburgh’s largest independent hotel, owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RSCEd). They offered 1.000 free stays at the hotel to medical and clinical staff battling COVID-19. Opening its doors to the city’s hospital staff on 27 March and has since accommodated over 200 key workers.

Macdonald Hotels is a collection of over 30 luxury UK hotels and spas. During the time of the COVID-19 crisis, it is offering all NHS staff free tea, coffee and choice of breakfast roll to say thank you for all their efforts.

Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Principality Stadium transformed into 2.000-bed hospital

Building hospitals and producing medical supplies

With COVID-19 patient numbers rising, hospital accommodation has become problematic. Thus, leading venues across the UK, including ExCel London, NEC Birmingham, SEC Glasgow and Manchester Central, have been transformed into fully functioning hospitals. The development has been supported by industry suppliers who have volunteered their time, services and spaces to help the NHS in the fight against COVID-19.

GES is a leading full-service supplier to live events and has played a large role in creating NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London. This key temporary facility took 38.0000 man-hours to create, resulting in a critical medical facility with 3.700 patient rooms.

Entertainment and event professionals have been helping turn the Welsh Principality Stadium into a 2.000-bed hospital. Theatre and lighting technicians who usually build festival sites and TV sets are among those helping to put power into beds and create full functioning kitchens.

LandRover, the leading car manufacturer, has offered an additional 105 vehicles for the British Red Cross. This recent donation brings the total quantity deployed worldwide during this crisis to over 300, part of the ongoing commitment to provide assistance wherever possible.

The leading London venue, London O2 Arena, has been made available to the NHS for the training of additional staff required at the new Nightingale hospital in the ExCel centre. The NHS will have access to the venue until the end of June in order to assist with the growing numbers of staff required to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

London O2 Aren
Photo Credit: VisitBritain/Craig Easton

Supporting the vulnerable

With the strict isolation protocols and facilities in lockdown, several vulnerable people are self-isolating in their homes and have thus been cut off from their only sources of food. The events industry is now playing the part in feeding those most in need.

A Manchester not for profit, Open Kitchen MCR, sent waste food from cancelled events to those at high-risk from the coronavirus. Open kitchen MCR works with food businesses to create nutritious meals for the vulnerable, using ingredients that would otherwise have gone to waste.

To support efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus, the events and catering teams at National Museum Liverpool have donated a number of crucial food items and ingredients to Knowsley’s Big Help Project food bank. The contribution included a variety of produce that was no longer required following the organisation’s announcement that its venues would be temporarily closed in line with government advice.

The iconic convention centre, Olympia London, has been converted into a large food storage, production and distribution facility to support vulnerable and isolated residents with food donations. Working with The Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank service, which began work this month, Olympia has helped them increase the Foodbank’s capacity by 400 % by delivering over 1.000 parcels per week.

Boulevard Events is a family-run event catering company located in London. To offer their support they switched their services to provide healthy meals for local families, giving them access to nutritious food during isolation that has been specifically designed to boost immune systems.


Such positive stories, supporting those in need with big or small actions not only make us smile but also show us how strong we can be together. All the participating UK xxx are a true inspiration and should encourage others to do anything they can to make this time of the pandemic less stressful.