Red stage curtain with arch entrance

Our TEAMonTOUR is at the Worsley Building on 23rd February 2016 – find out what it’s all about here…

Red stage curtain with arch entrance

Red stage curtain with arch entrance

In 2010, MEETinLEEDS launched the ongoing ‘TEAMonTOUR’ campaign, in which the team meet with faculties and schools within the University to help develop relationships and communicate the services we offer.

This campaign has led to real advocacy for the conference service around the University and kept us front of mind for academics planning conferences. Thanks to this campaign and others, our academic community continues to help inform the services MEETinLEEDS provide, ensuring the needs of the academics are met and services are developed in response to their requirements.

Harriet Boatwright, Sales & Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS said: “Our focus has certainly shifted over the past five years to be tuned carefully to how our activity contributes to the University’s ambitious strategic plan to grow its research income to £200m by 2020. We have challenged ourselves with the question; what ways can we support the University’s drive to enable interdisciplinary research, to reach a greater international audience and to ensure it is making a positive impact? Consistently referring back to this has enabled us to focus our efforts on collaboration and partnership with the academic community. ‘TEAMonTOUR’ is one of the ways we interact and increase our visibility with internal University departments and faculties. The direct interaction we gain from the campaign helps us find out what our audience really want from us, and also allows them to put a name to a face, which is essential for creating and developing lasting partnerships.”
TEAMonTOUR-Lisa-Web-versionLisa Wood (right), Sales Executive at MEETinLEEDS and face of the campaign said: “It really is a pleasure to head the ‘TEAMonTOUR’ campaign and meet my colleagues within the University. It gives us an opportunity to generate new enquiries and meet new people, and there is no better feeling than developing an enquiry into an event on campus!

I feel that it is especially important to introduce our services and staff at ‘New Starters’ events, to give our new colleagues an introduction to the services and the community spirit that really is evident at the University: we are better together!”

Recent conference activity highlights the ways in which MEETinLEEDS contribute to the successful delivery of the University’s strategic plan.

Head of the Theoretical Physics Group in the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, Dr Almut Beige recently worked with MEETinLEEDS to host a leading international conference, which attracted participants from more than 30 countries.

She said: “Holding a leading international conference on Quantum Information Processing and Communication, the QIPC2015, in Leeds raised our profile significantly.

“Having never organised an event of this size before, chairing the QIPC, it could easily have become very overwhelming. Sharing the responsibility for the conference with MEETinLEEDS was crucial for its success. It allowed me, as an academic, to concentrate my efforts on putting together a well-balanced programme committee and obtaining an impressive list of invited speakers. From helping us to put the bid together and weekly update meetings in the run-up to the conference, to the smooth running and mopping up afterwards, I felt completely confident in MEETinLEEDS.

Keep up with the latest from MEETinLEEDS

Follow and tweet us @meetinleeds using the hashtag #BetterTogether.

Sustainability Forest

Conference organisers are rightly looking to provide the ultimate conference experience with sustainability in mind, and at MEETinLEEDS we have the answers.


When the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE) chose to hold its 11th International Conference at the University, MEETinLEEDS worked with the Business School, School of Earth and Environment and the School of Geography to organise the four-day event with sustainability at the heart of everything.

MEETinLEEDS’ Event Manager Anthony Lowe said: “It was a fully-managed conference which meant we took care of everything from the very beginning through to post-conference activity. Work on the conference started 18 months before and from the very beginning sustainability was our watchword. We researched how we could make it as sustainable as possible and then set about making it all happen. It’s fair to say that this approach impacted on not only the conference but in the way the whole team worked in the run-up.”

The focus for the ESEE 2015 Conference was Transformation and explored the transformation to a sustainable society through a series of spoken and poster presentations, keynote lectures from prominent scholars and lively formal and informal discussions.


(L-R) Corin & Anthony

An organising committee was established which included academics from the three different University departments together with other non University Committee Members who were running the Conference, together with MEETinLEEDS . “Our role was to understand the requirements of the committee, go away and heavily research the different options, present them to the committee and then implement them,” said Anthony

The challenge for MEETinLEEDS was to accommodate 500 delegates from 34 different countries presenting 700 papers in the most sustainable way possible with a target of recycling 95% of all waste.

Technology was key. One of the first things MEETinLEEDS did was to create a bespoke Conference website so that delegates could access all the information they needed online to cut-down the need to send out too much information on paper.

Running alongside this was a specially-designed Conference app. which enabled delegates to integrate the timetable on their phones or laptops, as well as incorporate all relevant events and talks into their own calendars, eliminating the need for paper as well as linking to chats with other delegates on social media. They also used online survey and questionnaire site, Survey Monkey to ask people which lectures and events they were attending to get an idea of numbers to try and eliminate any waste from over-catering or other resources.

As part of the registration process, delegates were offered the opportunity to offset part of their travel by buying permits to help prevent pollution under the Sandbag scheme* and bike hire was also organised for delegates.


Simon (left) and the team of chefs

More than 300 delegates stayed on campus with most of the delegates eating on site being treated to menus of locally-sourced and regional produce, cutting down on food miles. “There were no fast fixes, no paper plates, everything was washed up and delegates were encouraged to bring their own reusable cups. The pinnacle of the Conference was a vegan buffet for 500 in the magnificent Parkinson Building lobby. It’s the first time we’d done this kind of catering on such a scale and it was a great success,” said Executive Chef Simon Wood

The menu included vegan delights such as Courgette, Garden Pea and Broad Bean Salad with Pomegranate Pearls;  Spiced Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Chilli Cakes with Homemade Ketchup and Coconut & Sticky Rice Pudding Pots with Raspberries & Lime.

There were a number of activities to add theatre to the Conference. At registration the Parkinson Building lobby was filled with the sound of birds gently chirpy as part of a specially-commissioned soundscape to help relax delegates who may have had a stressful journey. There was also an art installation featuring the word TRANSFORMATION which delegates were encouraged to decorate it throughout the Conference, as well as a conference dinner at Leeds Town Hall with a student dance band and a specially-created dance piece about sustainability.

SustainableAt the start of the conference, delegates were invited on tour of environmental projects and initiatives in the local area hosted by Leeds City Council as well as a tour of the sustainability projects at the University. And one evening there was even an informal cycle-powered film show, with three people cycling away to create enough energy to show films about sustainability while delegates drank beer and ate pizza.

“From the most ethical conference bags possible to the locally-sourced food, environmental tours and a focus on recycling and technology to prevent waste, this was a truly sustainable conference,” said MEETinLEEDS Event Assistant, Corin Nanton.

“We learnt so much and we’ll be sharing this with other organisers as part of our commitment to knowledge transfer. The more we worked on it, the more we picked up the spirit of the conference and became more and more environmentally aware as time went on and as a result we will be looking to offer sustainable packages to  what might be considered more mainstream conferences.”


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Jeremy Bradshaw and the Teach First Delivery Team Winner of the Special Award for Contribution to Business Tourism in Leeds

Natalie Ruecroft (3rd from left) and Natasha Rahanu (3rd from right) of the MEETinLEEDS team

We are proud to announce that MEETinLEEDS hard work has been recognised at a glittering Leeds Hotels and Venues Association’s (LHVA) awards ceremony on 13th June 2014.

The LHVA awards celebrate the best in service from over 30 hotels and venues across the city.

Stars of the sector were invited to the special ceremony at Leeds United’s Centenary Pavilion on Thursday, June 12, which was hosted by TV legend Harry Gration.

MEETinLEEDS, along with Well Met, were nominated for the ‘Top Team’ award for the delivery of TeachFirst’s Summer Institute residential training programme. The combined events held by Teach First in Leeds will be worth £5.5m to the city’s economy in 2014 and 2015, plus additional revenue that delegates will bring to their stay in the city. The MEETinLEEDS sales team, which in this case was spearheaded by Natalie Ruecroft, have been working with the events team from Leeds Metropolitan for almost two years in order to secure Teach First’s Summer Institute, a huge event which, in previous years, has taken place at the University of Warwick.

Natasha Rahanu, Event Manager at MEETinLEEDS says:

“It was fantastic to be nominated involved in the LHVA Awards Ceremony. At the beginning of the night we were honoured with a ‘Special Award for Contribution to Business Tourism’, recognising our collaborative work on the Teach First Project, between institutions & also with First Direct Arena & Accommodation in Leeds, including Unite. It was a great feeling to be recognised for the hard work we have done, and that we still have to do!”

The Summer Institute this year will be attended by approximately 2700 delegates, which is set to rise to 4000 in 2015.

Roll on another Busy Summer for the MEETinLEEDS team in 2015!


If you are attending the Teach First Summer Institute you can find out some of our favourite places in Leeds on our blog.

This summer MEETinLEEDS are looking forward to one of its busiest summers on record!

The events team are no strangers to a packed conference season and the sales team recently recorded over 300 enquiries in one month (that’s an average of 13 enquiries per working day!) but this summer looks to be one of the busiest ever as event organisers make use of the wealth of facilities the University of Leeds has to offer.

The International Medieval Congress (IMC) is back, after being successfully hosted on campus for the first time last year, and this year Teach First will be making use of our “perfect setting” as over 3,000 delegates attend their annual residential training event.

Click this image of Devonshire Hall to find out about our wedding venues

Click this image of Devonshire Hall to find out about our wedding venues

Added to this are a number of events including: a large engineering event that will be making use of the delicious catering in our Refectory; the Tour de France taking over the city as the Grand Départ starts in Leeds; a number of summer schools using the campus; a large residential healthcare event; five weddings at Devonshire Hall and Communication Matters will be using a number of venues including Parkinson Court and our accessible accommodation as they host their National Conference.

With all of this activity you might think that the sales team are due a well-earned rest but we’re not resting on our laurels!

A packed Parkinson Court Reception

A packed Parkinson Court Reception

We are continuing to work hard with our colleagues in Sport & Physical Activity to drive sport events through our facilities and have been looking at specific events for Oxley and Devonshire Hall.  We are also working hard to secure an event for July that will be closely book-ended by both Teach First and IMC.

We do not shy away from a tight booking schedule and in turn a monster challenge for delivery – our teams are not afraid!

The Conference team take such a diverse pool of enquiries and we work hard to match, and where possible, exceed their expectations.  Although summer 2014 and summer 2015 are looking busy, we are always ready and waiting to help the next event organiser find the perfect venue!


If you would like to enquire about hosting an event at the University of Leeds please contact our Sales Team at or 0113 343 6100.

The MEETinLEEDS team have been busy with an eventful Easter period that saw four major events take place on campus.

Suppliers-Meet-in-LeedsMEETinLEEDS at the Suppliers Easter Fair

The Suppliers Exhibition has been organised by the MEETinLEEDS team for the last 9 years and had a record number of stands this year. The suppliers and departments in attendance had the chance to develop their contacts and relationships with University staff, try some of the delicious catering on offer from the Deli(very) team and also see first-hand what we can offer as part of an Event Managed Exhibition.

This year the event had a facelift: the Suppliers Easter Fair included Fairtrade & Farmers Market style stalls giving attendees the opportunity pick up a few Easter treats while networking with existing and new suppliers.

Feedback from external companies has been excellent; 12 bookings have been secured for next year!

CelebritySquares9Esther Rantzen was a guest speaker at ACTIVE 2014

The MEETinLEEDS team also event managed the AKTIVE conference, an event attended by Esther Rantzen CBE and Heinz Wolff, which made use of the Business School along with an exclusive exhibition and conference dinner in our venue of the month, the Refectory. The conference brings together researchers, industry, voluntary sector and local authorities interested in the role of telecare and other technologies in supporting older people at home.

Subscribe to the blog here to find out exactly what the team did to make this a success.


A panoramic view of Networkshops42

Networkshop Conference 2014 has to be one of the most technologically advanced conferences ever held on campus, with 400 delegates utilising our on campus facilities. For this event MEETinLEEDS facilitated with the following:

  • Nearly 3Km of cabling ran into Sports Hall 1 to provide wired connectivity for 50 Exhibitor stands
  • 10 wireless points were installed into Sport Hall 1, (4 permanent, 6 temporary)
  • A peak of 1000 unique users were on the wireless network using over 1200 devices
  • A peak of 73 different institutions using the wireless network during Networkshop
  • A total of 131GB of wireless data was transferred during the conference

A large British association was the last to use the University’s event facilities over the Easter period- bringing 800 delegates from across the globe attended to the Conference Auditorium and the Exhibition Centre. The delegates were highly active on social media, which kept the Digital Marketing arm of MEETinLEEDS busy and also allowed the team to reduce the response time to queries.

To book any of our venues or to speak to a Sales Executive please call 0113 343 6100 or email

So the day has finally arrived.

Friday 21st March 2014 is the final day I shall spend with Richard Handscombe as my Head of Sales and Marketing or, in my words, The Boss.

I have been working for Richard and the MEETinLEEDS team for over 4 years now but I can remember my interview like it was only yesterday.

Trotting to the University of Leeds campus in my Sales Executive 4 inch heels, I took my seat in the interview waiting area in University House and calmed my nerves by remembering the interview advice granddad had given me earlier: “Stay calm sweetheart, and crack a few clean jokes if you can”.

Walking into the Cloberry room (where the interview took place), I remember taking one look at Mr Handscombe and thinking: “This guy is way too suave; I’ve got no chance here!”

However, somehow (probably down to granddads advice) Richard decided to give the girl from Castleford a chance and hired me!

Nat-Blog-for-28-03-2014Over the past 4 years Richard has not only put up with my strange childhood stories; my numerous house moves; my constant demands for a cup of tea; but he has also been my personal mentor and role model. To me, Richard displays all the qualities of not only a great manager but a great leader. The way in which he empowers and trusts each member of our small team is what pushes Matt, Lisa, Ryan, Harriet and I to perform the way we do – fantastically! He has created the MEETinLEEDS brand, a brand that sets itself apart from the rest by not being frightened to try new things or to think outside of the box. More importantly, Richard has developed a working culture where I do not only see my team members as colleagues but as great friends. To say the team will miss Richard is an understatement!

Just a few of the things I will miss about Mr Handscombe:

  1. Our in depth chats regarding Henry and Anne – the fact we share a mutual love of all things Tudor and spend at least 10 minutes every Monday morning discussing this
  2. The way he accepts that I make him cups of tea with suspicious looking floaters in
  3. The way he subtly lets me know when I have applied too much fake tan


To be honest, there’s nothing I won’t miss about Richard and I hope he’s ready for the home visits and numerous emails he will be receiving from me after today. He might be retiring but I still have course work that needs checking over! (I’m currently studying towards a degree in Business Management, something again that Richard encourages and supports me with!)

So there’s nothing much left to say apart from on behalf of me and the team, thank you Richard Handscombe, mainly just for being you.


I recently took a trip down memory lane and visited Oxley Hall with my colleague Natalie Ruecroft (AKA Ginger). I used to be the Assistant Hall Manager at Oxley Hall some 16 years ago and I must say I felt like a queen living, and working, in such a beautiful hall. What a way to start my University career!

Working in the central sales office we have recently had a number of new enquiries for Oxley, hence our visit to introduce Natalie to the hall, and for myself to be reacquainted with the venue that kick-started my career.

I have fond memories of Oxley and the lovely surroundings. There are new flats in the grounds now as well as the main hall bedrooms, enhancing the selling opportunities – perfect for my current role!

Since visiting I have already secured a hockey camp booking for the Hall (ideal with it being next to Weetwood playing fields that are managed by the University’s sports department) and potentially a government booking at the venue also.


Knowing the Hall as I do I am confident that they will all have a fantastic stay and that they’ll all enjoy a real Oxley Hall welcome!

Oxley Hall is our #venueofthemonth for February. You can find out more about Oxley Hall at