Cloth Hall Court

We’re very pleased to announce that the University has acquired a new city centre conference and meeting venue, Cloth Hall Court.

Cloth Hall Court has a very well established reputation as one of the best conference and meeting venues in Leeds. Offering a range of spaces including an impressive reception, multiple seminar rooms and break out areas, and ideally located in the heart of Leeds city centre opposite the train station, Cloth Hall Court will enable the University’s MEETin LEEDS team to provide an entirely new platform for meeting and conference organisers.

Cloth Hall Court

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming Cloth Hall Court to our roster of venues, and look forward to developing business at the venue and showcasing all that it has to offer”

Dennis Hopper, Director of Campus Development, commented: “The University of Leeds’ conference team pride themselves on high levels of customer service, putting customers at the heart of what they do, and Cloth Hall Court will complement our existing venue portfolio as well as helping to forge new links between the University, the City and our business partners. We are looking forward to working with existing and new customers.”

Inside work space of Cloth Hall Court

The Merchants’ Hall in Cloth Hall Court

Group posing with accessibility award

This year marked the third edition of the prestigious Academic Venue Awards, specifically crafted to bring together the best of the industry to share knowledge and highlight excellence that has been achieved over the last 12 months. The Academic Venue Conference and Awards took place on the afternoon of Friday 22nd November at the Victory Services Club in London.

group posing with award

Our team was recognised for ensuring that our academic venues are inclusive and accessible to all, taking home the 2019 Best Accessibility Award for the third year in a row. An event this year that best demonstrates the performance and versatility of our facility space was the Communication Matters National AAC Conference, which took place in September. This marks the 8th year that MEETinLEEDS has hosted the conference on campus, showcasing how the team continue to work closely with the organisers to meet their needs. The conference is the UK’s leading annual AAC event, with a diverse programme of plenaries, presentations and exhibitions held over two and a half days. What’s more, in preparation for the conference, the team at MEETinLEEDS all undertook important face-to-face training with the aim of helping trainees identify ‘good communication’. This award also follows the Early Adopter status for the Communication Access symbol that MEETinLEEDS were awarded with last year; a symbol dedicated to indicating spaces that are accessible for people with communication difficulties.

two women in conversation in exhibition hall

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for the hard work and dedication of our teams over the last 12 months with the Best Accessibility award. Our customers are our inspiration and they closely work with us, and with our wider teams, to ensure that we deliver facilities and services that enhance their delegates’ experience. The Academic Venues Awards provides a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work taking place across academic venues, and we’re extremely proud to sit alongside our friends from across the sector. “

Ian Robertson, Director of Residential and Catering services commented: “Winning this award recognises our commitment to providing equal and excellent service for our conference visitors.  Team members in the Facilities Directorate should be very proud of the work that they do to tailor services to meet the individual needs of different service users”.



AAC Awards sign on TV

The very first Communication Matters AAC Awards 2019 took place at the University of Leeds on Friday 11th October, as part of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness month. As the first of its kind, the awards ceremony celebrated the individuals,that use all forms of communication, their families, as well as the companies and professionals that provide support in these areas.

screen displaying AAC Awards signage

The evening celebrated nine award categories, crediting multiple winners for their hard work and dedication to the AAC community. The Research Award, which was created to recognise those that have made strides towards valuable research within the AAC sector, was scooped up by Professor Janice Murray due to her highly regarded research projects in the field of language, disability and AAC as well as her successful presentations at international conferences. Runners up of the award include Oliver Wendt and the I-ASC Project, which was managed under the leadership of award-winner Professor Janice Murray.

Janice Murray recieving the Research Award

a table dressed with wine glasses in ambiet light

The Outstanding Community Inclusion award was designed to celebrate those who have made exceptional contributions to AAC use within local communities across the country. CALL Scotland & Scottish Book Trust Partnership are the proud winners of the award, due to their hard work in creating accessible digital versions of the Bookbug Bag; meaning that three books are gifted to every Primary 1 child across the whole of Scotland, making resources for children with communication difficulties easy and accessible. Runners up include Sign Out Loud, who were recognised for the vital service that they provide, that not only enriches the lives of young adults and children with communication needs, but also makes Makaton signing an accessible and fun pastime for the whole of the Lancaster community.

Three women standing with an award

CALL Scotland & Scottish Book Trust Partnership are the proud winners of the Outstanding Community Inclusion award

Group on a stage signing a song in Makaton

Another stand-out category included the Rising Star award, which was awarded to 16-year-old Laith Ritchie for making such a significant impact on the lives of many AAC users over the past 12 months. Since attending the Communication Matters conference last year and listening to the ATmentor team share information about their role, Laith immediately registered his interest in working as an ATmentor himself, and by October 2018, he was volunteering on the team and demonstrating consistent hard work, commitment and an eagerness to learn. Runners up to the category include Amy Hanschell and Jemima Hughes, who showcased exceptional commitment and dedication to the AAC community.

Other awards include:

Setting of the Year Award
• Winner: ACE Centre
• Runners up: SCTCI and 1 Voice



Alan Martin Award
• Winner: John Larkins
• Runners up: Jodie Turner and Oli Cunningham

John Larkin posing with award

AAC Innovation Award
• Winner: Talking Mats
• Runner up: Debbie Jans and CODES


Student Award
• Winner: AT Therapy Mentors Team
• Runner up: Helen Paterson

Jamie Munro Award
• Winner: Anna Reeves
• Runner up: Marion Stanton

Anna Reeves took home the Jamie Munro award

Lifetime Achievement Award
• Paul Hawes

Paul Hawes won the Lifetime Achievement award

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager from MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the very first AAC awards with Communication Matters was such a huge success. It’s wonderful to be able to honour those within the AAC community and we would like to congratulate the many winners from the evening. We look forward to working with Communication Matters on future award ceremonies!”

Helen Whittle, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Communication Matters, commented: “We’re over the moon with the response to the recent AAC Awards ceremony. We believe in celebrating the dedication and commitment of those who work so hard within the AAC sector, and these awards created the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. We’re so grateful for all of the work that MEETinLEEDS have dedicated to the awards ceremony to help it run so smoothly, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate those within the AAC community in future award ceremonies.”

Emma and Hannah smiling
Healthy Week 2018
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