Staff Away Day

We are experts when we are organising your conferences and events, but how would we get on with our staff away day? Find out here…


Every January the staff members in the commercial arm of the University of Leeds get together to celebrate the successes of the previous year, give out the Spotlight Awards for outstanding contributions to the services, and most importantly play some games!

Obviously, it is the responsibility of the experts at MEETinLEEDS to organise the event; from booking the guest speaker and marketing the event to arranging the delicious lunch prepared by our talented team of chefs.

Over to Emma, Conference Sales Executive at MEETinLEEDS, with a breakdown of the morning activities:

“This year’s team away day took place on site at the University. Two venues were used over the day – The Refectory and the Rupert Beckett Lecture theatre, which is the main lecture theatre in Michael Sadler Building. These are two of our most popular and well used venues as part of any conference, so we knew the tried and tested venues would serve us proud.

“Excellent energy and enthusiasm from all staff, loved Alex Mcphail’s motivational speech and a great opportunity to meet colleagues from other departments.”

The day started in the Refectory with bacon sandwiches, pastries, fresh coffee and a good selection of fruit for those who hadn’t given up on their diet 2 days after the Christmas break! We then made our way over to the Rupert Beckett lecture theatre and took our seats for the morning. As we work in the conference sales office it is not usual that we get to spend the day in a lecture theatre and we were surprised at how comfy the seating was – everyone also had a great view of the screen and the presenters due to the tiered seating. Between listening to motivational speaker Alex McPhail (highly recommended), updates from management, awards and hearing about the great work we have done for our staff chosen charities, there was time to stretch our legs, grab a drink in the foyer and network with colleagues from other departments.”

Mike, Sales and Marketing Assistant for our partners Great Food at Leeds, said:

“We were spoilt for choice when it came to the catering for the away day with our team of award winning chefs drawing on their years’ of experience as we enjoyed a fantastic selection of dishes.

Preparing three meal options for over 160 people could seem quite daunting but not for our catering team who do this and much more every day! On the day we were treated to three of the new dishes that are going to be appearing on the Refectory menus this term.

The food was definitely one of the highlights to a fantastic event and plenty of us even helped ourselves to a second helping!

Here is the menu for the day, which you could also experience if you book an event with MEETinLEEDS!”

Main Courses

  • Cajun dusted Salmon, Pan fried with Sour Cream, Tomato Chilli Salsa & Guacamole
  • Chicken wild mushroom & Spinach Stroganoff with Creamy Paprika Sauce
  • Griddled Halloumi, Sweet Potato Bhaji, Coriander Dahl & baby Naan Bread


Away-Day-CateringSides & Salads

  • Braised Rice/New Potatoes
  • Selection of Green Vegetables
  • Plum Tomato & Roast Pepper Salad
  • Pesto Pasta Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Mixed leaves with Lemon Olive Oil dressing



  • Liquorice Crème Brulee with Sugar Shortbread
  • Warm Plum, Apple & Blackberry Crumble & Custard
  • Fresh Fruit Platter

Find out more about the variety of dishes available on a daily basis in the Refectory on the Great Food at Leeds website.

After lunch the Refectory was transformed into a quiz arena (it is the chameleon of our venue portfolio), where Lisa, also a Conference Sales Executive at MEETinLEEDS, will talk you through her favourite part:

MEETinLEEDS-Team“For the afternoon we were in the hands of the team at Chillisauce, who are also experts at creating fun and engaging team activities, and split us into 20 groups and hosted a version of the Generation Game, which tested our knowledge on just about everything, including how many plums you can fit into a welly!

The afternoon was great fun and it was brilliant to experience an event one of our own venue, as I am normally booking events rather than attending them! It was great to be on the stage that has been graced by some amazing artists over the years. The Who famously recorded “Live at Leeds” here, but to name a few others: Elton John, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, The Jam, U2, Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Kasabian and many more.”

The overall consensus from the attendees was that the event was a great success, with comments such as:

“Excellent energy and enthusiasm from all staff, loved Alex Mcphail’s motivational speech and a great opportunity to meet colleagues from other departments.”

“Really nice to see everyone and network. The food throughout the day was awesome!”

“Being a relatively new member of staff was good getting together out of work with others. Lovely food too!”

“I found the day to be a good balance and a great opportunity for staff to feel valued with the Spotlight Awards.”

“The programme was highly motivational and a great avenue for staff interaction. The whole day showed how highly staff are valued.”

“Brilliant for motivation team spirit. A brilliant day at work!”



We can’t wait for next year’s event – roll on 2017!


Call us on 0113 343 6100 or send us an email to organise a fun and informative event for you and your colleagues.

Tash Meet in Leeds

What takes 13 days, 3 exhibitions, 6 drink receptions, 4 conference dinners, 1658 delegates & a partridge in a pear tree*?

Is this the latest edition of a Tom Cruise franchise, I hear you ask…

No, this is another successful conference season facilitated by MEETinLEEDS Event Managers in collaboration with Great Food at Leeds.


Aside from being about egg box creations, Bank Holidays & lots of chocolate – Easter is one of the busiest times for the University in terms of conferences and events and this year was no different. The conference team facilitated 8 conferences ranging from the well-known University’s Suppliers Easter Fair to the I-can’t-even-hope-to-understand likes of the 11th Photovoltaic Science, Application & Technology Conference.

What our team lacks in photovoltaic knowledge we make up for in the specialist knowledge of conference facilitation.

Thankfully, what our team lacks in photovoltaic knowledge we make up for in the specialist knowledge of conference facilitation. With so many events taking place over the same few days it is especially important that we ensure all visitors know exactly where they are meant to be and when, so that they have the best possible journey to their conference and welcome from the University which we call home!

Our team are dedicated to ensure that each conference has a fantastic experience on the University campus and hope that in the future if they can return to us, they do.

But don’t take my word for it, check out our twitter feed @meetinleeds.  Here are just a few comments which have been tweeted this Easter:


So if you have a conference or event you need help with (and Ethan Hunt isn’t available) turn Mission Impossible into MEETinLEEDS and give us a shout.

*** This blog post will self destruct in 5 seconds ***


*fabricated for comic purposes.

Food for life catering gold

MEETinLEEDS are delighted to have hosted the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges’ (EAUC) Annual Conference this year. From March 24th – 25th 2015, 300 delegates came together on Campus under the theme of “challenging connections” in order to learn more about the how sustainability can be considered in all connections of tertiary education.

In addition to keynote speakers, the event encompassed a series of informative workshops and exhibitions for delegates. Three venues were chosen by the organising team to cater to EAUC’s event needs: The spacious 1800sqm interlinked Exhibition Halls, the adjacent Conference Auditorium and the Roger Stevens Building. Not only are the Auditorium and Roger Stevens Building purpose built for lectures and therefore ideally equipped for talks and meetings, but all three venues are in close proximity to each other. This made movement between the exhibition and workshops easy for delegates.

PrintAnother venue delegates frequented was the University’s Refectory, where a specially tailored menu designed by our in-house chefs from Great Food at Leeds was served at the conference gala dinner. Highlighting ethically sourced and local produce, this menu reflects the University’s dedication to sustainable conferences down to the last bite and was awarded the Gold Standard Catering Mark by the Soil Association.

Jessica Martin, from the University’s Sustainability Team, was pleased to see all the work that had gone into managing the event: “As a delegate, it was great to see that sustainability had been embedded throughout the organisation of the conference; from the locally sourced and seasonal menu to the introduction of an App to discourage too many paper programmes. There were sustainable suppliers encouraging delegates to think about the credentials of their own organisations, and Leeds provided the perfect setting to critically engage with sustainability issues across the sector”.

Through carefully considering the EAUC’s needs and sharing each other’s values, the MEETinLEEDS Events Team are proud to have delivered this conference successfully.

Harriet Boatwright, MEETinLEEDS Sales & Marketing Manager, said: “It was great to be a key facilitator in the delivery of such a successful conference. It’s really important to us to deliver a great experience for both the organisers and the delegates and based on the feedback we received we seem to have ticked all the right boxes. However, conferencing for us is not two dimensional; we also learned a lot, and shared stories and experiences with both the organisers and also the exhibitors and delegates alike. We are even talking now to some of the exhibitors on how we, as a University conference service, can be more sustainable in our activities”.


If you would like to find out more about holding a sustainable conference at the University of Leeds please contact our team and we’ll be pleased to help.

The Exhibition Centre-Venue, Exhibition Layout

MEETinLEEDS are proud to welcome the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) to the University this week as they held their Annual Conference on our campus.

Under the title ‘Challenging Connections’, the 2015 EAUC Annual Conference offers 3 separate Summits alongside the full packed main Conference Programme which is utilising our Exhibition Centre,  Roger Stevens Building and Conference Auditorium to maximise their event.  The Student Sustainability Summit, held the day before, was held on campus at Leeds University Union.


Our Exhibition Centre comprises of two interlinking halls providing almost 1800sqm of open plan exhibition space.


The conference is also making use of our iconic Refectory to host their Gala Dinner and our team of award-winning chefs, from Great Food at Leeds, are proud to have created a special menu that was awarded the Gold Standard Catering Mark by the Soil Association for their use of ethical and environmentally friendly food and locally sourced ingredients.

The University’s Sustainability Team has also played an active role in the event and was instrumental in helping and guiding our Events Team as they tailored the conference to suit the needs of the EAUC.


If you would like to find out more about holding an event at the University of Leeds please contact our team and we’ll be pleased to help.

Tash and Alan

I had the pleasure of being the Conference Manager of the AKTIVE 2014 (Advancing Knowledge of Telecare for Independence and Vitality in later lifE) conference at the University of Leeds on 8th and 9th April 2014. Financed by the Technology Strategy Board, the project is led by CIRCLE (Centre for Care, Labour and Equalities) at the University of Leeds, with partners Oxford Institute of Population Ageing at the University of Oxford, Tunstall Healthcare (UK) Ltd and Inventya Ltd.

The main conference took place in the Leeds University Business School, along with an exclusive exhibition and conference dinner in the venue of the month for May: the Refectory.

Plenary sessions at the event included a spot on the place of technology within an assisted lifestyle by Professor Heinz Wolff (Emeritus Professor of Bioengineering and Doctor of Science, Brunel University) and Esther Rantzen CBE, who, as founder of The Silver Line, addressed delegates under the title “Old Age is not for Cissies”.


Tasha and Alan – The Dream Team!

Tasha and Alan- The Dream Team!

The conference was Event Managed by me and Alan Gallacher, and with the focus on a demographic that is not traditionally catered for in either conferencing or mainstream technology, the planning and execution of the event was very rewarding. As the project is a charity we did encounter budgetary challenges, which we overcame through careful planning and a constant dialogue with the client. However, this did not compromise the quality of the event; a delicious lunch from the new Deli(very) Summer Specials menu (Summer Picnic on day 1, A Taste of Summer on day 2), a Gala Dinner with wine reception, poster sessions, orchestras, famous speakers, exhibitions, and much more. With MEETinLEEDS you really do get bang for your buck!

The use of new technology, such as using Google+ “Hangouts” to broadcast plenary sessions and hosting the Leeds Citizens Orchestra during the conference dinner are new and exciting challenges for us. The excitement was reciprocated by the Citizens Orchestra, as they had the opportunity to grace the same stage as The Who did for “Live at Leeds”.

At its heart, the Aktive project focused upon better knowledge and understanding of individual needs, and how telecare products & services can be designed and installed to optimise those needs. Elderly participants recognised that telecare helped them to hold onto highly valued aspects of their lives, and to preserve their character as an active, independent or capable person by retaining a sense of self and confidence. As part of a wider support network, telecare gave users the confidence to try new activities that they previously found difficult. As people nowadays generally live longer, how society reacts to the needs of its senior members is an issue that is in the media zeitgeist, such as The Silver Line, Age UK and Sport Relief. The positive impacts of telecare, such as feeling safer and more connected to others, a greater sense of confidence to self-manage many aspects of their own care, and strengthening their ties with friends and neighbours are aspects of getting older that I rarely (if ever) thought about. This made me consider about the challenges which my older relatives face on a daily basis and the technological advances that are now available to assist them, which I have been sharing with my family at every gathering!

Sue Yeandle, project Director and Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds summed up my thoughts succinctly: “Aktive’s research clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done by health and wellbeing boards to make full use of telecare which can have a positive effect on the lives of older people. But so much more could be achieved if telecare was integrated into campaigns around health and social care.”

The MEETinLEEDS team managed a number of events over our busy Easter season, so click to find out what we have been up to!

If you would like to enquire about hosting a managed event please contact our Sales Team at or 0113 343 6100.

Sign post

As denizens of the City of Leeds for in excess of a century between us, the MEETinLEEDS team is as well acquainted with the “Jewel on the Aire” as any Leodiensian (all but one of us were born and bred in Yorkshire; Matt hails from over the Pennines). We thought we could make the most of our hard earned knowledge by sharing some of our favourite places to visit in Leeds with you, our lucky reader.

If you are attending a conference held at the University of Leeds, are new to the city, need some inspiration, or visiting for any reason you could do worse than try one (or all!) of our suggestions. However, the list is not exhaustive (and are all based on personal experience and preferences, and in no way reflect any affiliation with the University of Leeds) so feel free to explore and enjoy the vibrant home of the Loiner.

1.    Marks & Spencer Penny Bazaar

Michael Marks arrived in Leeds as a Belarusian refugee, selling goods for a penny on the Leeds Kirkgate Market in 1884. By 1998, the Marks & Spencer Company became the first British retailer to make a pre-tax profit of over £1 billion, employing 82,000 people in 2013.

Marks__Spencer_original_penny_bazaar_24th_June_20131In March 2013 Marks & Spencer went back to where it all began and re-opened the Penny Bazaar on Leeds Kirkgate Market, selling memorabilia and selected product lines (though, unfortunately, not for a penny).

Visit the store and get a sense of the history that surrounds this British institution, and while you are there you can stroll around and grab a bargain, a bite to eat (I heartily recommend the Caribbean Café; jerk chicken and mac cheese is the perfect way to middle a day) or just mill around the largest indoor market in Europe.

Off the Beaten Track: If you want to know more about the history of M&S, their Company Archive has a collection of over 70,000 historic items and was unveiled at the Michael Marks Building in March 2012. Well worth a visit if you are on campus, the staff are very knowledgeable and best of all it is free!

2.    Whitelock’s Ale House

WHITELOCKS3484Is a visit to a new city complete unless it includes a visit to a local public house? Of course not is the answer, and in the home of John and Samuel Smith you are spoilt for choice. You could go for a no nonsense pint at the Fenton (apparent location for the formation of Leeds music scene legends Gang of Four), which is a mere foxtrot from the Parkinson steps, to a Taittinger soaked soiree at Épernay, where champagne flows by the Nebuchadnezzar.

But what better way to enjoy a flagon of the local brew than in Leeds’ oldest pub: the ubiquitous Whitelock’s Ale House. Situated in Turks Head Yard (the original name of the establishment until 1867 when John Lupton Whitelock put his name to the licence and above the bar) the dark wood and leather décor is highlighted by the multitude of mirrors and polished brass, illuminated by stained glass windows through which the milky light from the alley seeps in.

If Whitelock’s makes us come over all poetic, it is because it was a favourite haunt of the poet John Betjemen, who described it as “the Leeds equivalent of Fleet Street’s Old Cheshire Cheese and far less self-conscious, and does a roaring trade. It is the very heart of Leeds.” It has changed very little since Betjeman’s stint propping up the bar and is all the better for it.

Off the Beaten Track: The Reliance Bar & Dining Room is a 2 minute walk from the city centre but is perfect for an unpretentious pre-theatre dinner. Local ales, local food and home-cured charcuterie are their specialities, with a short but well-chosen wine list served by friendly and accommodating staff. The Pigs Cheeks are highly recommended for the adventurous diner.

3.    Trinity Leeds

Leeds has always been a bastion of shopping in the north. The Victoria Quarter is impressive not only for the amount of designer shops making their out of London debuts but also for the striking architecture. Built around 1900, designed by a theatre architect, the Burmantofts Pottery exterior is painstakingly detailed in a way that is oft neglected in new constructions.


Trinity-LeedsHowever, on 21 March 2013 Trinity Leeds opened, with a roof design that mimics the glass panelled roof of the Victoria Quarter while simultaneously blowing it out of the water with its sheer scale. The dome consists of 1902 panels over an area of 40,000 square feet and is large enough to fit the former centre of Leeds trade, the Corn Exchange, with room to spare. Under this monolith are 120 stores in which you can shop until no longer bipedally stable, safe in the knowledge that the Yorkshire weather cannot ruin the experience. When the time comes to refuel the Trinity Kitchen plays host to a carousel of eateries (some permanent, some temporary street food vans) to cater to any taste bud impulse.

It might not be a secret, but good things rarely are.

Off the Beaten Track: The Corn Exchange is very much on the beaten track, but if you hunt around the area you will discover some independent vintage clothes shops where bargains can still be found. If you are looking to add to your music collection, Crash Records and Jumbo Records are perfect places to while away the hours, flipping through the LP’s in the hunt for that first edition Wu-Tang Clan 36 Chambers, or whatever makes your particular vessel buoyant.

4.    The Refectory

Yes, it is one of our venues. Yes, we are slightly biased. Yes, we do realise that everyone who is anyone knows “Who” played there for their seminal “Live at Leeds” album. But when you are privy to a piece of local history you are entitled to shout about it. So we do.

Ian-DuryJust walking around the Refectory you can take in the history, the placards on the wall recalling historic moments that occurred within the confines of the main catering outlet at the University. Every day on my way to work I am greeted by the grimace of Ian Dury; waltz past Elton John; rub shoulders with Brian Ferry. Anyone and everyone are welcome to visit the Refectory and soak up the atmosphere while tucking into some of the delicious food on offer.

Nostalgia is not the only reason to visit the Refectory; it also serves as a venue to many gigs and is the main venue for the Live at Leeds annual festival, held on the May Bank Holiday. Up and coming local bands mingle with established acts to create an atmosphere that is as good – if not better – than any festival, without the need for wellies and face wipes (well, that is dependent on the weather holding out) and with easy access to the finer things in life (eating lunch with metal cutlery springs to mind).

No visit to Leeds is complete without closing your eyes in front of the stage area of the Refectory. With the right ears the clang of chords that open “Substitute” will resonate around the columns.

Off the Beaten Track: For filling food look no further than Fuji Hiro. A traditional Japanese noodle bar where value and gastrointestinal fulfilment are at the fore in a relaxed Formica-table dining-room. The dumplings are a delight. For music lovers the Belgrave Music Hall is a must, with great bands on most nights of the week and a New-York-style roof terrace, though the views are decidedly un-Manhattan. The canteen serves slices of pizza that would be at home on Fifth and 53rd.

5.    City Varieties Music Hall

Leeds City Varieties may be well known to our, ahem, older readers who enjoyed music hall and saw “The Good Old Days” between 1953 and 1983 on the BBC. After a major refurbishment in 2009, the theatre reopened in 2011 with the link to the excellent White Swan Inn re-established, making it a perfect hidden alternative to the elaborate and vertigo-inducing Grand Theatre.


City Varieties neon

Nowadays the music hall plays host to a litany of comedians, shows, orchestras, and popular music concerts. The intimate setting (just 467 seats in total) and virtually unchanged interior make this a piece of living history, while other music halls have crumbled and faded.

The theatre is listed at #3 on the attractions to visit in Leeds on TripAdvisor, so book early to avoid disappointment!

Off the Beaten Track: Hyde Park Picture House is another blast from the past, a real old school cinema where you can take a bottle of beer to your seat on the balcony and watch either a new release or a screening of a classic (I was fortunate enough to catch Dr Strangelove 37 years after its big screen debut). Well worth a visit and is just a 5 minute walk from the University campus.

Stay in Leeds!

Now that you’ve read about our favourite places in Leeds why not come and see them for yourself?  We have bedrooms available from just £44!*

Find out more on our Short Breaks page.


*at time of published article
Suppliers Meet in Leeds

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

Lollo Rosso Salad

Here at MEETinLEEDS our goal is to provide a conference and events service that doesn’t compromise our commitment to a sustainable University, as outlined in the Sustainability Strategy.

There are two areas that we have a direct impact on: the accommodation we offer for Residential Conferences and our partnership with Great Food at Leeds for the catering at events around the campus.

Lollo Rosso being harvested locally for our salad

Lollo Rosso being harvested locally for our salad

Our services blend the Living It Green campaign of Residential Services with the Great Food at Leeds policy of procuring ethical and sustainable food; with 65% of our suppliers being within 40 miles of the University (the bread served at the Refectory is baked by Fosters, which is a stone’s throw from where I grew up. The smell of freshly baked ice fingers sends me on a trip down memory lane akin to that described by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Things Past). If you don’t think that this is very impressive, have a look at the origin of the items you fill your shopping basket with the next time you are at the super market: cucumber and rocket from Spain; tomatoes from Morocco; broccoli from Italy; lamb from New Zealand; the list is endless. The number of miles your food travels from origin to your mouth can be compared to that of the tennis balls used at Wimbledon (which were formerly made in my home town, not that I am trying to plug the fine place that is Barnsley!). Our support of, and reliance on, the local community and suppliers is just one of the many aspects that set us apart from the competition.

Both Residential Services and Commercial Services have signed up to membership of the internationally recognised Green Tourism Business Scheme. We currently have 10 service locations registered with the scheme, with 5 of our operational locations subject to an annual environmental audit.

All of our locations have been awarded either a Gold or Silver standard, which demonstrates our understanding of the importance of sustainable development and that the strategies and measures we have in place to guide our performance have us well on the way to becoming a Sustainable University.

If you are interested in planning a conference or event with strong environmental content MEETinLEEDS can offer the following:


Thanks to Mike Leonard, Property Manager, Residential Services, at the University of Leeds who provided the information for this article.