Reflection on an ‘EVENT’ful year – 2019
First, we would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and hope 2020 brings much happiness and allows you the opportunity to create many new memories!
2019 – Was an extremely busy one for Birch Associates Events, with some very memorable occasions along the way.
Forgive us for mentioning primarily, our Award for ‘Best Small Business’ at the Best in Business Awards, hosted by Newbury Weekly News, at Newbury Racecourse. We were shortlisted finalists in 2 categories – ‘Best Small Business’ and ‘Best Regional Event’, the latter for the Christmas Market that we host at Douai Pavilion. We were delighted to be joined at the Award’s Ceremony by one of our sponsors, Savills, who have supported the business from its inception. It meant a great deal to us, when it was announced we were winners of the Small Business Award, but equally to be runners up in the Regional Event Category, to Newbury Show and the Corn Exchange, was just as rewarding. The culmination of all the hard work and long hours that we have put into developing the business over the last 3 years.
We launched Birch Associates Events, in April 2016, so just over 3 years down the line, it is really rewarding to see the business going from strength to strength. Not only are we continuing to build on the types of events, that we offered in the early stages of our development, but also diversify into new areas.
Although many of you are most familiar with the events that we host at Douai Pavilion or on a private basis, in the rural countryside of West Berkshire, we are also extremely busy organising events on a National and Global scale.
Every year we are involved with the organisation of the Food and Farming Awards held at The House of Commons. Not only do we source, interview and compile profiles for entrants, for all 10 categories, across the UK, Sue is also a judge on the esteemed judging panel. In addition, she writes the scripts for the programme and the compère for the Awards Ceremony Celebration, as she has done for the last 6 years. 2019 was one of our most successful years to date, with the standard of entries being higher than ever before.
We also assist annually with the event set-up and delivery of the Cream Awards, held in Birmingham, hosting 300 guests from the Farming Industry, across all regions of the UK. 2019 was another spectacular event, but also thought provoking, with the many changes ahead facing this industry.
The Award Ceremonies allow us to illustrate a different dimension to the portfolio of services we can provide within the Events Arena.
September 2019 saw 3 years of planning come to fruition, with the hosting of the Global Garden Centre Association Congress in Windsor. From organising the luxury accommodation, travel arrangements and a non-stop week of high-profile activities, to catering arrangements and dietary requirements for each attendee, Birch Associates Events hosted 250 delegates from 19 different countries around the world. What a fabulous week, some very special friendships forged, and spectacular venues visited.
Through our involvement with this event, we were also approached to organise the UK Conference for the Garden Centre Association. Again approximately 250 delegates, but this time, delegates were from around the UK. A less hectic schedule was organised for the 4 days in January, at Luton Hoo Country Hotel and Spa. We are now in the midst of finalising the details for this year’s conference, at the end of January, to be hosted at the Grand Hotel in Bristol. We have also been approached to create a year of 50th Birthday Celebrations throughout 2020, for a large corporate business based in Manchester/London.
On a more local basis, throughout 2019, we organised many private functions – Weddings, Celebratory Parties, Birthdays, Wedding Anniversaries etc. which we really enjoyed as each one was so different and bespoke to the client’s individual requirements. From organising the catering, bar, music preferences (live or DJ), stunning decorations, flowers and props, marquees, modes of transport and MUCH more, each event took on its own identity.
Douai Pavilion and Park
And so, to our Events Programme at Douai Pavilion and Park. This year was our most successful to date, with client-based events, whether that be Corporate or private, including such occasions as the above and School social functions and Memorial Wakes. Birch Associates Events have now been the licensees and Event Company at this venue since it opened and we have built a Community Programme of Events that we run throughout the year, which has contributed to a great community spirit developing in the surrounding locality. The weather was certainly on our side and what a fabulous Easter Fun Day we had, with all the traditional family games, such as egg and spoon race and wheelbarrow race and BBQ and bar extending into the evening!! Just lovely to see so many families relaxing and having fun. The Open – Air Cinema sold out and Top Gun proved to be a great hit, especially with our own ‘Tom Cruise’ performing songs from the movie prior to the film!! Once again, the Christmas Market, started the Christmas festivities off in style, with some unique stalls, Santa’s Grotto and fantastic performances from local choirs and performers. A record number of attendees (3000) for our 3rd year of organising this event. Summer Friday Night Bars, Quiz Nights, Supper Nights and our Christmas Party Night also proved to be very popular.
The great thing about the Community Events, is that it enables us to raise money for charities, through raffles and auctions etc. Throughout 2018/19 we are delighted to have been able to raise over £16,000 for several different charities, including Douai Pavilion and Park, CLIC Sargent, Naomi House and Jack’s Place, Woolhampton Church spire fund, Help for Heroes, British Legion and several more. Very soon, we will be visiting Naomi House and spending time with the children to see how some of the money we have raised helps to improve their quality of life.
At this point, we would like to say a BIG thank you to our sponsors, as without their support we would not be able to host some of the events we do and raise so much money for charity. During 2019, they included Savills, Rosebourne, West Berkshire Brewery, Kawasaki, Bacardi and Taittinger. Also special thanks to everyone who donated raffle and auction prizes.
The Year Ahead
2019 saw the launch of our new website, designed and hosted by Dolia. We are really pleased with the new look and feel of this and received some great feedback.
2020 is already looking busy and January has seen many new enquiries for the months ahead. We are really looking forward to working with many of you on both Private and Corporate functions, but also a new and exciting Programme of Public Community Events to be held at Douai.
For further details regarding the full range of services we provide please take a look at our website or telephone 07501 011442.
Sue and Katie