The Priory Rooms news site_dscpn Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:32:00 +0000 Meet - Northfield Eco-Centres New Director Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:32:00 +0000 Northfield Eco-centre, set in the heart of urban Northfield, offers practical and inspiring ideas on how to green up your lifestyle, home or business, whatever the size and budget.

The Priory Rooms, whose profits help support the project, are thrilled to hear the Eco-centre is going from strength to strength. With exciting new initiatives being launched in 2015 we chatted to the company's new Director Michael Addison.


"I am thrilled to be overseeing the development and implementation of a new strategy at the Eco-centre which will explore ways to grow our impact and influence over the coming years. We hope to develop our work further afield without losing the important work we do in Northfield. It is an exciting time at the Eco-centre as we explore various partnerships across the city that could lead to interesting projects, around energy advice and monitoring, managing retrofit projects, waste reduction, local currencies or even a social enterprise!"

"Right now the team have been thoroughly enjoying creating a brand new Community Garden at, and in partnership with, Allens Cross Community Centre. We are also extending our very popular forest schools activities with our Ecokids, Ecotots and Wild Bunch sessions."

"I am delighted to join Northfield Eco-centre, bringing my experience from a variety of sectors to help the project expand and meet future goals. I was Artistic Director of a community and education theatre company in Yorkshire for 12 years. I then ran a Debt Advice Centre in Bristol, followed by teaching in Higher Education before taking up my previous role at the Arts Council in Birmingham in 2010. I am also a trustee of Birmingham Botanical Gardens and TinBox Theatre. I am really looking forward to starting this new venture in Northfield."

"Quirky fact about me, I suffer from owning a Beagle!"

Details about the wide range of green services, activities and events run by Northfield Eco-centre are on their website

Meet the Metro; Making Birmingham the Place to Meet Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:48:00 +0000 The Priory Rooms Meeting & Conference Centre, in Birmingham’s Business District, is highly-anticipating the launch of the Metro extension. Running through Birmingham city centre the new line will create a direct link between Snow Hill and New Street train stations and join the Metro to the Cross City Line and other main routes.

With a Metro stop right outside The Priory Rooms’ front door, Business Development Manager Beth Sadler expects that this fast, easy transport to and across the city centre in addition to the transformed retail and hospitality industry will make Birmingham the top destination for meetings and events!

Meet-the-Metro.jpgBirmingham is bright, booming and brilliant, says Beth! It’s never been so exciting to work in the city centre. Everyone is beaming with pride as nearly £1 billion worth of investment comes to life. 2015 is Birmingham’s year to boast! The New Street station refurbishment with the Grand Central Shopping Centre featuring a flagship John Lewis store; the redevelopment of the Mailbox and Bullring Selfridges; and the new Resorts World set to be the biggest leisure and entertainment destination in the UK and the whole of Western Europe, have all transformed the look and feel of Birmingham. The revitalised city is attracting more business and tourism than ever before!

Beth and everyone at The Priory Rooms have been thrilled to share with colleagues across the meeting and conference rooms industry an incredible rise in bookings. Beth believes it is because Birmingham has become a UK hot spot for business growth, cultural development and investment. Major national businesses have set up offices in the Business District and over 18,000 new businesses were registered in Birmingham during 2014, more than any other city outside of London. In the same year foreign investment was higher than all the other LEP areas in the UK and international flight routes to Birmingham airport have been increased due to demand. With such a buzz in the city it was inevitable Birmingham was voted the most popular conference and event destination in the UK outside London in the British Meetings and Events Industry 2014 survey.

But surely this is just the start for booming Birmingham? Beth thinks. The new Metro extension, due to open this autumn, is only set to enhance the attractiveness of meeting in the city. It will connect even more commuters from across the country to Birmingham city centre and offer them a quick and easy way to travel through the area. The project, costing of £127 million, includes a new depot at Wednesbury and fleet of trams. Snow Hill train station will feature a £9 million viaduct with trams travelling through the city centre to New Street train station via The Priory Rooms on Bull Street and Corporation Street. In the next 5 years it will be extended to Centenary Square and along Broad Street and a second route is being planned to the International Airport and NEC. With the trams designed to evolve how people travel around Birmingham, they are estimated to bring 3.5 million passengers a year into the city’s business district, with 1,500 city centre jobs being created and a regional economic growth of £50 million a year. Alongside the outstanding retail and hospitality developments, providing a vast choice of quality accommodation, conference space, shops, restaurants and bars, Birmingham will simply be the place to meet.

With connected and competitive Birmingham set to attract more meeting and conference bookings than ever before the retail and hospitality industry are ready! Beth exclaims. The Priory Rooms have invested over £50,000 in their conferencing facilities to provide the top-quality services new customers to Birmingham expect. Most of the city’s hospitality industry have done the same, knowing the improved transport links to Birmingham from across the country make it a practical place to hold business meetings. The Priory Rooms are excited to have a Metro stop outside their front door enabling customers to easily get to their venue. With a great choice of shops, bars, restaurants and hotels on the doorstep, customers can experience the best of Birmingham after their meetings. The team look forward to welcoming more new customers through their doors!

Beth concludes, meet in Birmingham to meet the Metro extension, connecting you to a transformed city centre. Travel through booming Birmingham and experience the new retail and hospitality offerings that will make you want to keep coming back.

Meet the Metro; making Birmingham the place to meet.

Sources; Marketing Birmingham, Birmingham Mail Online

Priory Rooms Presented Gold Award for Business Recycling Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:55:00 +0000 The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre are delighted to receive the prestigious First Mile Gold Award for their outstanding achievements in recycling paper, plastic, card and food.

TPR-2014-Gold-Certificate.jpgThe Priory Rooms, in Birmingham city centre, are committed to sustainable and eco-friendly business policies. Their remarkable repertoire of initiatives includes recycling paper, card and plastic, providing delegates with bio-degradable doggy boxes; serving “meat-Free Monday” lunch buffets; “toilet twinning” to donate latrines across Africa; using harvested rain water to flush the toilets; and most recently decomposing their food waste! These highly-commendable eco-conscious efforts have been praised with an impressive Gold Award by their recycling contractors First Mile.

The Priory Rooms team are enthusiastic eco-warriors! Daily they work hard to recycle as much waste as possible from the busy nine meeting and conference rooms. Whether it’s the recycled paper provided for delegates and the office, or the 100% compostable and biodegradable “plastic cups” made with plant starch, to the fair-trade sugar sachets, it is all bagged to be collected by First Mile for recycling.

Throughout 2014 The Priory Rooms team have gone that extra mile, enthusiastically embracing the food waste recycling initiative! Introduced last June, all food waste is collected by First Mile who take it to an Anaerobic Digestion site in Staffordshire. The AD process coverts food waste into energy, heat and bio-fertiliser. The site even has a connection to the National Grid so the 1.3MW of green electricity produced each year from the biogas they process on site can be directly fed to the grid.

This was no easy initiative to put in place by The Priory Rooms! The idea came about when in 2013 they were delighted to receive a Silver Award from First Mile, for recycling 2000kgs, saving 23 trees and off-setting 2.9 tonnes of CO2! However, The Priory Rooms’ Manager Andrew Callan was keen to set the bar higher for 2014 aiming for a Gold Award; the main accreditation being sustainably disposing of food waste. So Andrew set about discovering a way of achieving this! First Mile representative George Garrett was enthused by Andrew's interest and took it upon himself to make The Priory Rooms their first customer in Birmingham to have food waste collections!

Six months of impressive amounts of food waste being collected, alongside the many bags of recycling each week of the year, meant The Priory Rooms were thrilled be awarded First Mile’s highly-desired Gold Award for 2014. The final statistics were 5750kgs of recycling collected and 46 trees saved!

Andrew Callan said “I am delighted and so proud of the team. Thank you to them and our customers who help everyday with our recycling campaign. Of course this would not have been possible without the enthusiasm from First Mile enabling us to establish a food waste collection! Thank you so much!”

Lean more about The Priory Rooms environmental initiatives on the website and visit the First Mile website to discover how to become a greener business

If you would like to hold your next event at the eco-conscious Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre contact the highly experienced Bookings Team on 0121 236 2317 or email

Priory Rooms’ Catering Suppliers Delighted to Appoint New Sous Chef Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:34:00 +0000 The Priory Rooms have worked with Birmingham based catering supplier Just Good Food for over a decade, providing the busy meeting and conference centre with delicious buffets daily.

Over the years excellent service and high quality food have built a great friendship between the two businesses. The Priory Rooms were thrilled to hear the exciting news that a new sous chef had been appointed to bring even more creativity and experience to the successful catering team.

Louise-Martin-and-Lee-Goodgame-Just-Good-Food.jpgLee Goodgame, age 37, joins Just Good Food from The Peach Pub where he was a roving-sous-chef. He has worked in the catering industry for the past 18 years at numerous gastro pubs, restaurants and corporate catering companies in Hertfordshire, Birmingham and Sheffield. Lee joins Just Good Food following a positive year which has seen a number of new client wins including The REP and CBRE.

Lee, who has a passion for French cuisine and specialises in using traditional French flavours to reinvent British classics, is thrilled to be starting his new position; “Just Good Food is a fantastic company and having previously worked with them at business lunches and weddings I am delighted to be joining the team full time.”

“I’m a firm believer in using seasonal ingredients and simple flavours to create stand out dishes. Just Good Food has been founded on a similar philosophy and I’m very much looking forward to working with the team to develop some really exciting menus. It’s a great time to be a chef in Birmingham as the city continues to cement its position as a real culinary destination.”

Louise Martin, owner and managing director of Just Good Food, said: “We’re delighted to have Lee on board. He has an outstanding amount of experience and passion in the kitchen and has already displayed exceptional talent by helping us deliver a great service at our events since his appointment. He’s a fantastic addition to the Just Good Food team.”

Just Good Food was initially set up as a hobby alongside Louise’s full-time job in her parent’s hotel kitchen. Two decades later the business has gone from strength to strength providing catering for more than 500 events every year. Using locally sourced ingredients to create good quality, delicious and simple British food, they regularly supply The Priory Rooms and other professional and financial firms in Birmingham including Jones Lang LaSalle and Brewin Dolphin.

For more information about Just Good Food visit

Launch Day is A Hub of Activity! Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:40:00 +0000 The Peace Hub is the exciting new project created by the Central England Quakers charity; one of four which The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre profits contribute towards. Last month they celebrated their opening with a special launch day. Local representatives from faith groups, the public sector and peace workers attended to support the new community project.

During the day Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Mike Leddy and Lord Lieutenant Paul Sabapthy met local school children taking part in educational activities at the Peace Hub. These were led by the Central England Quakers' project Peacemakers who are based on the first floor above the Hub. Peacemakers work with local schools to help build more peaceful communities by delivering training to adults and children in skills such as peer mediation and conflict resolution. At the launch day the children enjoyed fun interactive workshops designing posters and playing games to learn about fair-trade. Fair-trade was the Peace Hubs’ first community campaign; including rallying support for a petition for local supermarkets to stock more fair-trade goods.

Peace-Hub-Launch-2.jpgOn the evening the High Sheriff for West Midlands Tim Watts and his wife joined a crowd of enthusiastic guests who work on peace and justice initiatives. The group watched an inspiring presentation outlining how the Peace Hub plan to promote their peace building projects in Birmingham by working with the local community. Held in The Priory Rooms' Main Meeting House, the guest speaker was Matthew Burnett-Stuart who introduced the Hubs' next campaign; conscientious objection. In 2014 Matthew was awarded one of three UK Peace worker placements funded by Quaker Peace and Social Witness to support organisations working for peace at the local, national and international level.

Peace-Hub-Launch-1.jpgPeter Doubtfire, the Peace Hub Co-ordinator, was overjoyed by the diverse group of people who came to the launch and the opportunity it had created to build new relationships within the local area, "Now that we are "officially launched", I'm looking forward to the Hub progressing and working with the community. I hope all that attended are too!"  

The Peace Hub is located next door to The Priory Rooms in the heart of Birmingham city centre. Pop in for a coffee to find out how to get involved!

Phone Co-op Calls Priory Rooms’ Service Excellent! Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:45:00 +0000 On Saturday 21st February The Phone Co-op held their annual AGM at The Priory Rooms in Birmingham city centre. Over 100 people attended the conference in The Priory Rooms’ Main Meeting House, featuring presentations on The Co-op’s Pay As You Go SIM cards and member engagement.

phonecop2.jpgThe all-day event was an opportunity for The Phone Co-op’s Board, members and colleagues to network, reflect on the year’s success and look at the new services being launched. The Phone Co-op is an independent consumer co-operative based in Chipping Norton, with offices in London and Manchester. Of all the businesses offering phone, broadband and mobile services The Phone Co-op are the only co-operative; run by a group of people united by shared values, shared ownership and democratically made decisions. The Phone Co-op chose The Priory Rooms for their AGM because it is a not-for-profit organisation committed to sustainable and ethical business policies. Easy to get to by public transport, The Priory Rooms’ Main Meeting House is a unique conference space for 200 delegates. The state of the art AV and PA equipment compliment the impressive staged area to deliver presentations from.

The AGM’s guest speaker was Joe Meir from Fairphone promoting The Phone Co-op’s ethical mobile phone-the first to put social values first. Fairphone is an android phone made with conflict free minerals, built in a factory with a worker-controlled welfare fund and it has a sustainable design.

phonecop2.jpgThroughout the day Joe also manned a stand in the foyer where he demonstrated the phone and answered questions form interested parties.

At the end of a thoroughly successful event Amanda Beard, Secretary, Membership & Co-operative Affairs Manager at The Phone Co-op Ltd who organised the AGM, praised The Priory Rooms saying “Thank you to the whole team for the excellent service.” The Phone Co-op staff and members were extremely impressed by the venue’s facilities and sustainable catering and refreshments!

The Priory Rooms’ highly-experienced Bookings Team can answer any enquiries about holding an AGM at the venue. Call them on 0121 236 2317 or email

More information about The Phone Co-op can be found on their website

Peace-makers, Faith Groups and Public Figures Attending the Launch of Birmingham’s Peace Hub! Mon, 23 Feb 2015 08:45:00 +0000 On Thursday 26th February Central England Quakers are celebrating the opening of Birmingham’s Peace Hub with a special all-day launch event. RSVP now to join guests working for peace and justice: from faith groups to public figures, all attending the open day and evening presentation!

The Peace Hub is the exciting new project created by the Central England Quakers charity; one of four which The Priory Rooms Meeting & Conference Centre profits contribute towards. Located in the heart of Birmingham city centre next door to The Priory Rooms the Hub first opened its doors in autumn 2014. On Thursday 26th February Central England Quakers are delighted to invite the public to the official launch event; celebrating the support received for the Hub’s work so far and to introduce their upcoming project.

cropped-Peace-Hub-sign-004.jpgThe Peace Hub is a centre for everyone who is in sympathy with the Quaker belief that a just and peaceful world is possible if we work together to make change in our own lives and to build local, national and international structures that support peace and justice. Everyone is welcome to pop into the Hub on Bull Street, Birmingham to escape the crush, get a cuppa and discover the exciting and varied ways they can help support this call for action.

The West Midlands Quaker Peace Education Project Peacemakers, who are also funded by Central England Quakers, are based on the first floor above the Hub. The group work in partnerships with local schools to help build more peaceful communities by delivering training to adults and children in skills such as peer mediation and conflict resolution.

Peacemakers are teaming up with the Hub on the launch event day to celebrate the success of the Hub’s recent campaign supporting Fair-trade. They have invited local school children to attend workshops about fair-trade at the Hub and design posters about the cause. Throughout the morning the Deputy Lord Mayor Mike Leddy will be meeting the school children and viewing their artwork. The public are warmly welcomed to join him. At 2pm come watch Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands Paul Sabapthy reveal the poster competition winner.

From 6.30pm you are invited to a thought-provoking and inspiring presentation about The Peace Hub being held at The Priory Rooms. Following a buffet and refreshments, join those working for peace and justice in the community: from NGOs like Responding to Conflict, local public figures including High Sheriff of West Midlands Tim Watts and representatives from faith communities, such as Paul Parker Recording Clerk of Britain Yearly Quaker Meeting. You are welcome to join the conversation on how Peace Hub plans to promote peace and justice in Birmingham and work with the local community.

The guest speaker of the evening is Matthew Burnett-Stuart who will be introducing the Hubs’ next campaign theme; conscientious objection. In 2014 Matthew was awarded one of three UK Peaceworker placements funded by Quaker Peace and Social Witness to support organisations working for peace at local, national and international level. 

The Hub’s next theme of conscientious objection is supporting the Central England Quakers “Faith and Action” exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; using original photographs, film, interviews and artefacts to tell the compelling stories of Quakers men and women during the First World War.

Join the evening celebration on Thursday 26th February by RSVPing to or 0121 238 2869. The Peace Hub is located on 41 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF

Make a Note of how Good The Priory Rooms Sound! Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:00:00 +0000 The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre, in the heart of Birmingham, have just purchased a beautiful new Yamaha U3 acoustic upright piano. The impressive instrument can be used for rehearsals or performances in the 1930’s oak-panelled Main Meeting House, which seats 200 people theatre style.

TPR-Piano.JPGThe new piano is free to use for any groups hiring the Main Meeting House for music rehearsals or performances. The unique style of the Main Meeting House and the venues city centre location makes it the perfect space for a show-stopping location!

The Priory Rooms’ regular customers the City of Birmingham Choir are thrilled with the new piano for their weekly rehearsals on a Tuesday evening.

For smaller groups the brand new Roland FP50 digital piano with full length 88 note keyboard, pedal and stand, is portable and practical for rehearsal in one of the Priory Rooms’ nine conference rooms. The venue is even open three weeknights and Saturdays to accommodate groups!

Oni.jpgEven more music to your ears will be that The Priory Rooms donated their old piano to Coventry Quaker Meeting House. Coventry Meeting then donated their previous piano to local charity Carriers of Hope who support destitute families in the region. The piano was generously given to schoolboy Oni Misomali so he could practice playing and singing at home. Oni was delighted and sent his thanks to Carriers of Hope “Thank you! I am practicing every day and hopefully one day I shall represent Carriers of Hope at a singing event”.

The Priory Rooms are thrilled that both theirs and Coventry Meeting House’s old pianos are being well-appreciated in new homes!

Find out more about Carriers of Hope on their website To enquire about hiring a rehearsal room at The Priory Rooms contact the Bookings Team on 0121 236 2317 or email

FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT 23rd February- 8th March Fri, 13 Feb 2015 11:30:00 +0000 This February The Priory Rooms are promoting Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 to our customers, staff, suppliers and the local community, to support and bring about positive change for millions of farmers and workers in developing counties.

Fairtrade.pngFairtrade Fortnight aims to encourage more shoppers and businesses to choose products that changes lives; reminding everyone of the dramatic difference Fairtrade makes and why it is still needed. 70% of the world’s food is produced by 500 million smallholder farmers yet many of them remain trapped in chronic poverty. Fairtrade ensures farmers across the developing world receive a fairer price for their work, as well as an additional Fairtrade Premium, used by farmers and workers to invest in their communities. The community then decides what the Premium is spent on, whether that’s building a new schools or hospital, or investing in better environmental business practices.

All year round The Priory Rooms provide delegates with Fairtrade refreshments for their meetings and conferences through our supplier Kingdom Coffee. We offer original and flavoured Clipper tea-bags, freshly prepared filtered coffee, sugar sachets and hot chocolate, all to be enjoyed with delicious ethically-sourced Walkers biscuits.

Our neighbours The Peace Hub are running a special campaign all throughout February to highlight the importance of buying Fairtrade. Pop in any weekday between 11:00 and 14:00 to have a friendly chat, relax with a complimentary cuppa and find out how you can take part in a simple action to help make the world a better place! The Peace Hub have partnered with the Carrs Lane Fairtrade Shop to stock lots of Fairtrade goods in the Hub to browse & buy.

They are also supporting the Fairtrade Foundations campaign for supermarkets to stock 100% Fairtrade bananas; Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and The Cooperative all do, but Tesco and Asda are lagging behind. Pop in to the Hub to sign their letter to local branches of Tesco and Asda, asking them to switch all their bananas to Fairtrade!

The Peace Hub is the latest project of Central England Quakers, supported by The Priory Room’s profits. Quakers believe that a just and peaceful world is possible if we work together to build local, national and international structures that support peace and justice. The Peace Hub is a centre for everyone who is in sympathy with this call to action: Quakers, the wider peace movement and the general public alike.

You can find out more about Fairtrade Fortnight and how to get involved in your local area at

Or through The Peace Hub located on 41 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF

Meet the New Peacemakers Team Member Phil Bence Wed, 04 Feb 2015 09:30:00 +0000 This January, The Priory Rooms’ Business Development Manager Beth Sadler met with Peacemakers’ new team member Phil Bence to find out about his role and the team’s 2015 plans.

Phil-Bence.jpg Peacemakers is one of four projects created by the Central England Quakers charity which The Priory Rooms’ profits help support. The team work in partnerships with local schools to help build more peaceful school communities by delivering training to adults and children in skills such as peer mediation and conflict resolution.

They recently re-located office to the heart of Birmingham city centre on Bull Street, next door to The Priory Rooms. With Phil also joining the team, it was an ideal time for Beth to find out more about how The Priory Rooms’ customers are supporting the brilliant work of Peacemakers!

Beth; Hi Phil, congratulations on your new role at Peacemakers! So what were you doing before you joined the Peacemakers team?

Phil; I began working in the field of Restorative Approaches in 1999, volunteering with the Youth Offending Team in Stockport. This led to working on community repair projects and working with victims of crime. I then worked for 6 years on a pilot project in secondary schools in Bolton through the Local Authority with Bolton Mediation with the aims to reduce exclusions and conflict.

This began the journey and skills development into the field of Restorative Approaches in Educational Settings. A relationship with Belinda Hopkins and Transforming Conflict began as I moved from practitioner to trainer within the field of Restorative Approaches. As a trainer I have had the opportunity to work with professionals in a variety of settings from schools, youth offending teams, family workers and within the looked after sector exploring how to develop the working ethos of the restorative approach.

Having also spent a couple of years as a Family Group Conference Coordinator in South Warwickshire and working with families with extreme social engagement difficulties in Staffordshire, my journey brought me to The West Midlands Quaker Peace Education Project (known as Peacemakers in schools) in January 2015. This was not my first engagement with The Peacemakers team as we met some 3 years previous whilst I was facilitating workshops at a national conference with Transforming Conflict.

Beth; What made you apply to join Peacemakers? What interested you about their projects?

Phil; Having been out of the school setting for a couple of years working with families, I was enthused and excited at the prospect to apply for a post to support The Peacemakers Whole School Approach as my passion for building healthy relationships and communities is within schools. The core values of The Peacemakers and Quakers fits with my professional and personal life, so this was an opportunity I was compelled to apply for and with good grace and fortune I feel privileged to now be a part of the team.

Beth; Tell us about your role at Peacemakers? What projects will you be leading?

Phil; Having been newly appointed as a Peace Education Trainer with The Whole School Approach project, the role is to support and develop an ethos, skills and processes within schools to promote peace, inclusion, community and strong healthy relationships. To support and train young people and schools staff with the skills to build, maintain and repair relationships through times of peace and times of conflict.

Beth; What are your future aims with Peacemakers? And what plans do Peacemakers have for the next few years?

Phil; In the immediate future we are looking to bring on-board another 3 schools in the West Midlands and to work intensively with them over a 2 year period developing systems, skills and culture. We are excited about the prospect of moving into secondary schools as to date our relationship had been with primary education. I say excited as this is an opportunity to further develop and support the skills and core personal values young people have gained during their time in primary education and take them on their journey in to secondary education and life itself.

Beth and everyone at The Priory Rooms wish Phil every success in his new role with Peacemakers! We will keep you updated with their projects throughout the year.

Information about Peacemakers and the other charities The Priory Rooms support is available on the website

You can contact Phil Bence directly at the Peacemakers office on 0121 2364796.