The Priory Rooms news site_dscpn Wed, 27 May 2015 19:26:00 +0100 Venue Assessors Praise Priory Rooms Wed, 27 May 2015 19:26:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms have successfully completed The Venue Standard assessment achieving high praise for facilities and customer experience. Launched last year The Venue Standard provides meetings and event buyers with a clear indication of the quality of both product and service offered by venues.

Meet-the-Metro.jpgThe Priory Rooms were delighted to receive exceptional feedback from the assessment. Top marks were given for the quality of their rooms, the equipment provided, catering service and overall customer experience. It commended the hard-working team for delivering “very good hospitality” and being “friendly and welcoming.”

The Venue Standard, which has been created by Excellence Squared, was benchmarked late last year across a range of venues across the UK, including The Priory Rooms. Gary Swarbrooke from The Venue Standard explained why the new assessment has been introduced to the market. “Demonstration of quality is the key to success within the modern meetings and events industry. Our plan includes the establishment of The Venue Standard as the first global assessment, ensuring fair comparison of venues by event buyers researching and planning events in a wide variety of different locations around the world.”

The assessment is carried out by staff experienced in certifying businesses for Investors in People, The Matrix Standard and a multitude of ISO standards. They examined The Priory Rooms on the four key areas; customer feedback, administration, the quality of product and service delivery.

The Priory Rooms were thrilled to receive a glowing report, with Gary Swarbrooke commenting on;

“Evidence of a well-trained and knowledgeable team who are able to support the equipment on site and ensure the smooth operation for clients.”

“A team able to anticipate problems before they arise and enabling expedient solutions to be found.”

“A good selection of beverages and good quality biscuits, snacking items, fruit and also dietary options offered.”

“Rooms are set up to a very good quality, attention to detail in the set-up of rooms. Pads, pens, delegate cards and sweets provided, plus a well-stocked conference stationery box.”

“The food was good quality, looked substantial and a good overall imaginative choice.”

“Very good feedback from the customer service forms regarding the team.”

The Priory Rooms was one of the first venues to undertake The Venue Standard. Business Development Manager Beth Sadler commented: “The assessment was an opportunity to consider the successful practice of our administration, service, products and customer feedback processes, and have them benchmarked against competitors. Most importantly, The Venue Standard rigorously questioned our practices and procedures from the customers’ perspective. The final result - a customer-orientated, well-rounded judgement of the venue which has helped set us apart in an increasingly crowded market. In particular it demonstrates that we take being compliant and consistent seriously, that investment and improvement is crucial and above all the customers’ expectations will be met. We are very happy to be one of the first to join The Venue Standard.”

The Priory Rooms team are delighted by the praise as they are dedicated to delivering excellent quality conference facilities and continuously strive to improve. Well done to all of the staff!

Priory Rooms Goes for Green Award Mon, 25 May 2015 16:50:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms have entered Birmingham City Council’s Making Birmingham Greener & Healthier Awards for 2015. A fantastic opportunity for the eco-conscious city centre venue to have their efforts as “green” champions for Birmingham rewarded!

Priory-Rooms-Goes-for-Green-Award.jpg The Priory Rooms are committed to being a “green” meetings and conference centre, putting in place commendable initiatives to increase recycling, reduce waste, reuse products and be sustainable.

The Priory Rooms, owned by Central England Quakers, began prioritising eco-conscious policies when Quakers in Britain made the 2011 declaration to become a low-carbon, sustainable community. Since then The Priory Rooms’ manager Andrew Callan has implemented a consistent and wide-reaching “green” policy towards all business procedures.

Proud of what they have achieved, The Priory Rooms have entered the awards category “Best Waste & Recycling Scheme”. Birmingham City Council, in partnership with environmental company Veolia, encourage other organisations to enter the four awards categories; Best Energy Efficiency Scheme; Best Waste & Recycling Scheme; Best Greener & Healthier Lifestyles (Food) Scheme; and Birmingham Connected Sustainable Travel Award. Each category will also have a sub-category for business, community and education establishment entries.

The Priory Rooms’ application proudly provides evidence of green policies including; a commitment to recycling and using recycled products, using local suppliers, food waste composting, biodegradable doggy boxes, rain water harvesting, energy-efficient heating and lighting, and future plans to be a zero landfill business.

The 12 winners and one overall winner will be announced at a grand ceremony taking place in the Banqueting Suite at the Council House on the 5th June.

Application forms can be downloaded from The closing date for entries is Friday 22 May 2015.

Good luck to The Priory Rooms!

Beth Talks Benefits of SEWM Membership Wed, 13 May 2015 20:21:00 +0100 On Thursday 21st May Social Enterprise West Midlands (SEWM) are hosting a Members Induction; an ideal opportunity for new or existing members to meet each other and the SEWM team.

SEWMspeakerphoto.jpgThe Priory Rooms’ Business Development Manager Beth Sadler has been invited as one of the guest speakers. Beth will be sharing her experience of being a long-standing member of SEWM.

SEWM membership has brought The Priory Rooms invaluable marketing and promotional support; through coverage of Priory Rooms news on the SEWM website and weekly newsletter, e-shot promotions, and exhibitor stands at their many events. In addition, SEWM have held several events at The Priory Rooms for members to meet The Priory Rooms and experience the city centre meeting facilities.

Beth is delighted to be a speaker; thrilled membership is expanding because SEWM has become such a powerful champion for local social enterprises. She urges all members to attend the event, not just to hear her praise for the incredible work of the SEWM team, but because it is the perfect opportunity to:

  • Ensure you are getting the best out of your membership
  • Hear about how your membership benefits can work for you
  • Find out about upcoming opportunities and events
  • Meet the SEWM team and hear about how they can help
  • Meet other members and discover potential collaboration opportunities

Members Induction is at the SEWM Offices, Birmingham Enterprise Centre, 85-89 Hagley Road, Birmingham, B16 8QG, on the 21st May at 9:00am-12:00pm.

Book your place at the event on the SEWM website

Selling at Speed Tue, 12 May 2015 17:10:00 +0100 This May, The Priory Rooms’ Business Development Manager Beth Sadler enjoyed “selling at speed” to other Birmingham Chamber of Commerce members. The Chambers Speed Networking event was fast and fun! Beth met over 40 regional businesses, two minutes with each to sell, sell, sell. Beth left the unusual networking event with a sore throat from so much chatting, but a pile of business cards and new friends! An extremely successful event in raising The Priory Rooms’ profile!

Selling-at-Speed.jpgThe Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce offers businesses skills, knowledge, contacts and resources, including an extensive networking and events programme. The Priory Rooms became a member of the Chamber in 2009, Beth regularly attends their varied and popular events which have created a number of business leads.

The Chambers’ Speed Networking may have a more demanding format, but it creates a fantastic opportunity to meet everyone who attends! Attendees sit in two rows facing each other. They have two minutes to sell their business services to the person opposite before the bell goes and the next person moves along the row. The event, sponsored by Microsoft, had a great mix of people there including the ICC, Natwest, University of Wolverhampton, Bullring and Hotel La Tour.

In between the seat shuffling, bell chiming and lots of business cards, Beth promoted to new faces The Priory Rooms Meetings and Conference Centre ideal for seminars, training and meetings, with a stunning 1930s décor conference room for 220 people. With flexible day delegate rates starting from £30+vat many took away Beth’s details to book a viewing of the city centre venue.

To join a future networking event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce visit their website

To enquire about hiring The Priory Rooms for your next meeting or conference, call the Bookings Team on 0121 236 2317. The website has information and pictures of the choice of rooms available

Faith And Action: Quakers And World War 1 Mon, 11 May 2015 16:14:00 +0100 Confronted by war and suffering what would you do?

Faith-in-action.jpgFor Quakers faced by the outbreak of the First World War, answering this question was complicated by their historic commitment to peace-making. A thought-provoking exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) has brought to life this challenging scenario of Quaker involvement in the war and the pressures experienced.

Based in Chamberlain Square in Birmingham city centre, the BMAG are holding the exhibition in the Community Gallery until June. A collaborative project between Central England Quakers, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre and BMAG the collection aims to educate and inspire visitors about Quaker values past and present.

The exhibition covers all aspects of Quaker involvement in World War One and the challenges for them; taking the form of sound, artwork, film, artefacts and photographs. Topics covered includes pre-war peace-making initiatives, Friends Ambulance Unit, conscientious objectors' experiences, Quakers who joined the armed forces, the impact on Quaker businesses and Quaker Humanitarian and relief work across Britain and Europe.

The Priory Rooms’ Director Jim Green has been one of many volunteer stewards at the exhibition available to talk to visitors about the collection. Jim is delighted by how many visitors have engaged with the exhibition “Many visitors have remarked how inspiring they have found the accounts of individual Quakers who, whilst opposing the concept of war, have helped, and in many cases transformed, the lives of people and communities blighted by the war.”

Faith-Action.jpgThe exhibition is available to view at the BMAG until the 7th June 2015, for more information about the museum visit their website

Construction Industry meet The Priory Rooms Wed, 06 May 2015 15:02:00 +0100 On Thursday 23rd April, The Priory Rooms exhibited at the Social Enterprise West Midlands’ “Social Value in Construction Conference” at the University of Wolverhampton. With over 160 delegates attending, businesses, social enterprises and charities came together to discuss improving social value within the construction industry.

The Priory Rooms showcased how using a third sector conference venue is a great way of meeting your business’ corporate social responsibility.

SEWM_exhibition.JPGThe Priory Rooms have been a member of Social Enterprise West Midlands (SEWM) since 2010 as a not-for-profit meeting and conference centre. SEWM aim to raise awareness of social enterprises and influence government policy. As social enterprise champions, each year hold a large conference focusing on how a sector can incorporate social value into decisions and policies; this year it was the construction industry. Social enterprises and third sector exhibitors met with delegates from across the industry to discuss business partnerships. There were inspirational speeches by key speakers, including Hazel Blears MP co-author of the Social Value Act, detailed master classes and a Meet the Buyer exchange.

The Priory Rooms’ Business Development Manager Beth Sadler and Conference and Event co-ordinator Hannah Baynes thoroughly enjoyed a busy day on the exhibition stand meeting senior staff from Mears Group, Kier, Balfour Beatty, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB ) and Wilmott Dixon to name a few. Visitors to the stand were inspired by the option of using a third sector conference venue and impressed by The Priory Rooms Birmingham city centre location. The construction industry regularly hold training courses, regional meetings and annual conferences about social responsibility policies such as apprenticeships and environmental impact. So a third sector, community focused venue would be the perfect setting for these!

CITB for example, the industry training board and a partner in the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry in England, Scotland and Wales, regularly book with The Priory Rooms. Sean Eames, CITB representative, said: “The Priory Rooms always provide a friendly and efficient service enabling us to undertake our important work of engaging with businesses, employers and communities in the region.”

Beth and Hannah believe many of the “Social Value in Construction” delegates would definitely book third sector conference venues in the future.

Beth said “All of the delegates were fantastic people, dedicated to social responsibility and changing values within the industry. The policies and attitudes they are bringing into place now will provide a better future for the next generation; providing jobs and training, valuing the local community, supporting small business and considering the environmental impact. Supporting third sector venues is another small policy change which has a big social impact.”

If you would like more information on booking The Priory Rooms our Conference and Events co-ordinator Hannah Baynes would be delighted to help. Call 0121 236 2317 or email

College Celebrates With Ceremony! Tue, 05 May 2015 14:50:00 +0100 Abbey College is an independent sixth form in the heart of Birmingham with around 150 students. This April they held a very special awards ceremony in The Priory Rooms Main Meeting House attended by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

abbeycoll.jpgStudents studying for A levels, International Business Foundation Programmes and GCSE's received awards for their outstanding achievements, applauded by an audience of over 200 peers, teachers and parents.

The Main Meeting Room provided the perfect setting for the College to celebrate the achievements of all its students, who come from the Birmingham area as well as from countries overseas. The afternoon was a complete success with Principal Stephen Robinson saying "Everyone loved The Priory Rooms and the suitability of the venue."

As part of the Alpha Plus Group, Abbey College aims to maintain a "gold standard" of educational quality. Classes are small enabling teachers to a supportive educational experience, tailored to the individual student. More information about courses provided by Abbey College are available on their website

Book the stunning Main Meeting House for your awards ceremony by calling our highly-experienced Bookings Team on 0121 236 2317 or email [](mailto: "")

Meet…Tricia Bradbury Fri, 01 May 2015 13:10:00 +0100 triciapicture.jpg It was at Central England Quakers’ (CEQ) very special Peace Hub Launch Event that The Priory Rooms’ Beth Sadler first met one of the evenings hosts Tricia Bradbury. Tricia warmly greeted the wide array of guests who had come to celebrate CEQ’s latest peace-making project. Impressed by the amount of guests Tricia personally knew and her many anecdotes, Beth was keen to find out more about Tricia and how she has developed an extensive network of colleagues and friends.

Beth; Hi Tricia, lovely to meet you again. Can you tell me more about your current career and the projects you are involved with?

Tricia; I am currently the Quaker Chaplain at HMP Birmingham, Winson Green and HMP Oakwood near Wolverhampton. This takes me into custody twice a week for a full day as part of a multi faith team. On other days I sit in court as a Magistrate and have been a JP for over 30 years, dealing with family cases as well as criminal cases. Previously I was a member and Chairman of an Independent Monitoring Board at a prison, then known as HMP Blakenhurst, and in this role visited Russia as part of a Government delegation to advise the Russians on Human Rights in relation to prisons. I was also chairman of the West Mercia Probation Board so some have said that I uniquely join up the whole criminal justice system! I still maintain my interest in the Probation Service sitting on a number of Trusts and Boards.

Beth; What is your career background? And what motivated you to have a career in the criminal justice system?

Tricia; My motivation for all these roles stems from my Quaker upbringing believing that there is something of good in everyone and links in with the long held Quaker interest in penal reform and the rehabilitation of offenders.

Beth; Can you tell me about your connection to CEQ?

Tricia; This January I became Clerk to the Trustees for CEQ which is a new and exciting challenge. I am also clerk to the CEQ Community Justice Group and Quaker Christmas Parcels for Prisoners Families as well as an active member of Stourbridge Quaker Meeting.

Beth; And finally, what is a quirky fact about you?

Tricia; In amongst all this I am a Deputy Lieutenant for Worcestershire, a rather unusual role for a Quaker, but one which actually supports many community activities as well as assisting with royal visits to the County.

Find out further information about Central England Quakers and all of their projects on the website

Sensational Summer Menu Launched Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:52:00 +0100 We have launched our new summer menus with fresh, seasonal, locally sourced products, offering a varied choice. Your delegates will simply love our delicious summer breakfast and lunchtime buffets, leaving them energised for the day!

sensational-summer-menu.jpgMake sure you start the day the right way with our scrumptious and healthy summer breakfast! Served from a cooler, our sensational breakfast menu now includes a colourful selection of fresh sliced fruit. Enjoy orange, melon, pineapple and strawberries, delivered daily from our local grocers, with individual pots of yoghurt, crunchy muesli and honey. Our popular freshly-baked croissants and pastries, breakfast bars and cereals are still served each day. Breakfast is served with our unlimited refreshments package; fair-trade and forever flowing!

The sensational summer lunch menu offers seasonal products that will leave delegates satisfied and sustained! New choices to our hot meals are Lemon and Thyme Marinated Chicken, Herb Crusted Salmon with Watercress Mayo, Sweet Potato and Spinach Lasagne, Hot Bacon and Broccoli Quiche and Salmon Fishcakes.

Our hot savoury bites include are Garlic Chilli and Lemon King Prawn Skewers, Homemade Pork Pies, Chicken Liver Pate and Apple Chutney Bruschetta and Mini Jacket Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives.

The delicious cold savoury bites feature Ricotta and Red Onion Tartlets, Plaice Goujons with Tartare Sauce, Courgette and Feta Quiches and Flat Mushroom topped with Tallegio Cheese.

Make sure you leave space for our mouth-watering desserts; Elderflower and White Chocolate Cake, Summer Berry Pavlovas, Lemon and Coconut Loaf, Mango Cheesecake and Coconut Macaroons are just a few tempting choices! It may all sound “Too Good To Waste”, but sadly sometimes it doesn’t all get finished! However not to worry; eco-conscious Priory Rooms have put in place several initiatives to reduce the waste of catering. We provide bio-degradable “doggy boxes” so delegates who wish to take any food home can box it up, ask for it to be stored in our fridge and collect it at the end of the day. In addition all food waste is now collected by First Mile Recycling, who take it to be decomposed at a local site. Plus we serve "Meat-Free" Monday lunch buffets as reducing the amount of meat we serve reduces our carbon footprint.

If they are not enough reasons to book your summer conference at The Priory Rooms, then our landscaped garden with outdoor seating to enjoy your lunch from should be!

So don’t delay, enquire today! Call 0121 236 217 or email

Top Tips for a Healthy Workforce! Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:48:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms’ resident yoga teacher Tony Wilmot joined the Colmore Business District’s free Healthy Workforce workshop this April, to share simple but effective “at-your-desk” breathing and stretching techniques to reduce stress. Tony was one of several advisors at the workshop providing top tips for a healthy and content workforce, an increasing priority for business policy.

yoga-breakfast.jpgThis year the Colmore Business District have been running a series of workshops designed specifically to support SMEs within the area. The Healthy Workforce workshop focused on simple, but effective ways of looking after employees’ well-being. Sarah Begley, Employment Solicitor at DBS Law, led the workshop sharing her expert knowledge from advising employees and businesses alike in relation to their employment issues. From the newly refurbished DBS offices on Edmund Street, Sarah discussed with the group managing absence and return, statutory requirements for considering flexible working and the benefits of getting it right.

Tony Wilmot followed this with a practical lesson of “at-your-desk” breathing exercises which can improve the mind and body at work. Tony is a British Wheel of Yoga Teacher and has been practicing yoga for over 25 years. Tony delivers Hatha Yoga classes at The Priory Rooms every Thursday evening 6.30-8.00pm. He focuses on yoga postures, breathing and meditation and was delighted to share his wealth of experience and encourage more people to take up the practice.

Elizabeth Doggart and Sharen Knight of Brianspotting, who hold workshops at The Priory Rooms, presented this psychotherapy approach that uses the field of vision to locate eye positions that correlate to inner neural and emotional experience. Once located these Brianspots can lead to fast and effective healing of both psychological and physiological ill health. It has been shown to be effective when working within a business environment to aid performance and reduce occupational stress.

Attendees of the workshop found the information provided useful and insightful for planning future business policy. Everyone agreed that to create a healthy and content workforce will not only bring a more sustainable business but it is ethically their duty as an employer.

To book your place on the next Colmore Business District workshop about Tax and Accountancy please contact Joanne Davies via or call 0121 236 4686.

Colmore Business District

Tony Wilmot Yoga

Brainspotting Email