The Priory Rooms news site_dscpn Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:16:00 +0100 Dutch visitors charge up at the eco-conscious Priory Rooms Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:16:00 +0100 This August, The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre were delighted to welcome all the way from Holland Raymond van der Stelt, his wife and their 100% electric car as they stopped by to use our vehicle charging points.

Electric-Car.jpgFollowing Quakers in Britain’s 2011 commitment to become a low-carbon and sustainable community, The Priory Rooms have put in place several eco-conscious initiatives as we strive to become Birmingham’s greenest conference centre. One of these initiatives was installing two 32A 3 phase charging points in our car park at the beginning of 2013. Several people have since used the charging points, but none have travelled quite so far to use them as Raymond and his wife!

Raymond contacted The Priory Rooms a year ago as he began planning a trip from Holland to England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and back again in his electric car. He designed a round-trip of 1,350 miles, taking 21 days, based on the location of charging points across the UK. Birmingham was an ideal charging point on his route from Banbury to Beddgelert. The Priory Rooms’ charging points, in the heart of Birmingham city centre, also offered the perfect opportunity for an afternoon of shopping and sight-seeing!

Raymond, a civil engineer, is 39 years old, owns his own project management company and has a passion for special cars. Last year the Tesla Model S caught his eye with it beautiful shape, similar to a Jaguar XJ, the 17 inch centre screen which you control the entire car from and its sports-car speed of 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Best of all for Raymond, a fan of long-distance car journeys, no engine means the Tesla has trunk and funk (storage space in the bonnet).

Raymond and his wife have previously travelled by car to Scotland, the Lake District and the South of England, but for 2014 they set themselves the exciting new challenge of doing it using their new premium electric car.

Skip forward a year and Raymond and his wife met with The Priory Rooms’ Business Development Manager Beth as he charged up the Tesla. Beth asked Raymond about the cost of running his electric car. He explained in Holland they pay 24 eurocents for a KWH and he gets about 4 kilometres from 1KWH; roughly converted it is 6 eurocents per kilometre. The Tesla’s battery comes with a warranty of 8 years for unlimited miles.

But how convenient is it to drive an electric car in Holland? Raymond detailed to Beth there are 21 companies which provide charging points each with their own company payment card. However you can charge up at every public charging point with any of these payment cards; providing you access to over 9,000 charging points! Following a “fuel” up at The Priory Room’s charging point Beth bid Raymond and his wife farewell and a safe rest of journey!

You can see where Raymond’s journey continues to on his Googlemaps page If you have any questions about driving electric cars you can also contact Raymond on

For information about The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre’s eco-conscious initiatives visit our website page If you would like to use our electric charging points or book a meeting room at the venue please call Beth on 0121 236 2317.

Meeting House Opens its Doors for Heritage Days Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:31:00 +0100 Once again Bull Street Quaker Meeting House is taking part in Heritage Open Days on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September from 1.00-5.00pm. The perfect opportunity for the public to learn more about Quaker convictions, beliefs and practices past and present!

ceq_image.jpgThe current Quaker Meeting House was built in 1933 on a city centre site occupied by Quakers since 1703 with many of the old gravestones retained. Throughout the two days volunteers from the Bull Street Quaker Community will provide informative show-rounds, illustrate Quaker history, introduce modern practices, share their memories of the building and answer any questions.

Light refreshments will be available in the Atrium; a bright, modern addition to the building which leads to the purpose-built meeting and conference rooms. Weather permitting, there is seating in the beautiful courtyard to be enjoyed. Children are welcome although there are no specific activities arranged.

On Sunday 14th September at 2.00pm Plain Quakers, an informal theatrical partnership, will be performing a short play entitled “Nine parts a Quaker…unfinished business” which looks at the work of Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) on anti-slavery and at slavery today. There is no charge for this but donations to Anti-Slavery International are welcome.

Heritage Open Days was established by the now defunct Civic Trust in 1994 as England’s contribution to the European Heritage Days. It began with 700 sites, that are not normally open for the public, being opened free of charge in September for four consecutive days. The event is now managed by Heritage Open Days National Partnership, participation has now doubled and the list of sites being opened more wonderful and varied each year. It celebrates the historical venues and attractions within local districts that make these areas unique and participants aim to encourage discovery and a sense of pride to bring communities together.

If you are unable to make the Heritage Open Days take a moment during your next meeting or conference at The Priory Rooms to visit the information table in reception, with flyers and booklets offering an insight into the religion.

Information about Bull Street Quaker Meeting House is available on the website To learn more about Central England Quakers visit the website For other venues taking part visit the Heritage Open Days website

Right Place, Right Time Photographs at The Priory Rooms Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:00:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms are delighted to now have on display in their meeting and conference rooms a selection of images from local photographer Lee Benson’s “Right Place, Right Time” collection.

Right-Place-Right-Time-3.jpgEach image is a snapshot of Birmingham by local photographer Lee Benson FRSA. Several of the pieces are special commissions for The Priory Rooms observing Quaker heritage within the region.

All of the photographs displayed are taken by Lee, except “The Owl” and the “Four Boatman” which are by Dr Rob Galvin. As observationists, the camera is only an extension of what these two photographers see and capture. The images are not staged or manipulated. Nature and being in the right place at the right time are the very essence of their photography.

Right-Place-Right-Time-1.jpgThis collection is aimed to inspire us all to take a moment to admire the beauty around us. So often we walk around with our thoughts locked inside and see almost nothing of the landscape surrounding us. The photographs capture how sunlight beautifully highlights features of nature and city landmarks; a moment of tranquillity and calm within the busy city centre. This imagery reflects the peaceful and harmonious Quaker approach to life.

Right-Place-Right-Time-2.jpgLee and Rob came together in 2011 with likeminded views on photography. They exhibited their first collection on a narrow boat in Gas Street Basin. This was followed by an outdoor exhibition of twenty four photographs located around Brindleyplace which ran for several months. Both events were a success and since then Lee has continued to exhibit his work along with his other passion, painting in watercolours.

Book your next meeting or conference at The Priory Rooms to enjoy Lee Benson’s photographs by calling the team on 0121 236 2317. Lee may be contacted on 07970 142 703 or email Images may be ordered and commissions considered.

The Priory Rooms’ enjoy a successful Big Bandage Day! Mon, 14 Jul 2014 19:44:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre wrapped up a successful week fundraising for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, taking part in their “Big Bandage Campaign”, by donating an incredible £310.00!

Big-Bandage-Day-2014-3.jpg“The Big Bandage” campaign by the Birmingham Children’s Hospital asked for £1.00 donations for bandages to be worn on Friday 11th July, showing your support for the ground-breaking work of the hospital.

Big-Bandage-Day-2014-2.jpgThe Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre chose to fundraise all week so the wide-variety of meeting and conference room users had opportunity to take part. Staff wore bandages around their arms, legs and even their heads to raise awareness of the local charity and encourage donations.

Generous delegates donated a £1.00, with many also purchasing freshly-prepared cakes for sale. The home-made cakes were donated by The Priory Rooms’ long-standing caterers Just Good Food, who played a vital role in the events success. Just Good Food was delighted to help with the cause and delegates praised the variety and taste of cakes offered throughout the week.

Big-Bandage-Day-2014-1.jpgBalfour Beatty Construction Services, working on the Midland Metro extension outside The Priory Rooms building, also joined in with the fundraising event. Public Liaison Manager Lisa Zdravkovic rallied around the local team to raise an incredible £140.00!

All the money raised by The Priory Rooms will go to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s research projects, help buy state of the art equipment and just as importantly, toys and games for the children to enjoy. The Priory Rooms Meeting & Conference Centre Manager Andrew Callan summed up the week “I am thrilled how much money has been raised for such a great cause. The week has been fun for the staff and delegates, but also helped raise awareness for the hard-work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the on-going support they need to continue this work.”

The Priory Rooms would like to thank all of their kind meeting and conference room users who donated to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. All of the week’s activities helped raise life-saving funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The Priory Rooms hopes that the fantastic feedback and support will inspire other companies to fundraise for charities. More fundraising events will be held at The Priory Rooms throughout the year.

Priory Rooms plan to wrap up another successful Big Bandage Day Wed, 02 Jul 2014 20:21:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre are fundraising for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Big Bandage Day, hoping to match last year’s incredible £235 donation!

bch-logo.jpgBig Bandage Day on Friday 11th July is a campaign to raise life-saving funds for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Simply donate £1 and wear a bandage to show your support for the ground-breaking work of the hospital.

All week, from Monday 7th July The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre will be fundraising for the local charity. Staff will be wearing customised bandages and encouraging delegates to wrap in bandages too. As the Hospital are regular customers of the conference centre, The Priory Rooms staff are delighted to be fundraising again for the charity knowing first-hand the outstanding support they provide children.

The Priory Rooms is thrilled to again have their fundraising supported by the Balfour Beatty Construction Services working on the Midland Metro extension in Birmingham city centre. Last year the local team donated an incredible amount, which in addition to those kindly made by The Priory Rooms guests and staff meant £235 was fundraised for the Hospital. Fingers crossed this year will be just as successful!

All the money raised will go to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s research projects, help buy state of the art equipment and just as importantly, toys and games for the children to enjoy.

Help The Priory Rooms fundraise for Birmingham Children’s Hospital;

  • Donate £1 and buy a bandage from reception
  • Donate your loose change to the donation boxes around The Priory Rooms

The Big Bandage - How will you wear yours?

For more information about the campaign and Birmingham Children’s Hospital visit

The Priory Rooms Go for Gold! Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:03:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms are delighted to announce all food waste is now collected by First Mile Recycling, who take it to be decomposed at a local site, becoming the recycling company’s first food waste contract in Birmingham!

food-recycling.jpgThe Priory Rooms place great importance on eco-conscious and sustainable business practices. Aiming to be Birmingham’s greenest meeting and conference venue they are always looking at ways to improve their efforts. The not for profit venue was recently awarded a Silver Award from their recycling contractors First Mile for an exceptional amount of paper, card and plastic being collected throughout 2013. Manager Andrew Callan was keen to set the bar higher for 2014 by aiming for a Gold Award; the main accreditation of the award being composting food waste. So Andrew set about discovering the most sustainable and practical way of achieving this!

The Priory Rooms has nine conference rooms open 6 days a week therefore large amounts of catering is regularly served.

Two years ago the venue introduced an initiative to reduce the amount of buffet food being thrown away with free biodegradable “doggy boxes” for delegates to take home leftovers. However keen to achieve a Gold Award through decomposing food waste Andrew approached First Mile about the food waste collections they run in other areas of England and why one did not run one in Birmingham.

Enthused by The Priory Rooms interest, First Mile representative George Garrett took it upon himself to make the venue their first customer in Birmingham to have food waste collections! Collections began mid-June and The Priory Rooms now sustainably dispose and recycle an incredible 70% of all waste!

Northfield Eco-centre, supported by The Priory Rooms’ profits, run community activities to encourage sustainable living including cycling lessons and forest school sessions. Manager Georgia Stokes was thrilled to hear of the venues latest eco-conscious initiative and highlighted the importance of such business practices.

“It’s fantastic to see the Priory Rooms leading the way for Birmingham businesses to reduce waste streams in their quest to become a zero black sack waste organisation. So much of what we put in black sacks can be recycled or reused, much more than the normal kerb side collections, and through this scheme the Priory Rooms are making sure the energy & water used to produce this food is not wasted. We waste about 7 million tonnes of food waste in the UK at the moment, the Priory Rooms are showing us there is another way.”

This time next year The Priory Rooms should have achieved a Gold Award for recycling and hope to inspire other businesses in the area to follow in their green footsteps. Manager Andrew Callan said

“I encourage other local businesses to have their food waste collected by First Mile! Birmingham is becoming known for its green initiatives in transport, so let’s work together to support this great work through recycling and composting more!” To book a conference room at the eco-conscious Priory Rooms visit the website or call 0121 236 2317.

Services provided by First Mile Recycling are detailed on their website To take part in Northfield Eco-centres activities visit the website

Peace of Cake Mon, 09 Jun 2014 09:00:00 +0100 All this week, The Priory Rooms Meeting & Conference Centre are fundraising for the international peacebuilding charity Cord to support their projects in Africa and Asia.

As delegates enjoy their freshly filtered coffee, fair trade tea and delicious selection of cakes, The Priory Rooms are kindly asking for donations of any spare change to support the charity.

cord.pngSince 1967, Cord has worked with millions of people rebuilding their lives after conflict. Currently working in Chad, Burundi, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, they partner with local people to end poverty and build peace.

This summer Cord are encouraging you to make time for a cup of tea and a piece of cake with friends, family and colleagues and help raise funds for their on-going peace work. The charity launched their summer of fundraising tea parties last Saturday in Stratford upon Avon with a bouncy castle and play equipment, face painting, craft stalls and of course tea with cake!

The Priory Rooms are delighted to be supporting the work of Cord again, following the successful “Spend a Penny Challenge”! The Priory Rooms is owned by Central England Quakers whose commitment to promoting peace campaigns amongst local and international communities is a valued initiative of staff who enjoy hosting fundraising events!

For more information of the projects delivered by Cord or for details on hosting your own tea party, visit their website

To enquire about booking a meeting or conference at The Priory Rooms please contact the Bookings Team on 0121 236 2317 or

Priory Rooms Profits Launch CEQ Peace Hub Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:27:00 +0100 Throughout 2013, The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre were delighted to welcome a wealth of new customers in addition to their many long standing ones. As a result the not for profit venue was in an exceptional position to donate a considerable amount to the charity projects of Central England Quakers (CEQ). Most exciting was being able to help CEQ launch their Peace Hub in the building adjacent to The Priory Rooms.

The Priory Rooms provides meeting and conferencing facilities within the 1930’s Bull Street Quaker Meeting House to a wide variety of customers. All profits made are either re-invested into the building or donated to CEQ projects. By customers choosing to use The Priory Rooms they are contributing to the work that Quakers do in building peace, equality and sustainability on a local, national and international stage.

In addition to the projects The Priory Rooms annually support, this year they have been delighted to be able to help CEQ create a Peace Hub located next door to The Priory Rooms. Due to open this summer, the Peace Hub came about when previous tenants Johnsons Drycleaners decided to relocate. CEQ, who own the building, saw a perfect opportunity to create a resource centre on peace and justice in the busy and vibrant Birmingham city centre.

ceq_image.jpgThe Peace Hub will feature a large shop window showcasing Quaker peace campaigns and projects; inside a television screen will display visual information and there will be comfy seating for the public to enjoy the Quaker literature available. The centre piece will be the exhibition of archive material from Quaker history. Staff will be on hand welcoming questions about Quaker history and current peace objectives.

Above the Peace Hub will be CEQ charity West Midlands Peacemakers who are relocating their office. The team work with the local community to bring together education practitioners and others committed to promoting education in peace throughout schools and see this is an exciting opportunity to outreach to a wider audience.

The Peace Hub will open this summer and welcomes local businesses and city centre shoppers to come visit, learn about Quaker history, find out about the peace projects they have achieved and get involved with their current initiatives! The Priory Rooms would like to thank their many customers for enabling them to continually support the work of CEQ. To find out more about CEQ visit their website

Book your next meeting or conference at The Priory Rooms to help support the work of CEQ. Call our highly experienced bookings team on 0121 236 2317 or email

The Priory Rooms donate to Computer Aid International Wed, 21 May 2014 10:30:00 +0100 This May The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre donated computers to Computer Aid International; supporting their projects in developing countries to provide access to ICT equipment and training for hospitals, schools and charities. The Priory Rooms, a not-for profit meeting and conference venue in Birmingham city centre, were delighted to donate four computers with keyboards and screens to the charity following an upgrade of staff computers.

ComputerAidInternational.jpgComputer Aid International envision a world where rich and poor have equal access to ICT and strive to reduce poverty in developing countries through practical ICT solutions. By providing affordable and environmentally sustainable ICT programmes and establishing partnerships with local organisations, Computer Aid aim to empower poor and disadvantaged communities. Training on how to use computers, practical knowledge on applying these skills and developing long-term projects within the community ensures productive and sustainable use of the equipment.

Computer Aid International is approved by the Environment Agency; ensuring all the IT equipment distributed is legitimately refurbished and handled in a responsible way. For over 5 years The Environment Agency has been one of The Priory Rooms’ largest customers for meeting and conference room hire. The Priory Rooms were overjoyed to have made the donation to Computer Aid International, which has only been possible from new and long-standing customers booking their meetings, events and conferences at the venue enabling the business to upgrade internal computers this year!

To find out more information about donating to Computer Aid International, including their free collection offer this spring, visit their website

Enquire about booking your next meeting at The Priory Rooms with the highly experienced bookings team on 0121 236 2317 or email

The Priory Rooms; After Hours! Thu, 15 May 2014 10:00:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre offers a professional and affordable city centre location for Saturday and weeknight meetings.

During the week our city centre venue is a hive of activity with conferences, training sessions, seminars and team meetings. But as one last biscuit is grabbed on the way out, a biodegradable coffee cup is filled up for a long train journey home and sheets of flip chart paper are folded up, the evening groups eagerly arrive!

The Priory Rooms was established a decade ago by Central England Quakers, the business remains committed to achieving one of Central England Quakers’ objectives; to provide affordable Birmingham city centre meeting space for holistic and community groups who require a venue on evenings and weekends. Over the years the demand has flourished, and now as the day groups go home the venue becomes just as busy on the evening. Our nine meeting and conference rooms are available for hire on Saturdays from 9.00am to 5.00pm and weeknights from 6.00pm to 9.00pm.*

yoga.jpgRegular customers include Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga on Wednesday evenings and Hatha Yoga on Thursday evenings, run by Ashtanga Yoga teacher Tony Wilmot in the tranquil 1930s Quaker Meeting House. Tony welcomes any city centre worker to relax and meditate in his class.

Every Tuesday the City of Birmingham Choir use the same room to rehearse. The permanent piano and incredible acoustics of the Main Meeting House make this the ideal space for singing groups to practice.

Multiple rooms are booked up by the increasingly popular University of Wolverhampton courses; with students finding the city centre venue within walking distance of all three train stations practical and accessible.

On Saturdays The Priory Rooms is open 9am-5pm, ideal for sectors who cannot meet during the week such as childcare professionals. On site car parking makes The Priory Rooms perfect for facilitators travelling with materials; regular lecturers from Open University always appreciate the convenience!

Importantly, over the past decade The Priory Rooms evening and Saturday room hire rates have remained affordable whilst providing exceptional facilities and outstanding service to all customers; the value of this opportunity has been unmeasurable to local people, students, small businesses and regional associations.

To enquire about availability call the Bookings Team on 0121 236 2317 or email

*Weeknight openings only available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday