The Priory Rooms news site_dscpn Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:45:00 +0100 Is your workforce healthy? Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:45:00 +0100 Find out with a breakfast serving yoga and expert advice!

The Priory Rooms’ resident yoga teacher Tony Wilmot will be serving a taster session at the Colmore Business District’s free “Healthy Workforce” breakfast workshop. On the 28th April you are invited to discuss expert advice from DBS Law about supporting staff well-being, with Tony showing simple yoga techniques that can be done from your desk.

yoga-breakfast.jpgThis year the Colmore Business District have been running a series of workshops designed specifically to support SMEs within the area. This workshop will focus on simple, but effective ways of looking after employees’ well-being. When your business is operating with a small team, absence or poor performance can have a devastating effect. Conversely the enthusiasm and productivity of a small team, if managed intuitively, can be the envy of larger companies. DBS Law will discuss managing absence and return, statutory requirements for considering flexible working and the benefits of getting it right.

Colmore Business District based yoga teacher Tony Wilmot will run a taster at-your-desk session to show how simple breathing exercises 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 is delighted to be sharing his wealth of experience at the workshop and hopefully encourage more people to take up the practice.

The “Healthy Workforce” workshop is free to attend at the DBS Law offices on Cornwall Street 8am-10am with breakfast and refreshments served. It is a great opportunity to network and build contacts whilst learning valuable information! In order for businesses to have the opportunity to discuss their specific healthy workforce needs, numbers are limited to just 12 spaces. The workshops are for businesses within the Colmore Business District with fewer than 50 employees. To book your place please contact Joanne Davies via email or call 0121 236 4686.

For more information about the Colmore Business District services visit their website Details about all of Tony Wilmot’s classes are available on his website

The Peace Hub Campaign; Refusing to Kill, Working for Peace Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:30:00 +0100 The Peace Hub, in Birmingham’s business district, is a centre for everyone who is in sympathy with the Quaker call to action for a just and peaceful world. Supported by the profits of The Priory Rooms it was launched in autumn 2014 with two successful campaigns already well received. In March The Peace Hub launched their latest campaign “Conscientious Objection; Then and Now”. The Hub welcomes you to pop in and show your solidarity for conscientious objectors imprisoned today!

cropped-Peace-Hub-sign-004.jpgAlong with other pacifists, many Quakers refused to fight in WWI when conscription began in 1916.  Some took ‘non-combative’ roles, such as the Friends Ambulance Unit.  Others were absolutists and were sent to prison; some were even sentenced to death and only reprieved at the last-minute. The courage and strength of conviction of these men helped establish the right to conscientious objection in Britain.  But today around 30 countries have some form of conscription to the armed forces, and in places including South Korea, Columbia and Turkey, conscientious objectors still face imprisonment and social stigma.

In South Korea all men must join the armed forces at 18 years old for between 21 and 24 months national service.  The right to conscientious objection is not recognised, and those who refuse to fight face 18 months imprisonment.  After being released, conscientious objectors are often labelled by Korean society as ‘not real men’. The Peace Hub invites you to pop into the centre, any weekday between 11.00am and 2.30pm, to discover the link between those who refused to kill 100 years ago and the people today standing up for what they believe in and working for peace. Why not send a solidarity message to Ha Hyeong Hwan and Kim Seong Min who were imprisoned for 18 months in May 2014 for refusal to undertake compulsory military service in South Korea. Your words will give them hope during tough times. The Peace Hub provides a ready-addressed postcard and suggested message, or you can write in your own words.

Pop in, have a cuppa and a chat about the issues, browse books on peace-work then and now, and send your message of solidarity to the two South Korean men currently in prison for conscientiously objecting.

The team look forward to seeing you soon!

The Peace Hub, 41 Bull Street, Birmingham City Centre, B4 6AF 0121 238 2869

Monday to Friday: 11:00-14:30 Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Priory Rooms Donates Over £25,000 To Charity Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:11:00 +0100 THANK YOU to all of our new and long standing customers who have booked meeting and events with us throughout 2014. Through your support we have been able to make this exceptional donation to Central England Quakers' community projects!

Several of the projects are based in Birmingham including educating and empowering children in nearby schools and working within communities to establish peaceful relations and improve sustainability.

The West Midlands Quaker Peace Project (Peacemakers) work with adults and children in local schools developing skills for conflict resolution. Last autumn they were delighted to relocate their office to Birmingham city centre and recruited a new Peace Education Trainer for the highly successful Whole School Approach Project.

Northfield Eco-centre bring the local community together and educates them about protecting the environment. The popular campaign "Green Generation" invites children to learn about the environment in a fun and interactive way including building dens, sensory sessions and wildlife adventure trails!

The Hope Project provide peace building skills consultancy to projects all over the world. Recently they have concentrated on improving education in the remote rural communities of Uganda including funding towards school building and teachers.

Peace Hub is based in Birmingham city centre where the public are welcome to come in anytime to find out how they can get involved with peace campaigns and projects. The Hubs official launch day this February was a huge success and attended by many local public figures including the Deputy Lord Mayor.

Each year these projects are becoming even more successful. Your bookings enable The Priory Rooms to continue to support their outstanding work.

You can find out about these projects on our website


Picture: Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands Paul Sabapthy and Peace Hub Coordinator Peter Doubtfire with local school children working with Peacemakers at the Peace Hub Official Launch

£20,000 Lighting Refurbishment Announced For Main Meeting House! Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:30:00 +0100 The Priory Rooms are delighted to announce another £20,000 will be invested in the stunning 1930s Main Meeting House this summer.

State of the art lighting upgrades are being installed to illuminate the venue perfectly for large conferences. The upgrade will offer a choice of mood lighting all controlled via iPad, complimenting the £20,000 AV upgrades put in place last year.

The Main Meeting House which seats 200 people theatre style had a new two speaker PA system, choice of microphones and a high spec projector and screen installed last year. All controlled by a dedicated iPad, facilitators can co-ordinate the entire event at the touch of a button! An impressive stage area was also built in the room which transformed the city centre venue into a showcase space!

TPR-Main-Theatre-3.jpg The new lighting system will be added to the iPad to create bespoke event mood lighting. Organisers can set bright welcoming lights as delegates take their seats. Close the sun blinds during projector presentations. Switch on the stage spotlights to focus on key speakers. Finish with the up-lights beaming on the beautiful high ceilings for a show-stopping visual.

The project will be completed by September. Our highly experienced Conference and Events Co-ordinator Hannah Baynes has been enjoying showing off the Main Meeting House to bookers and telling them about what's yet to come. "I've had lots of viewing of the Main Meeting House since the new equipment was added and each time they are over-whelmed about how unique yet practical the venue is."

Hannah would be delighted to work with you to create your perfect event. Call 0121 236 2317 or email

Young People Question Parliamentary Candidates At The Priory Rooms Thu, 02 Apr 2015 07:59:00 +0100 On the 26th March Uprising held one of their National Youth Debates in The Priory Rooms' Main Meeting House. The evening event had over 130 young people talk directly to local parliamentary candidates, across all five main parties, on the issues young people care about.

uprising.jpgThe evening was one of eleven debates being held across the country on the same evening, as UpRising strive to increase youth involvement in current affairs and politics. More than 1000 young people grilled local politicians across the UK on the same night, as part of the first ever nationwide election debates for 16-25 year olds.

The panel for the Birmingham audience were; Rachel Maclean (Conservative, Northfield), Phil Simpson (Green, Edgbaston), Jess Phillips (Labour, Yardley), John Hemming MP (Lib Dems, Yardley), Clair Braund (UKIP, Ladywood) and Online Journalist and Lecturer at Birmingham City University, Paul Bradshaw. The enthusiastic audience asked them all hard-hitting questions about the economy, education, employment, immigration and the NHS. UpRising used the event to launch its new “My Voice My Vote” campaign to engage young people in the election, encouraging participants to register to vote and sign up 10 friends.

UpRising Youth Debate co-ordinator Nichola Twemlow said: “We were delighted so many young people got involved in the debates nationwide, showing stereotypes about an ‘apathetic generation’ are a tired old myth. UpRising organised the debates to show young people not just how politics influences them, but also how they can influence politics, giving them a national platform to do so. With only half of young people voting in 2010, there’s a real risk young people slide right off the political agenda unless they make their voices heard.”

UpRising is a UK-wide youth leadership development organisation. Their mission is to open pathways for talented young people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds. They equip them with the knowledge, networks, skills and confidence to fulfil their leadership potential, find new opportunities and transform the world around them through social action. UpRising's patrons include Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron MP and the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Nick Clegg MP. Since 2008 UpRising have been delivering programmes across the country, with a growing alumni of over 650 young people. Due to the generosity of supporters, participants do not have to pay to attend any of the programmes.

Discover UpRising's programmes on their website

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!