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Unique Venues of London and Stress Matters put wellbeing first

Unique Venues of London members got up to speed with stress at a special event focusing on wellbeing and mental health in the meetings industry.

Hosted in partnership with Stress Matters, The Royal College of Physicians and caterer CH&CO, the afternoon addressed the issues and how they relate to those working in the sector, looking at how organisers and venue managers can incorporate wellbeing into events to benefit delegates.

The meeting served as an introduction to Stress Matters’ Mental Health First Aiders Course supported by Unique Venues of London, which takes place later this month. Laura Capell-Abra, founder of Stress Matters, engaged the audience with insight into the negative effects of poor workplace environments and its impact on business and employees. This was complemented with interactive sessions, encouraging attendees to reflect and share their own experiences with other guests.

Natacha Allen, head of commercial events at the Royal College of Physicians, spoke about how venues can use their assets to help foster wellbeing at meetings and conferences, focusing on how the College’s medicinal garden can help refresh the senses and re-stimulate the mind between in-depth and intense seminar sessions.

Emma Jones, head of venue and event sales at CH&CO, further discussed the growing awareness of healthy eating at events, as applied to both mind and body. Jones elaborated on how attitudes are evolving, with clients requesting menus specifically designed to boost attentiveness and information retention.

One such menu concept is “fuelling not feeding”, whereby food with a low glycaemic index is offered. For example, breakfast food consisting of muesli, porridge oats and granary breads, and lunch options such as wholegrain pastas, buckwheat and sweet potatoes are provided to leave guests feeling fuller for longer, and keep their minds focused throughout an event.

Capell-Abra said that it was reassuring that the members were starting to understand the simple changes that could be made in their approach but also being happy to stand up to the bigger more cultural changes that are needed to harness a better outcome for their teams and their delegates.

Lisa Hatswell, MD of Unique Venues of London said that the members’ meeting had gone straight to the heart of an important matter requiring urgent attention.

She said: “It’s not just managers who need to adopt a better understanding of wellbeing issues, it’s something which applies to everyone who works in the MICE industry. As such, I would encourage all those working in the sector to strongly consider signing up to a Mental Health First Aiders Course to become more proficient at managing issues as they arise in the workplace.”