On Monday 15 October, the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire opened Aspects, its new £8.1million events building. Aspects provides up to seven separate event spaces that can be configured in a variety of formats to suit the demands of organisers, offering stunning and inspirational views across the Arboretum’s landscape. This investment is projected to generate £21.4million across the West Midlands region over a 10 year period.
Aspects establishes the Arboretum as a regional destination for conferences, able to accommodate over 400 delegates in theatre style and banquets of up to 300 people, creating additional demand in the local economy for delegate accommodation and other facilities. The creation of this halo effect was the driving force behind £500,000 of funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) recognising the tremendous contribution that Aspects will be to the local economy. A survey of Arboretum visitors indicated that 9% currently make use of paid overnight accommodation in the Local Enterprise Partnership area and the opening of Aspects is expected to drive further demand in this sector.
The Arboretum’s extraordinary setting encourages conference delegates to shed the constraints of the corporate world; to shift perspective, make space to think differently, spark creativity, and foster feelings of inspiration, awe and gratitude. The state-of-the-art banqueting facilities, staffed by the Arboretum’s team of accomplished chefs provide beautifully cooked food using locally sourced ingredients for events of all sizes and the lounge area is ideal for drinks receptions, registrations, break out sessions and evening functions.
Councillor Mike Wilcox, Leader of Lichfield District Council, commented:
“I am delighted that this impressive building has been unveiled and know that it will help to cement Lichfield District’s standing as a fantastic conference location. Located in the very heart of the country, with easy access to major transport networks, the National Memorial Arboretum and Lichfield District offers a unique location for business visitors. As a member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, we know how important it is to invest in opportunities that will help grow our region’s appeal, and we are delighted that Lichfield District will enrich the West Midlands’ already impressive conferencing offer through this investment. Aspects is a contemporary conference facility that now offers companies a bespoke area and the setting cannot fail to inspire attendees with its stunning views and thought provoking memorials.”
With easy access to major motorway networks and nearby railway links to the West Coast Main Line and Cross City line, the Arboretum is easily accessible from all parts of the country. Aspects means that event organisers can benefit from a full suite of modern facilities and amenities specially designed for groups, with the latest technology at the heart of their experience.
The construction of Aspects was made possible with generous funding from The Royal British Legion, the Chancellor using LIBOR funds, The Veolia Environmental Trust and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.
Sarah Oakden, Head of Marketing at the National Memorial Arboretum, said:
“The opening of Aspects is another landmark moment for the Arboretum, made possible thanks to the generous financial support of our partners. Aspects blends the latest technology incorporated in the building with access to the living memorials within the Arboretum’s 150-acre grounds, providing a unique experience for event attendees.
“We currently host hundreds of small and medium sized events each year for organisations from across the UK, including military, fraternity and business groups. Aspects enables us to build on this legacy of successful delivery, providing a state-of-the-art flexible events space for events that matter in a place that matters.”
Chris Loughran, Deputy Chair of GBSLEP, said:
“Developing new conference facilities at the National Memorial Arboretum will help to attract more visitors and generate local spending – while also raising southern Staffordshire’s profile with a much wider audience across the UK.
“We are committed to supporting transformational schemes across our region. Aspects is just one project that demonstrates that areas outside our main urban centres have real potential to drive economic growth, support local businesses and create new jobs.”