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The First Ever Global Disability Summit At Here East

Tue 31 Jul 2018

The first ever Global Disability Summit took place at Here East this week on the 24th of July, along with its sister event at the same venue on 23rd July: the Civil Society Forum. Both events were organised by our event management team Smart Live, along with the UK Department for International Development (UK DFID), the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Kenya. Both events needed to accommodate for around 1,200 guests each day with and without disabilities, as well as assistants and support staff. Catering was provided by Smart Hospitality, meaning it was all hands on deck for this event as Smart Venues, Smart Live and Smart Hospitality all came together to expertly deliver this world-first, impactful summit.  

Due to its reputation of being home to a community of pioneering companies and institutions, Here East, our venue located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, was the perfect venue to host the summit. Smart Live planned and delivered the whole event, with the main 2 areas being event production and delegate management. 

In terms of event production, the blank canvas venue was completely transformed for these events. Smart Live organised for 3 spotlight rooms to be built on the 1276m2 First Floor Reception, which held multiple breakout and spotlight sessions about pressing topics throughout the two event days. Two marketplaces were also built, and allowed organisations such as Microsoft and Unicef to showcase new policies and technologies for people with disabilities. Other areas that were built on the First Floor Reception were relay areas with casual seating, an accessibility zone, 10 meetings pods, a charging point, a quiet area and an information desk. Smart Live also managed the creation and printing of event collateral, including programmes, signage, menus, badges, a step-and-repeat wall, and what ever else our client needed.

The large 2,385m2 Theatre was where the main sessions were held, often hosting the majority of the guests, meaning the 1,000 capacity space was a perfect fit. It therefore had to hold enough conference chairs and furniture for all guests, including space for wheelchairs. It was also fundamental that AV requirements were the best they could be throughout the event days, including lighting and projection screens, as well as extended AV requirements such as captioning and translation.

Out on the terrace, guests could find a sandpit for guide dogs, portable toilets that had to be craned onto a platform, and casual furniture for delegates to network on. 

In terms of delegate management, Smart Live organised guest registration by creating a bespoke website portal. It was imperative before and during the event that the team and the venue were prepared for all disabilities, whether that meant making sure the whole venue was wheelchair accessible, or making sure there were plenty of water bowls around the venue for guide dogs. Delegates were also travelling to the event from around the world, which meant that Smart Live had to look after all flights and accommodation, and make sure translators were readily available. 

In addition to the above, our in-house caterer Smart Hospitality provided all catering for the event. They provided rolling refreshments on both event days, which consisted of tea and coffee, bottles of still and sparkling water, and a selection of fresh pastries and cookies, all served on 4 catering stations scattered around the First Floor Reception. On the 23rd, guests were given the choice of salads and sandwiches, including a tuna Niçoise salad served in bowls, and a lemon and herb roast chicken salad baguette. An evening reception also took place on the 23rd, which was invite-only and welcomed the President of Ecuador. Las Dos Marias white and red wine was served, as well as bottled Peroni and elderflower presse. Cold and hot canapés were also served, including teriyaki beef skewers with sesame crust and wasabi mayonnaise, and miniature beef wellington with a horseradish cream sauce. For lunch on the 24th, a wide range of sweet and savoury finger foods were circulated, including chocolate raspberry cups with lemon thyme, and chicken and sage rolls with fennel and chilli crust.

A team of almost 200 staff ran both event days, from AV to meet and greet staff, from catering to security, and from room managers to signers and translators, all ensuring absolutely no stone was left unturned.

Can we help you for your next event? If you’re looking for a passionate and experienced event management team, click here to see what Smart Live have to offer. Alternatively, if Here East sounds like the perfect venue for your next event, click here to see our dedicated website, or click here to find out more about our in-house caterer Smart Hospitality.

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