How Australian convention centres are helping local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
With business as usual paused for Australian convention centres during the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s how three of Australia’s largest meeting places are repurposing their expertise and resources to assist their local communities.
Utilising the expertise of its in-house Audio Visual and Information and Communication Technology teams, International Convention Centre Sydney has launched a virtual offering to help businesses and the community connect while face-to-face meetings are paused. The virtual solution, which includes two broadcast studios, has facilitated online events, meetings, remote presentations and even virtual school excursions, in addition to providing an avenue for mass communications which would normally have taken place as public gatherings.
“We are lucky that we already had in place a wide offering and skilled team to make this happen,” says Geoff Donaghy, ICC Sydney’s CEO.
“I’ve been amazed by how quickly clients have adapted to this new world. Working together we have been able to reimagine formats and content to continue to deliver world class events online.
“It is positive that in the current climate, businesses and organisations see huge value in continuing to come together, connect and collaborate. In fact, it is probably more important than ever.
“While I’m proud of what our team have been able to create and contribute to in keeping our industry and community connected virtually, we are all looking forward to the restart of face to face engagement and communication,” said Donaghy.
Venue manager of Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Venue Management, is supporting South Australian community organisations during this time by preparing approximately 50,000 dishes a week for Meals on Wheels SA. The pivot of their kitchens is also ensuring continuing employment for their catering staff.
Adelaide Venue Management’s CEO Anthony Kirchner said the company had a responsibility to the community to make the best use of their considerable resources at the convention centre and Adelaide Entertainment Centre, which is also under their management.
“Across our venues, we have access to some of the biggest kitchens in the State, along with a highly trained team who are at the ready to assist South Australians in important ways. We are reaching out to various companies and community groups where we have identified a possible need to see if we can lend them a hand in these challenging times.”
In Queensland, the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) has also repurposed their kitchens, joining forces with local organisations to provide more than 25,000 meals to vulnerable people in the local Gold Coast community through collaborations with a range of charities.
“If there’s a silver lining in the current crisis, it’s seeing the community rally together to support those most affected,” said Adrienne Readings, General Manager of GCCEC.
“We are doing everything we can to offer a lending hand – including donating juices, soft drinks, cooking thousands of meals and encouraging partners to join in our mission.”
The centre is also using its technical capabilities to help local schools deliver remote lessons by creating temporary studios and recording lessons for online distribution.
“Many schools and teachers have little or no experience of recording lessons for online consumption and we are able to offer supportive and technical capacity to these schools,” said Readings.
“In-house we have also been preparing to welcome events back to the Centre, ensuring that we are COVID safe and every aspect of our building is as new.”