Covid-secure event: Battle of Britain Reception
On 20 September Church House Westminster hosted a reception for the RAF following a memorial service at Westminster Abbey marking 80 years since the Battle of Britain.
A flypast took place after the service which was viewed from the Westminster venue which itself is conveniently located in Dean’s Yard. A Hurricane and three Spitfires could be seen flying in a box formation over Westminster in central London.
Due to Coronavirus restrictions and subsequent physical distancing in place, the attendance for this years’ memorial service at Westminster Abbey and the follow-on reception at Church House Westminster was significantly reduced. Despite the reduction in numbers, the spirit of the commemoration remained strong.
Following the flypast, guests slowly made their way to the venue’s Dean’s Yard entrance where temperature checks were in operation. Additional safety measures were in place as standard, such as enhanced cleaning protocols and placement of ample sanitiser stations throughout the route and in the rooms. The venue’s team members were placed strategically to aid way finding, monitor physical distancing and minimise movement within the venue.
The Assembly Hall of Church House Westminster hosted the reception for up to 30 guests, including staff. Various of the venue’s 19 rooms were utilised as breakout rooms. An orchestra performed in the Bishop Partridge Hall and the performance was live streamed to the Assembly Hall, which was expertly managed by the venue’s in-house audio-visual team. Numerous breakout rooms facilitated changing rooms, catering for staff members, a VIP room, and an organiser’s office. Planning prior to the event ensured that these rooms as well as restrooms, were all incorporated in the one-way layout of the venue route, clearly signposted, to ensure the safety of the guests and team members on the day.
Guests enjoyed a selection of canapés from the venue’s Covid-secure menu and catering portfolio, created by the venue’s Executive Head Chef. At the entrance door, each guest collected a pre-packaged and hygienically sealed sustainable container with a selection of canapés from the entrance of the Assembly Hall. Pre-poured drinks were served in hygienically closed glasses available from bar tables which were dotted around the sides of the Assembly Hall, featuring safe distance queuing signage at each bar table. A drop-off point for used food containers and glasses were positioned at the exit door of the Assembly.
Michele Small of RAF Northolt commented: “As always, thank you so much to you and your team for all your continued support over the months leading up to and on the day of the Reception following the Service. It all went off well and with a number of guests giving plaudits the next day. We look forward to working with you all next year”.
Vedrana Dancerelle, Head of Reactive Sales and Event Planning at Church House Westminster, remarked: “We’ve hosted this poignant annual reception for many years, however, this year there’s no denying that it looked a bit different. We knew that it was essential to re-imagine the event. Our teams worked together with our client to ensure that our Covid-secure measures were communicated in a clear manner in the lead up to the event to ensure a safe and memorable experience for the guests”.