Every year Exhibition News, the biggest magazine in the industry, hosts its annual awards, recognising the best of the event industry across more than a dozen categories, and The East of England Arena and Events Centre has been shortlisted in two of them, ‘Best Venue Event Safety Plan’ and ‘Best Venue over 8000sqm’.

It’s incredibly gratifying to see the hard work and dedication everyone at the Arena has put in over the last five years being recognised like this.

Being on the shortlist for the ‘Best Venue Event Safety Plan’ award tells us that our pandemic planning and collaboration with local government and public health has been up there with the best in the country. We’re tremendously proud of having been the first venue to host large, multi day Covid19-secure public events, including Truckfest and the Motorhome Campervan Outdoor Sale, both of which attracted thousands of visitors. From signage to sanitation points, visitor traffic flow and increased spacing of all stands, thoroughfares and toilet facilities, every aspect of an event was examined with current guidance in mind before the solution was agreed by all stakeholders.

We worked closely with Peterborough City Council and public health to ensure that everything met with the required guidance and then overlaid the All Secure Standard on top as an extra level of security. This was so successful that public health has reported no Covid19 cases arising from any of the events. We have now been able to share the knowledge and insight we have gained with those other venues and local authorities that have approached us since.

Our long-term infrastructure upgrades have allowed us to host shows like Plantworx, NoDig and Truckfest and demonstrate our ability to deliver a variety of large shows. Being shortlisted for ‘Best Venue over 8000sqm’ is also recognition of the many local partnerships we have developed, with hotels, transport firms, catering companies, bringing them together into a turnkey solution for event organisers. It is also positive proof that an exhibition is not constrained to the inside of an exhibition hall – Plantworx occupied over 900,000 sqm of outdoor space as well as the 9,000sqm of indoor space.

Simply being shortlisted for these two awards should be a source of great pride for everyone who works at the East of England Arena, and also for all those we work with to deliver great events, whatever the circumstances.