Client: Youth Sport Trust
Group size: 130
Date: 7 October 2009
Venue: Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, Ratho
The Brief: The Youth Sport Trust is a UK charity working to ensure the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.
Hazel Williamson, national development manager for the Youth Sport Trust in Scotland, explains: "When London won the Games, the organisers pledged that the lasting legacy would be to inspire as many young people as possible to make sport part of their lives using the Games' values as their inspiration."
With this in mind, the charity, working with partners such as Sport Scotland, set up six Young Ambassadors Conferences to challenge young people, teachers and parents to take up this initiative and inspire communities.
The conference on 7 October was the final UK event at which two ambassadors were invited to attend from each local authority area, accompanied by teachers, support workers or parents.
Challenges: "We needed a powerful sports venue that was inspirational," says Williamson. "It needed space for the plenary session, a teachers' workshop and five young people's workshops."
Previous venues used for the conference had included Old Trafford in Manchester and the Brit Oval in London.
The nature of the initiative and the involvement of different organisations also presented a challenge. "The Scottish team had to work closely with the team in England and the events arm to make the event relevant to the audience in Scotland," adds Williamson.
Solution: Youth Sport Trust considered Stirling University, Murrayfield and Herriot Watt University, but the variety of its spaces, plus availability, made Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA) the ideal option.
"We have worked closely with Stirling in the past and, to be honest, Edinburgh was second choice, but in hindsight it worked out for the best as the meeting space at EICA was excellent," says Williamson.
One piece of constructive criticism that Williamson has for the venue is the need to keep records of every conversation and change of plan. "Venues we have worked with in the past have kept detailed event files and ensured that everyone involved had a copy, which we would have found invaluable on this occasion," she says.
Execution: Organisers had access to the venue the day before the event to set up. The event itself took place from 9am to 4pm and used all of the available event spaces at EICA, including a plenary session in the 220-seat Murray Lecture Theatre and a buffet lunch in the Raeburn Suite.
The Patey Suite, Haston Suite and Marshall Rooms hosted break-out sessions, involving presentations by Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
At the end of the conference, participants also had the option to use the facilities at EICA, such as the Aerial Assault Course.
Verdict: "This was the final conference in the series and all of the organisers agreed without doubt that it was by far the best venue in terms of the layout," say Williamson. "EICA has excellent break-out rooms that are close enough to move VIPs around from one to another. It has real 'wow' factor, and the space and light means the venue lends itself especially well to events of this nature."
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