North West business briefs: Manchester Central; Artisane; Booking.com; Co-op Bank; Emirates Airline; M&S Bank Arena

Manchester Central

Delegate numbers at Manchester Central have soared beyond pre-COVID levels in recent months and contributed 12% more to the economy, according to the venue’s latest quarterly report.

Between April and June 2022, the venue held 56 events and welcomed 100,419 visitors, a 13% rise in delegates compared with the same period in 2019. Several event and conference hosts have also reported their largest ever attendance numbers at the venue. This resurgence in numbers contributed £38.2m in economic impact to the region, an uplift of 12% compared with the same timeframe in 2019.

The latest figures come as Manchester Central, one of the UK’s largest and most versatile event venues, completed its first normal trading quarter since the pandemic. During the lockdowns, Manchester Central invested in high quality hybrid solutions to continue hosting interactive events for a variety of audiences. In an average year, Manchester Central attracts more than half a million visitors to the city and brings approximately £150m into the Greater Manchester local economy.

Shaun Hinds, CEO at Manchester Central, said: “These last few months have been some of our busiest ever and demand has been incredibly strong. It’s brilliant to see events bounce back in the way that they have and I’m so pleased to have the ‘buzz’ back under our roof again.

“These latest results show that there’s a real appetite for hosting large events in person right here in Manchester. And that has a really important positive impact on the recovery of the wider region, as spending around the venue on hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and much more has increased once again. It’s fantastic to see the city thriving, supporting jobs and helping to put the region on the global map.”

Events during the past quarter included Housing 2022, which recorded its best ever visitor numbers having welcomed 8,300 attendees and 450 speakers. The BIBA (British Insurance Brokers’ Association) conference also attracted a great number of attendees, with 8,066 delegates and 222 exhibiting companies.

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Sean Millar and MerseyMade founder Vicky Gawith welcome Walter and Anne-Louise Bouffard-Roupe

MerseyMade, the creative hub in Liverpool city centre, is preparing to celebrate the art of patisserie as part of a new collaboration with one of the city’s much loved independents, Artisane.

The South Liverpool bakery, best known for its traditional French breads, pastries, pies, cakes and macarons, is set to bring some of its finest dishes to the menu at MerseyMade as the venue, in the historic Chancery Building on the corner of Paradise Street, reveals plans for a new café called Scribble.

The new 50-cover eatery, which is set to open next month, will provide a relaxed and friendly setting for breakfast, a laid-back lunch or a catch up with family and friends. Boasting seating across two floors, Scribble is designed to give guests the chance to soak up the creative atmosphere in the surroundings of magnificent artworks and unique creations from more than 100 local artists and artisans.

The kitchen at Scribble will be overseen by seasoned restaurateur, Sean Millar, who is renowned for acclaimed restaurants such as The Other Place, The Side Door and Pruno. He said: “In the same way MerseyMade champions the work of the region’s artists and creators, Scribble is designed to celebrate our talented local food producers and Artisane is up there with the best. I’ve known the team behind Artisane for many years and I’m absolutely thrilled to be featuring a selection of their locally made pastries, pies, quiches and breads on the menu at Scribble.”

Anne-Louise Bouffard-Roupe, of Artisane, said: “We’re hugely supportive of MerseyMade’s mission to champion local independent businesses and this new collaboration is a perfect fit for Artisane, marking our return to Liverpool city centre. As a family run local business, we’re super excited about working with the team at MerseyMade as we bring a hand-picked selection of Artisane favourites to the menu at Scribble.”

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Manchester Pride

Digital travel company, Booking.com, has announced its sponsorship of Manchester Pride, which takes place between August 25 and 29, and more than 100 staff from Booking.com’s Manchester Trips Division will walk in the Manchester Pride Parade, which has as its theme this year ‘March for Peace’.

Booking.com, which will move into its new UK headquarters in Manchester in November, promises to mark the occasion with a series of activities and will unveil a few surprises across the weekend, it said.

Recent research by Booking.com found that 71% of UK-based LGBTQ+ travellers have experienced less than welcoming or uncomfortable experiences when travelling, with 61% reporting they have to consider their safety and wellbeing as a member of the community during their trips.

As part of its ‘Travel Proud’ programme, Booking.com is committed to continuing to work closely with its partners, employees and suppliers to connect with LGBTQ+ travellers, and is actively looking for ways to reduce barriers for the community both on and off its platform. That includes providing hospitality professionals with the confidence and tools to use the right language in every interaction with their guests, as well as leveraging more inclusive language and options on the Booking.com platform itself.

Matthias Schmid, vice president of Booking.com’s Trips Division, said: “Our mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. As part of this, it is vital that we address the needs of LGBTQ+ travellers within the industry, ensuring that everyone has the right to explore the world as themselves, always. We’re also incredibly proud to be building a global hub for transport here in Manchester, where we already employ more than 1,000 people from all over the world.

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The Manchester-based Co-operative Bank has launched a new initiative in partnership with youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, to help financially excluded, homeless young people in Manchester to access basic banking products.

A critical issue that homeless individuals face in accessing financial services is the absence of a fixed address. Acknowledging this, the bank is collaborating with Centrepoint to pilot an innovative solution – young homeless people in Manchester can use Centrepoint’s address as their own, prior to establishing a safe, permanent address.

Centrepoint’s advisors will signpost young people who require banking facilities to the bank’s pilot and provide the documentation required to apply for The Co-operative Bank’s Cashminder account. The bank expects to begin receiving referral applications in the coming weeks and will monitor the success of the pilot over the next six months.

Darrell Evans, managing director of retail banking at The Co-operative Bank, said: “The Bridge to Banking initiative has been designed to ensure that young people are not caught in the cycle of financial exclusion when attempting to reintegrate after experiencing homelessness. Being able to help people to access a bank account will add to the existing services which Centrepoint are able to provide. We hope it helps many young people to get back on their feet.”

Ed Tytherleigh, Centrepoint director of housing and support, said: “Lack of access to a bank account is a significant barrier preventing young people from escaping homelessness, and can even cause youth homelessness in some cases. We are very grateful to our long term partners The Co-operative Bank for working with us to develop a solution which works for the vulnerable young people we support, and will help many to speed up the process of accessing sustainable housing and employment.”

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Emirates Airline will be holding a pilot roadshow to recruit experienced and technically proficient commercial pilots across three major UK airports, including Manchester, Luton, and Gatwick airports.

The pilot roadshows will offer an opportunity for interested pilots to learn more about the recruitment process, meet the Emirates team to learn more about the benefits of being an Emirates pilot, and find out about living and working in Dubai.

The roadshow will visit Manchester on Thursday, August 11, at Double Tree by Hilton Manchester Airport, with presentations at 10am and 1pm.

Pilots only need to attend one of the sessions and prior registration is not required to participate.

Emirates encourages partners to come along to the roadshows as it is a family decision to move to Dubai. Interested spouses can attend the presentations to obtain information on living in Dubai, schooling for children and other aspects that would touch on the lifestyle of the family. Emirates also arranges for spouses to travel to Dubai for the assessment, so they have the opportunity to experience Emirates and Dubai, first hand.

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Sodexo Live! Lounge

M&S Bank Arena Liverpool has signed a new partnership deal with Sodexo Live! for its VIP lounge.

The bar will now be known as the Sodexo Live! Lounge and will offer a wide range of entertainment including live acoustic music sets from up and coming local artists. Up to 110 guests will be able to enjoy a tailored dining menu for each event and a range of premium drinks in the upscale mezzanine bar which offers spectacular views across the waterfront. The Sodexo Live! Lounge is open on event nights, meaning visitors can relax and watch entertainment before and after arena shows in luxury surroundings.

Ben Williams, commercial director of M&S Bank Arena parent company The ACC Liverpool Group, said: “We are pleased to confirm a partnership deal with Sodexo Live!, a global hospitality company with 500 sites worldwide including stadiums and arenas, convention centres, international sporting events and cultural destinations.

“We are particularly excited about providing a platform for up and coming artists from the local area to perform before select shows. Guests can enjoy a whole night of entertainment and relax, drink and dine in style before and after watching a concert, comedy, sporting or family event in our venue.”

Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO for Sodexo Live! UK&I, said: “We just love working with the team at the ACC Liverpool campus and helping them create the best possible experiences for every type of customer, from convention and exhibition attendees to a renewed focus on VIPs attending gigs at the M&S Bank Arena.”

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