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All go at Salford Quays

Apr 08, 2011 | Blog

The BBC's move to Salford Quays has been high on the news agenda over recent months. The British broadcaster is relocating some of its departments, including key members from marketing, communications and audiences and the BBC Breakfast team, to MediaCityUK next spring - in a bid to make the organisation less London-centric.

The move is already having a very positive impact on the area, according to Mathew Jayne, head of hospitality at The Lowry – a multipurpose venue located right in the heart of Salford Quays, consisting of a number of theatres and art galleries, as well as conference, meeting and event spaces.

"It's great that people will be moving from London to work at MediaCityUK and the development has also opened up additional job opportunities within the region," he noted.

In total, 2,300 BBC positions will be based in Salford Quays, with an estimated 1,500 posts relocating from London and Manchester.

Mr Jayne likened MediaCityUK to Canary Wharf. "[Canary Wharf] started off as a quiet, big and bleak place, but obviously now it's established in its own right. So that's how I see [MediaCityUK] – it's going to be a real hub for the media industry," he said.

The Lowry is already working on establishing a strong relationship with the corporation and is planning to continue these efforts in the future.

"We've recently worked with [the BBC] on a number of screenings they have done. Likewise, we hope to engage with them by supporting their events with our conference facilities," he explained.

Even excluding its work with the BBC, the venue has been busy of late, holding a number of large-scale events, including the Radio Academy Annual Conference. Up to 450 people attended the two and a half-day event, which also included technical workshops and a small exhibition.

"We're currently working with the [London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)] - we've got the Game Makers event taking place, which is the recruitment of the volunteers for the Games," he added.

At present, an exhibition called Unlocking Salford Quays: The Inside Story is taking place at its art galleries, while its theatres will play host to plays such as Yes, Prime Minister and United over the coming months.

"The main thing that The Lowry is known for is its theatres and its art galleries – the two main theatres are [The] Lyric Theatre which holds 1,730 people and [The] Quays Theatre which holds 440, both of which can also be used for large-scale conferencing," Mr Jayne explained.

It is these galleries and theatres which help The Lowry stand out from other conference centres and events venues, he added.

"We can offer that little bit extra or something special than say what a hotel can, for instance delegates can visit the galleries during their lunch break," he said.

The venue's status as a charity is also important, he believes, especially as companies increasingly come to pay more attention to corporate social responsibility.

"We are a unique venue but we are very geared to dealing with the demands of a commercial client - so we've got that commercial acumen but in a charitable arts and cultural centre," Mr Jayne went on to say.

The Salford venue is also in a great location, offering easy access by tram from the centre of Manchester

"Our location is good, our facilities are excellent and we've got the extra benefit of being unique," he added.ADNFCR-1752-ID-800501112-ADNFCR

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