Good to be back!!!
It's so good to be back aboard the good ship OD&V!!
I have been reflecting on my first week back aboard the good ship Opening Doors and Venues since I was furloughed back in March at the beginning of the UK lockdown. Like many companies and organisations across the world, the coronavirus crisis has had a huge effect on our business and indeed the events industry, some negative and some positive.
We, at OD&V, started this year with a busy calendar full of events and conferences which would make our 20th anniversary year the busiest and best we had ever had. We even won a competition to feature on the January page on the North Worcestershire Economic Regeneration Development’s 2020 Calendar! Sadly, the coronavirus had different ideas, and one by one all of our planned events and projects were postponed to 2021 or cancelled entirely. Trying to take a positive out this terrible situation, our 2021 programme is looking very promising providing we don’t experience second or even third spikes across the globe. However, somehow, we still need to keep the business going for the remainder of 2020 with little or no visible revenue in the pipeline.
Working as a small team of three, two full time and one part time, our fabulous leader and founding director of OD&V, Rose Padmore, has managed to keep the OD&V boat afloat amidst these choppy seas of uncertainty. As, one by one, our projects were cancelled or postponed to next year, we cancelled flights and face to face meetings, hotels and conference venues and put catering and audio visual deals on hold.
After the announcement of the UK governments furlough scheme, Rose made the decision to furlough me, Sarah, the part time member of the team, followed by Madalina a few weeks later as there seemed to be no other solution and the project work dwindled. Applications for business grants were made and Rose kept herself busy working on the remaining projects in the calendar. Luckily for us, not all events were cancelled and Rose was able to bring Madalina back from furlough to support an industry colleague with managing a new virtual international congress designed specifically for the client, working alongside our ABPCO colleague Clare Beach of Azura Events. The team undertook a huge leap into learning about new technologies and virtual conferencing systems in order to create the exact format the client was happy to proceed with to replace the physical annual congress which was originally due to take place in the autumn in Canada.
In mid-May we received a call for help from the owner of the business centre where our head office is based. The manager of the building had sadly passed away and they needed someone to jump in and help immediately. Rose and I stepped up to reorganise and create a more formal structure to the running of the centre. Whilst this is not something that we would usually take on, it was clear that this role would suit me perfectly and I am pleased to say that I have since been offered a permanent, part-time role which also allows me to remain part of the “A Team” here at OD&V.
During the coronavirus lockdown period, Rose was instrumental in the development of a community project that involved a large volunteer support group with the objective of supporting each other and keeping spirits up. With the support of the Parish Council the group set up a village store cupboard and delivery service, collected prescriptions, bought and made PPE for our volunteers and hospital staff, created a fun virtual Quiz night, collected donated iPads and laptops for people to keep in touch, offered a phone buddy system, started a Bake off and photo competition, bought new books, games and puzzles for distribution and also delivered bi-weekly newsletters to all homes. The good news is that Rose, Bonnie and Kim are now planning a legacy project that could result in a village shop and café in the not too distant future.
We are very proud of the way in which we at Opening Doors and Venues have adapted to the crisis, the resilience Rose has shown in the face of such uncertainty across not just the events industry but the global economy, and most of all, Rose’s timely decision-making. With Rose as our Captain, standing proudly at the helm, and Madalina as her first mate, we will see our way through to the end of our 20th year and be ready to celebrate our 21st, with a big shiny key to the door of new opportunities!
Stay safe everyone!
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