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Our Update


NewcastleGateshead wins World Transplant Games bid

Following a competitive bidding process, NewcastleGateshead has successfully won a bid to host the World Transplant Games in 2019. NewcastleGateshead hosted the most successful British Transplant Games ever in 2015 and subsequently launched a bid to host the World Games in summer 2019. An initial bid document was submitted earlier this year and the destination was shortlisted alongside Houston, Texas.

A panel visit from key members of the World Transplant Games Federation took place in May 2016, as they assessed the suitability of the shortlisted cities, and the process culminated in a final presentation to 13 international members of the World Transplant Games Federation Council in London on Monday 4 July.

The World Transplant Games Federation Council members voted following the formal presentations and NewcastleGateshead was confirmed as the successful candidate.

Andy Eddy, Chairman of Transplant Sport, the charity which organises the annual British Transplant Games, said: “I was pleased to back NewcastleGateshead as the British nomination for the World Transplant Games 2019 and am delighted that we have won. The event will provide an important platform to raise awareness of the need to increase organ donation on a national and international stage.

“As a transplant recipient and a competitor in the British Transplant Games, I know first-hand the role sport can play in building confidence and improving quality of life. The Games provide a great opportunity to highlight transplantation and celebrate the gift of life enjoyed by transplantees.”

The World Transplant Games will take place in NewcastleGateshead from 17 – 24 August 2019 and is expected to attract up to 3,000 participants (competitors and supporters) from more than 60 different countries around the world. NewcastleGateshead also hopes to secure the largest participation from any single nation, by attracting over 700 members of Team Great Britain, and is seeking to host an International Symposium on Transplantation at the same time. Together, the World Transplant Games and the proposed symposium will contribute in excess of an estimated £4m to the local economy.

The NewcastleGateshead World Transplant Games bid was developed through a partnership approach led and co-ordinated by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead) and MLS (the event management company involved in co-ordinating the British Transplant Games) in support of the official bidding organisation Transplant Sport UK. Other key partners include: Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Westfield Health and Graham Wylie (chair of the local organising committee).

Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “As the spiritual home of transplantation – with doctors and facilities here that have led pioneering work in transplantation for many years – we were inspired by the success of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games in 2015.

“Our bid highlighted these medical credentials as well as our connectivity, track record of hosting world-class sporting events and the fantastic venues and facilities that we can offer as a host city. But, as importantly, we focussed on what would really set us apart. Our ambition is to host a truly visible games – with events and activities taking place at indoor and outdoor venues in the very heart of the city and with an exciting cultural and social programme that athletes, visitors and local communities alike can enjoy. This unique approach has clearly paid off and we very much look forward to welcoming participants from around the world in 2019.”

Graham Wylie, chair of the local organising committee for the British Transplant Games in 2015 and for the 2019 World Transplant Games bid team, said: “Houston was a formidable competitor and we had to develop a very compelling case for NewcastleGateshead. With the support and hard work of all our local bidding partners this is exactly what we did – and what a great achievement to be awarded the 2019 World Transplant Games.

“Being involved with the British Transplant Games was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Last year we delivered the most successful Games ever; more than 850 UK transplant athletes and 2,500 spectators came together for a four day celebration of sport, powered by the gift of life.

“As the host destination for the World Games we can now galvanise support across the destination and we’re confident that we can deliver a truly memorable event, raise awareness of transplantation and encourage more people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register than ever before.”

Around 6,500 people in the UK are currently on the transplant waiting list and every day around three people who could have benefitted from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors. In addition, there is a need for those on the NHS Organ Donor Register to share their wishes. Currently 42% of families refuse to provide consent following the death of a loved one, mostly because they did not know their loved one’s wishes – further limiting the availability of much needed organs for transplantation.

Councillor Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, said: "This is fantastic news for the North East, once again confirming our ability to attract and host world class events. I know NewcastleGateshead will put on a superb event, not only raising the profile of transplantation but ensuring the competitors and supporters from around the world have a brilliant and memorable stay with us."

Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “It is fantastic news that the NewcastleGateshead bid to host the World Transplant Games has been successful and like the rest of the city I am looking forward to welcoming athletes from across the world.

“We have huge experience in hosting major sporting events and we can promise all the participants and their supporters a warm Geordie welcome and an experience they will never forget. I hope the efforts of those involved in bringing the games to NewcastleGateshead and the sporting displays on the field and track help to raise the profile of organ donation on a global stage.”

In 1987 the World Transplant Games Federation – whose purpose is to visibly demonstrate the benefits of successful organ transplantation, work to increase public awareness of its success and thereby increase organ donation rates – was officially formed to drive forward the Games as a vehicle to achieve these objectives. The Summer World Transplant Games now take place every two years and the Winter Games in the intervening years.

The competitors are unique in that each one of them is alive and well as a result of a successful organ transplant. The Games embrace all ages, anyone from 4 - 80 years old who qualifies is welcome to participate, and there are over 50 events to suit all capabilities including athletics, 10 pin bowling, swimming, racquet sports, golf, volleyball, lawn bowls and cycling.

The World Transplant Games was last staged in the UK in 1995 when Manchester hosted the event.

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A world of conferencing in NewcastleGateshead

Last week we were delighted to launch our brand new business tourism video, promoting NewcastleGateshead, and the wider region, as a leading destination for conferences, meetings and events - inviting event organisers to discover our world of conferencing.

The video features many of our region's most iconic cityscapes, attractions, hotels and venues. To launch the video we teamed up with Conference and Incentive Management magazine to offer event professionals the chance to win a trip to NewcastleGateshead and experience the sites and activities seen in the video below.

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Convergys brings 600 news jobs to the region

Convergys, a global leader in customer management services, has been confirmed as the single tenant of The Rocket in Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter. The Rocket will be home to Convergys’ new, state-of-the-art contact centre, which is set to create 600 new jobs within this prime city centre location.

Newcastle City Council and developers the Clouston Group formed a public/private partnership to deliver their ambitious plans for the £200m development, with Phase 1 including the Crowne Plaza Hotel which opened last summer, the Stephenson Quarter Car Park and 35,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at The Rocket.

Expansion plans announced by Convergys reaffirm the company’s commitment to the North East, with a significant footprint already on Tyneside employing 700 people at their Quorum Business Park base in Longbenton.

Newcastle fought off stiff competition from other cities across the UK to secure this significant investment in the city, including a package of support provided by Invest Newcastle, the dedicated inward investment team at NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council said: “This announcement is a major step in realising our vision to secure economic prosperity and employment opportunities for Newcastle, and testament to the wealth of talent in the North East.

“In the last economic downturn Newcastle City Council took decisive action with projects such as the Stephenson Quarter to ensure we supported the city through difficult times, providing immediate jobs but promising also to make sure we were positioning Newcastle to take advantage of the upturn in the economy.

“I’m delighted that today we are able to deliver on that commitment and support Convergys with their growth plans, which will create hundreds of jobs for people in our city. Importantly, it sends out a strong message of confidence to the market, making it clear that Newcastle is open for business despite the current uncertainty.”

Phil Telfer, UK Lead at Convergys, said: “This investment not only demonstrates our ambition to grow in the UK, but also our commitment to the city of Newcastle, where we have been an employer for almost 25 years.

“Choosing to expand in the Newcastle area was an easy decision - a big part of our local success is testament to the talented people we already have working here, and the strong reputation the team has for delivering great customer experiences on behalf of several leading global brands.

“We wanted to choose a building within a prestigious location that was impactful, and that set out a clear statement of our UK ambition. With The Rocket, we believe we have achieved this.”

Michelle Percy, Director at Clouston Group, said: “Convergys is a blue chip company moving onto a flagship site in Newcastle. This is a real coup for the city and all our partners who have worked tirelessly to make Newcastle an international destination and a great place for business.

“For Clouston Group, the investment decisions by international occupiers like Crowne Plaza and now Convergys, validate our vision to make Stephenson Quarter a unique and highly attractive location for business, leisure, retail and housing. We must now focus on Phase 2 of the development, to continue to attract an international calibre of investors to this ambitious city.”

Internal fit-out at The Rocket is now underway, and it is envisaged the facility will be operational by late summer.

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NewcastleGateshead bids to host Great Exhibition of the North in 2018

NewcastleGateshead has submitted an innovative and ambitious bid to host Great Exhibition of the North in 2018. Led by a consortium of partners including NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, North East Cultural Partnership, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead, the bid puts the North’s inventive, innovative and trail blazing spirit at the forefront.

Carol Bell, culture and major events director at destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We believe we are the perfect destination to host Great Exhibition of the North.

“Not only do we have a proven track record in hosting major festivals and events, we also have an inspiring story to tell about our region; one that celebrates the great art, culture, design and innovation that defines the North of England today.

“We’ve worked in collaboration with a wide range of regional partners to develop our bid, and if successful, we would build on this partnership model to ensure we engage and enthuse the whole of the North.”

In March 2016, the government announced a competition for towns and cities to host the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018. The two-month exhibition – planned to take place in the summer of 2018 – will celebrate the best of art, culture and design across the North of England.

NewcastleGateshead’s bid to host Great Exhibition of the North has won support from numerous business, science and cultural leaders including: Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company; Professor Sir John Byrne, Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and Dr Tom Shakespeare, Senior Lecturer at Norwich Medical School.

Iain Watson, director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “Our approach is to use the city and the destination as our ‘venue’ for Great Exhibition of the North. It’s about creating a living, breathing exhibition that takes people on a journey through NewcastleGateshead, which celebrates the ideas, products and exports of the North – both past and present, as well as looking to the future.”

John Mowbray from the North East Cultural Partnership said: “One of the real strengths of NewcastleGateshead’s bid is the commitment to work in partnership with the arts and cultural sector across the wider North. It will be a great example of the Northern Powerhouse in action and an exciting creative collaboration.”

Sarah Munro, director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, said: “We know from the huge success of Turner Prize 2011 that there is a real passion in the North for arts and culture. 150,000 people visited BALTIC during Turner Prize 2011, many of them from across the UK and internationally. We’re extremely proud to be part of NewcastleGateshead’s bid to host Great Exhibition of the North and look forward to developing a programme that will attract audiences from far and wide.”

Abigail Pogson, managing director of Sage Gateshead said: “We are really thrilled to be part of the Great Exhibition of the North bid along with partners across the region. Music is central to the North’s cultural life and Sage Gateshead has always celebrated excellence, innovation and heritage through its performance and education programmes. The Great Exhibition of the North is a great way for us to continue this both for local people and for visitors to the region.”

Newcastle City Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities, Kim McGuinness, said: “I'm extremely proud to support our bid to bring this major attraction to the North East bringing prestige to our cultural portfolio and providing a massive boost to the region’s economy.

“We have proven time and time again that our city is a fantastic host for big, national events and I’m sure that our businesses and communities will get right behind the idea as we celebrate all that is good about art, culture and innovation.”

Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, Councillor John McElroy said: “There are substantial benefits to hosting and staging large-scale events, however this unique event also gives a fantastic opportunity to showcase the wealth of art, culture, design and innovation that already exists here in the North East, and I am sure it will be enjoyed by both local people and visitors from afar.”

With the government contributing £5m towards the exhibition with a further £15m available in the form of a legacy fund to attract wider cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse, it’s hoped Great Exhibition of the North will boost the economy in the region.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The Great Exhibition of the North will promote the Northern Powerhouse to the world and showcase the best of the region’s art, culture and design.

“As well as acting as a real boost to local tourism, this event will provide an important cultural legacy to the North.

“Newcastle and Gateshead boast a strong creative scene with wonderful cultural institutions and I am sure they will submit a strong bid.”

Sir Gary Verity, chairman of the Great Exhibition of the North board, said: "The Great Exhibition of the North will showcase the best of our art, design and culture to the world in 2018 and will help bring the whole region together.

"I look forward to seeing the high quality bids from towns and cities across the North."

Carol Bell continued: “We know from previous experience that festivals and events contribute millions of pounds to our regional economy. Great Exhibition of the North will have national and international appeal and we expect visitors to travel from right across the UK and beyond.

“In addition, the exhibition will help to showcase our booming knowledge economy and creative sectors, encouraging further investment and interest from businesses keen to ride on its success.

“NewcastleGateshead’s bid to host Great Exhibition of the North puts local artists and performers, cultural organisations and creative businesses at the forefront. It promotes our innovative and entrepreneurial activity as well as highlighting research conducted by universities in the region.

“Not only will it instill pride in our city and region, it will also change outdated stereotypes of the North and reflect the true character of the place - one that is creative, cultural, innovative and truly pioneering.”

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