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Bureau unveils latest surprise signing

20th August 2010

Categories: Convention Bureau News

The old rivalry will forever remain on the field, but Sunderland and Newcastle have come a step closer off it, after the University of Sunderland recently became a member of NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau.

As the Premiership season gets into full swing and Newcastle United prepare to face their rivals in red and white, the two cities have put their ‘turf war’ to one side and set the goal of lasting business benefits as the University becomes both a NewcastleGateshead Initiative ‘Convention Bureau’ and ‘Corporate’ member.

The University's portfolio boasts five venues situated by the Riverside and in the city centre, including the award-winning CitySpace which has recently been the venue for BBC events such as the televised North East Sports Awards. The venues are flexible and have excellent meetings facilities with several state-of-the art lecture spaces for up to 800 delegates. A number of unique facilities include an on-site cinema, TV and radio studios, a Moot Courtroom and superb IT training resources. In addition to its extensive parking, the university has excellent public transport links, while the National Glass Centre, which is part of the University and is already a Convention Bureau member, has a novel glass-blowing workshop and the stunning ‘Throwing Stones’ restaurant, which is ideal for private dinners for up to 170 guests with superb views over the River Wear.

Sharon Olver, the University of Sunderland commercial services manager, said: “Joining NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau makes perfect sense to us as it provides fantastic opportunities to profile the work we do, our great learning opportunities and the ongoing development of this academic institution within the region’s wider academic framework.

“There has been huge investment in our estate and our meetings facilities in recent months. From small training sessions to major national conferences, and even hosting the new Dr Who and his assistant, the University of Sunderland provides convenient, flexible and unique locations for a whole host of meeting and events.”

Jessica Roberts, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “The University of Sunderland is highly respected throughout the region and boasts some excellent meetings and conference facilities and working together with them provides greater strength when it comes to contesting highly-lucrative business in the conference and meetings market.

“Something which makes North East England stand out as a conference hub is the variety and depth of conference venues available - and our academic institutions throughout the region are integral to this.”

The University of Sunderland joins an already strong portfolio of academic venues. Newcastle University, Northumbria University and Event Durham (Durham University) are already members of NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and frequently work together to promote the area and celebrate the strengths of their respective cities.

Jessica Roberts added: “North East England boasts several highly-respected academic institutions, some which are very contemporary and others which have a far more historic feel. What unites them all is their top-rate conference facilities, from state-of-the-art lecture theatres with all the mod cons, to historic halls and chapels which provide such a unique and stimulating conference or banqueting setting.”

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau has recently further added to their 90-strong membership by welcoming Novotel Newcastle Airport on board as a member. The hotel, situated close to Newcastle International Airport, has 126 bedrooms and their five meeting rooms can accommodate up to 220 delegates. A scheduled shuttle service connects the airport and hotel in five minutes.

To find out more about NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau membership, contact head of business tourism, Jessica Roberts, at: or call
0191 4405760.

For wider NewcastleGateshead Initiative membership information, contact Laura Rose, membership development manager at: or call: 0191

For further information:

David Bootle, Media and PR Manager – Business, NewcastleGateshead Initiative
Tel 0191 4405741, email to Editors


• NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) is the destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead. Its mission is to position and promote NewcastleGateshead as a leading European destination for leisure and business visitors through cultural programming, event bidding and high-profile, targeted destination marketing and PR activity. Created in 2000 by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council as a publicly and privately funded business, NGI has developed a strong brand for the area - promoting it nationally and internationally as a place at the forefront of innovative culture-led regeneration and a world-class place to live, learn, work and visit.
• NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau uses local knowledge and expertise to help organise conferences, meetings or events in NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding area. It provides a free service including arranging everything from venue sourcing and booking, to accommodation, transport and entertainment for delegates. With a huge choice of state-of-the-art venues NewcastleGateshead is fast becoming one of the UK’s most popular destinations whether it’s for a meeting of 10 people or a conference for thousands.
• It is estimated that visitors to NewcastleGateshead from around the UK and overseas contribute £1.2bn to the local economy.
• Press releases and copyright-free hi-res images on NewcastleGateshead are available from our website


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