|Worth over £42.3 billion in the UK alone1, the events industry is certainly booming yet venue options are still predominately confined to the traditional offering of hotels, conference centres, exhibition halls and purpose-built buildings. However, with the cry for flexibility in venues from organisers more prevalent than ever, there’s a venue which is changing the face of the events scene in the south of England.
The South of England Event Centre, more commonly known by the public as the South of England Showground, in West Sussex, is already home to a vast range of highly contrasting events from pop concerts, classic car shows and the famous International Antiques Fair, to firearms training, the Big Bang educational fair, construction expos, and the prestigious South of England Show. Now, more and more, organisers are turning to the showground to host their events due to its sheer adaptability and potential for growth.
Located just 36 miles from London and 20 miles from Brighton, reaching an immediate population of 1.3 million in Sussex alone, one of the key features of The South of England Event Centre is the versatile infrastructure and wide range of facilities for accommodating events and occasions that require indoor and outdoor space. With just over 50 acres of outdoor space, over 6,000m² of indoor space and a further 100 acres of adjoining land, a comprehensive premises license, and on-site catering services for functions of any size, there aren’t many events that the venue can’t accommodate. Flexible contracts mean that event organisers can rent as little or as much of the showground and its buildings as they require, thus providing many events with space to grow their event without moving venue.
Furthermore, as more organisers are focusing on their eco-credentials and CSR policies when choosing a venue, The South of England Event Centre is providing an all-encompassing solution. Not only has the venue’s owners – The South of England Agricultural Society – implemented a ‘zero to landfill’ policy where the entire venue’s waste is processed for recycling or energy recovery, the Society is also a registered charity which funds and supports agricultural education and countryside learning.
Iain Nicol, CEO of The South of England Agricultural Society which owns the Event Centre and showground, said:
“Although the South of England Showground is a well-known venue to the public, it is less well known as a venue that is available for hire from businesses, organisations, professional event organisers, and individuals. However, more and more our pure flexibility and diversity of space is putting us on the map. Whether it’s a small business breakfast meeting, a team-building challenge, a sporting event or a large-scale music concert, international conference or exhibition, the showground, with its various buildings that can be hired as separate spaces, is providing the solution for a lot of companies.
“The Society set up The South of England Event Centre to generate much-needed additional funds to support the charitable work we do, without which it couldn’t operate. As such, 100% of the Event Centre’s profits are gifted to the Society at the end of each financial year to enable us to support people with an interest or involvement in agriculture and other related land-based industries.”