Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) had won the inaugural M&IT / CAT Media – Best Business Event, for hosting the Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) Conference in March 2017, the largest dementia research conference in the UK. The award was part of The Scottish Thistle Awards.
The two day scientific conference welcomed 454 national delegates contributing to a local economic impact of £461,700. For the first time a specially bespoke public engagement programme was created to run alongside the conference highlighting the local support available to people living with dementia. The majority of these events were free and held in various locations around the city, these included a Memory and Mind Art Show and a Come and Sing event, a dementia-friendly wellbeing initiative, attended by elderly local people living with dementia. The programme created new relationships between a number of key organisations in Aberdeen, strengthening the support systems and provided additional sign posting for those living with dementia.
Jane Elsom, Research Projects Manager, Alzheimer’s Research UK commented: “Alzheimer’s Research UK is absolutely delighted to have won this award with the team from the AECC. Our Conference in Aberdeen was a huge success and without the dedication and support of the staff at the AECC we would not have been able to achieve this. The strong links that AECC has with the local community meant we were able to hold a number of events to engage with people, starting conversations and raising awareness of dementia and the incredible research taking place across the UK. We are thrilled that our partnership has been recognised in this way.”
Steve Daun, Head of Conference, Meeting and Banqueting Sales, who collected the award in Edinburgh commented: “Working with Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) and hosting their annual conference in Aberdeen has allowed us to showcase our creativity and develop our first ever public engagement programme. Our public engagement strategy is now being used in all relevant future conference bids after the fantastic response and success of the ARUK event. We are delighted to be noticed at a national level for our work with ARUK and we look forward to developing our public engagement and the legacy that it brings to the local region”
The new purpose built venue, opening summer 2019, will be situated one mile from Aberdeen International Airport, boasting three on-site hotels providing 500 bedrooms, with an additional 2,320 rooms available five minutes from the venue. The project will see the creation of a new arena, conference halls, a subterranean multipurpose space, Energy Centre, car parking and public space. Winning this award highlights AECC’s strengths and partnerships in the conference sector which are key in securing new business for the future.