Case Study - Our first event post-COVID with the Leverhulme Trust

September 2020

On July 21st, we were able to open our doors for the first time since lockdown began and host an interview panel for the Leverhulme Trust. They were looking to appoint a new Director and recognised it was a process best carried out face to face. The Leverhulme Trust is a large, UK grant-making organisation that has been funding research, fellowships, bursaries and more for nearly 100 years.

Shot of ceiling at Westminster meeting venue 10-11 Carlton House terrace Shot of ceiling at Westminster meeting venue 10-11 Carlton House terrace

The Trust had a number of criteria their choice of venue needed to meet and 10-11 Carlton House Terrace was just the right fit. It was important to them that the panel was hosted somewhere familiar; it needed to be in a convenient, central location; the venue had to have large enough spaces to host their group and they needed to know they could rely on the team to run the day smoothly and professionally. Their enquiry came in mid-May and planning promptly got underway.

With lockdown still in full swing throughout the planning process, the team ensured regular communication with the Trust about any news or changes to current regulation. The client appreciated this: “Communication in the run up to the event was good. They gave us no reason to be concerned and all of our queries were responded to positively and promptly.” The 10-11 team also ensured attendees were aware of the procedures they’d need to follow at the venue.

In total, seven people attended the day. This small group was perfect for getting everyone at the venue quickly back in the swing of things and made it easy to make sure everyone was adhering to the new safety measures in place.

The day began with staggered arrival times between 9:00 and 9:30 to remove the risk of guests gathering at the entrance. They were also required to sanitise their hands and confirm their arrival for the Track and Trace system in place. Whilst all staff at the venue are required to wear masks, guests are not - provided they can keep a safe physical distance. A one-way system throughout the building helps ensure this is possible at all times.

Staff serving tea and coffee for a meeting Staff serving tea and coffee for a meeting

The team worked hard in the run-up to the event to make sure these extra processes wouldn’t infringe on the day, and as testament the client shared: “We didn’t feel the COVID processes hindered our day at all. Safety was the prime concern and we were all made to feel safe throughout.” After arriving, each guest was escorted upstairs to the Music Room and served tea and coffee by catering staff, helping to minimise any touch points. 

Adjacent to the Music Room, the Council Room was the space of choice for holding the interviews. While the room would usually fit up to 32 delegates in boardroom style for an event like this, the client agreed to have a hollow-square layout for eight in order to ensure a safe distance of 2m between attendees. Bottled mineral water was included on the table and an extra serving of tea and coffee was prepared for guests on request.

The Council room at Westmister meeting venue 10-11 Carlton House Terrace The Council room at Westmister meeting venue 10-11 Carlton House Terrace

The first round of interviews took place from 9:30 and was followed by a late morning break in the adjoining Music Room for tea, coffee and biscuits. After a couple more hours back in the Council Room, the second round of interviews concluded and the group broke-out for lunch.

The in-house caterer at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, Searcys, has developed a specially-designed touch-free menu for events, and re-trained their staff to serve food in new, safer way. Individual bento boxes were prepared for each guest which contained re-imagined classic sandwiches, salad, sides and a dessert. The boxes were well-received by attendees and service was carried out safely and successfully.

Bento boxes offered by London caterer Searcys Bento boxes offered by London caterer Searcys

Rodney Payne, Regional Director at Searcys said: “We’ve spent the last few months meticulously re-designing our menus and re-training our staff to make sure the catering experience guests receive at events is COVID-safe, whilst continuing to deliver our high standards of service. The creation of touch-free menus has been a vital part of the process involved for restarting events, and the panel hosted for Leverhulme at 10-11 proved that safe catering is more than possible at events going forward.

Overall, the client shared their experience of the day: “The host and the coordinator agreed that the team were welcoming and friendly. Everything ran efficiently and, luckily for all, there was no need to the team to come up with any emergency quick fixes. The Chair has said he is happy to visit again for a meeting in October – and he would have insisted on a different venue had he not been satisfied!

In-house manager of this event, Imogen Steinberg said: “It was a joy to host our first event again after a number of quiet months at the venue. Getting daytime events like this one right has been crucial for us so we were delighted the day ran smoothly and successfully. Leverhulme’s feedback about their experience of the day with us has been testament to that. Now, we’re able to use this event as a blueprint for what works and apply it to those events we have upcoming.

AGMs, small conferences, meetings, interviews and training events are our bread and butter so we’re delighted this event with Leverhulme was a success. If you’re looking for a venue that will ensure your event is run safely and professionally, get in touch with the 10-11 team on 020 7969 5224 or at