Guest blog post by Eleanor Besley, Policy Advisor, Sustrans

I last hosted an event with OGGS when I worked for a charity named PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) and thought it to be a great venue in a great location. So when I was asked to organise a venue for our Sustrans panel debate for Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Jenny Jones, Brian Paddick and Siobhan Benita to be grilled on how they intend to make London a cycling city as part of The Times’s  Cities fit for cycling campaign, OGGSVenue immediately jumped to the forefront of my mind.

London Mayoral Candidiates at the Sustrans debate

 Photo courtesy of Sustrans 
Predictably Boris arrived for the Westminster event on his bike but thankfully not in ‘whippet thin legs clad in cycling lycra whilst skipping red traffic lights’ which is a remark he got heckled much for later on in the debate!
This is why we think OGGS is great for meetings and events including charitable organisations like ours:

1)      Their location in relation Whitehall and Parliament was just perfect. Very handy and convenient when you have Ministers and MPs in attendance.

2)     Security: As they are so close to the Houses of Parliament and located within the exclusion zone, they were well used to dealing with high profile visitors.

3)     Their purpose built theatre, the Telford was ideal as we needed a top table for the panelists with microphones within striking distance (I am joking!) from the 240 delegates and the package included all the Audio Visual equipment we needed.

4)      Sustainability is important to us as Sustrans has its own manifesto 2012 mayoral elections calling on whoever is Mayor to cut congestion and pollution by making it easier to cycle, walk and use public transport. OGGS’s commitment to sustainability is good generally and their recently signed food pledges commended by Rosie Boycott combined with their Silver Green Tourism Award complemented our own ideals in some respects.

5)      As luck would have it, OGGS had an excellent not-for-profit rate available on our event date! We were given a 20% discount off our room hire, saving us just over £400.00 (that should be enough to get a few more “Boris Bikes” around town!)
Yesterday’s event ran like clockwork. Our dedicated Event Co-ordinator (Yvonne Williams) could not have done any more to aid the smooth running of the event. Thank you to all involved and we’ll definitely consider and recommend OGGS for similar events.

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