The Queen Elizabeth II Centre, and London, won this prestigious conference after the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) had considered a number of European cities. The Centre worked very closely with both Visit London and Visit Britain and other partners, such as British Airways, to ensure they presented the best bespoke value-for-money options for the IAHSA to meet their event requirements. Together the partnership ensured a co-ordinated approach and included options for social events and hotel bedrooms as part of the package. The close co-operation between all London partners and their commitment ensured the best value for IAHSA and the success of the event.
The conference programme offered three days of education and networking opportunities that brought the conference theme – Leadership Beyond Borders – alive. Each day delegates chose from a wide array of educational sessions that exposed them to international perspectives on common challenges and opportunities in the ageing services sector.
An average of 600 people per day attended over a three day period. Attendees came from 22 countries worldwide.
The IAHSA used the whole Centre for this event, which allowed for an exclusive feel for the conference, including event branding and awareness throughout the Centre. An exhibition and catering area was set up on the third floor, alongside the plenary session room, with several workshop and symposia sessions on other floors and a design for ageing innovation zone on the fifth floor.
In line with QEII Centre’s own green policy, IAHSA worked towards a more environmentally friendly conference. To help reduce waste, presenters did not provide attendees with handouts. Instead presentations and session materials were available on their website so attendees could download files and print them as needed.
Highlights of the conference included two new programme features: poster sessions and global cafés. These unique sessions gave attendees the opportunity to engage with colleagues and exchange ideas and best practices in a casual and relaxed setting.
Each afternoon, two poster sessions offered attendees a visual and concise method for exploring new research findings and models for care. The casual format of the sessions encouraged participants to visit each poster station and then engage in conversation with the presenters. The posters addressed a diverse range of topics including workforce, person-centered care and innovations in services delivery.
The conference was hailed an outstanding success, by both the organisers and delegates.
Virginia D. Nuessle, executive director of IAHSA – The Global Ageing Network commented: “We chose QEII Centre as the venue for our eighth International Conference because of its prestigious location in the heart of Westminster, as well as the quality and reliability of its services, its facilities and superb staff support. I want to thank the Centre for everything it did to make the conference a success. The staff’s tireless and cheerful presence made everything go smoothly so the conference logistics were fabulous. All of the attendees commented on how well organised the event was.”