Why a sustainable conference venue?

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The first UK sustainable conference venue Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre

Why build an eco-friendly conference facility?

In the case of Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre, it was because we wanted a ‘green’ conference centre that reflected the ethos of Sheepdrove Organic Farm; the key messages being sustainability, eco-friendliness and biodiversity. And it’s like no other conference centre you’ve ever been to (in a good way, we promise!) – the first of its kind in Europe, we held our first conference in 2003 (for DEFRA) and have grown more successful with every passing year. Visit our website at http://conferences.sheepdrove.com  for more details about the building and its ‘Green Features’.

Just another conference centre?

Mention the words ‘conference centre’ or ‘external meeting’ to a friend or colleague and they will probably groan and cite harsh strip lighting, uncomfortable chairs, depressing or drab town centre venues, uninspired catering and a lack of parking as major bugbears when they have to attend them. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Thousands of the happy, invigorated delegates who have passed through the doors of Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre would tell a very different story – here are some of the things they love about us…

Built for comfort

How does a huge, squashy sheepskin beanbag instead of a chair sound to you? Twelve live permanently in the Rook’s Nest – a quirky, circular room much beloved of groups wanting a cosy bolthole that will inspire creativity. A dozen more are dotted here and there throughout the centre and delegates are welcome, in fact positively encouraged, to make use of them if they wish during meetings.

Many regular clients request ‘the beanbag layout’ time after time and it’s lovely to see a group relaxing in our rooms, happily ensconced in the beanbags. But don’t worry if this doesn’t appeal – we do have chairs too! They’re ergonomically designed to prevent fatigue and encourage good posture.

Unique rural location

We’re situated on a 2,250 acre working organic farm. How many other conference centres can say that? High up on the Berkshire Downs, we’re in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and have a wonderfully remote feel. Even so, we’re just 15 minutes from junction 14 of the M4 so we’re easily accessible (even delegates flying into Heathrow can get to us in an hour).

Being right at the heart of the farm means that delegates very often see our organically reared chickens, sheep, cattle and pigs grazing at close quarters – they love to see the chicks sunning themselves in our specially built conservatories, or watching our lambs and piglets charging about wildly! We even have three resident alpacas who graze the land and are employed to guard our sheep and chicken flocks against fox predation, and we offer tours of the farm on specially adapted trailers…

Nourishing, seasonal organic food

We serve only the finest organic, seasonal food – our vegetables come from our own garden and our meat is reared on the farm. Cooking in harmony with the seasons ensures delegates eat only what’s freshest and most abundant at the time of year.

Our current winter menu makes good use of our delicious, nutty squash & pumpkins, vitamin-packed kale and leafy cabbage and sweet, earthy beetroot, parsnips and celeriac. Our divine desserts might include sticky toffee pudding, chocolate fondant and seasonal fruit crumbles. Carnivores will devour our fabulous beef tagine, pork & apple casserole, sausage and mash made using proper Sheepdrove bangers or our creamy chicken & ham pie – that’s real comfort food! Vegetarians don’t miss out either – as well as all of those fresh vegetables, we make wonderful meat-free tarts, roulades and pies.

Delegates rave about our breakfasts! Companies can pre-order breakfast for hungry delegates; they can help themselves to our Sheepdrove bacon butties – freshly baked, still-warm rolls packed with our own organic bacon, or the more substantial ‘Breakfast on the Run’ – a portable feast of bacon, sausages, scrambled egg, rolls and muffins that’ll really set them up for the day. And that’s not all – mid-morning, they are treated to mouthwatering, home-made biscuits and, if they still have room, scrumptious home-made cakes in the afternoon!

Inspiring rooms, fabulous ambience……..

Our spacious, light, naturally ventilated rooms inspire and delight our delegates. The groundbreaking architecture of the centre is amazing and the most common reaction from delegates upon entering the centre is ‘WOW!’.

an alternative angle to architectureNo harsh lighting, noisy air conditioning or dull rooms here – the spaces are sympathetically lit with daylight and highly energy-efficient bulbs. There are plenty of windows so you truly do have ‘a room with a view’. The room temperatures are naturally comfortable because the building’s design makes the most of natural ventilation and light whilst being well insulated. But despite the natural feel of the rooms, each has the very latest audiovisual technology in situ – and everything, from the lighting to the lectern PC, is operated at the touch of a button – it’s foolproof!

Like what you’ve read?

Give us a ring to find out more or, better still, come up to the centre and see us – we love having visitors and showing people around. Our small, dedicated conference team is passionate about the centre and once you’ve seen it, we know you will be too. We’ll even throw in lunch! Now how can you resist an offer like that…? Call Kate on 01488 674737, or email us at myevents@sheepdrove.com. See you soon!

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One Response to “Why a sustainable conference venue?”

  1. Gabriel Peters Says:

    I liked every bit of it. Very good article.

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