We spoke to Jessica McCabe, Acting Head of Conference and Events at Sage Gateshead about success at last year’s Visit England Excellence Awards and what she loves about the North East.
What does it mean to Sage Gateshead to be shortlisted for, and win, awards such as the North East England Tourism Awards and Visit England Awards for Excellence?
We are incredibly proud to be recognised at a regional and national level for our commitment to both leisure and business tourism, and the benefits that it brings to the region. It is testament to the hard work, passion and commitment of the whole team here, right across the organisation.
What impact has winning at the Visit England Awards for Excellence had?
It has really helped to showcase the conference and events capabilities of the venue, and demonstrates to potential clients that our services and facilities are of the highest standard. We’ve had amazing feedback and positivity around the win, from our existing client base, industry peers and when speaking with prospect customers.
What makes Sage Gateshead stand out from the crowd?
Where do I start! Of course the building, it has become a real icon for the region. The standard of facilities and technical production is of a truly global quality. But the main thing for me is the people. We have such a huge range of skills and abilities, backgrounds and expertise; from our dedicated conference team to our music colleagues. Everybody works together to create a unique experience for visitors – we will even offer graffiti workshops or steel pan music classes for delegates! It really helps us to give a unique experience to every visitor that comes through the doors and that personable touch is what we pride ourselves on.
What is your favourite part of the North East and why?
My favourite part of the North East is Little Haven Beach in South Shields, particularly on a stormy day. Our coastlines are unparalleled and I think we can forget how lucky we are to have them so close. I can’t imagine living anywhere where you have to travel more than 30 minutes to get to a beach, I’m lucky and my current trip isn’t even half of that. I also love looking at the red tower on the pier – it was the inspiration for Barbour International’s logo and a real symbol of just what we can achieve here in the North East when we put our minds to it.
Are there any hidden gems in the North East that you would encourage people to visit?
I really love Jarrow Hall. It’s local to me and has an amazing café, Hive. They have great coffee and it’s naturally my social duty to buy as much cake as possible from a local independent outlet. It’s surrounded by things to do – a beautiful park and St Paul’s church and monastery ruins on one side, and Bede’s World living Anglo Saxon village on the other. It’s amazing. It helps to remind me that the North East is an ancient place with so much history.