Cabinet Office Surprise Booking

The Isledon year started off with a mystery. The Cabinet Office rang bookings on Tuesday: have we got two halls for 130 people, a room to set up a press office, plus private parking, for an unspecified senior cabinet minister’s press event the following Monday?

It was very early in the year, so unusually we did have all the space at short notice, and also met the rest of their very high specification. After meetings with Ceri and Rosy confirmation of the booking came through at 1.30pm on Friday. We were still in the dark about who the mystery minister was, though, and what they were going to be talking about.

Staging and cameras appear in the Yellow Hall

Staging and cameras appear in the Yellow Hall

First thing Monday morning, Isledon head office decamped Lift to help Ceri and the team. In came a stage, lighting, cameras, autocue, PA and a satellite-link vehicle. At around 10am the truth emerged – Prime Minister David Cameron was on his way, via a visit to the charity Family Action who had recommended Lift as an ideal venue. Before his speech he would like a 10 minute chat with Jonathan about Isledon’s work. We also had to set up an impromptu and sadly unexpected press event on the roof terrace as he would be giving a statement about the death of David Bowie.

It was fascinating to see the cabinet communications team in action. Everything was slick, as you would expect, and everyone was very helpful towards us as the in-house team.

The Prime Minister takes the stage

The Prime Minister takes the stage

The Prime Minister gave a wide-ranging speech to launch the government’s new Life Chances strategy. The topics included increased support for parenting, people with mental health issues, citizenship and mentoring for young people and the turning around of ‘sink estates’. Isledon was mentioned three times as an example of great social enterprise in action. Many of the topics were relevant to the work we do with young people and we hope some of the increased funding promised filters its way to the building where the strategy was launched – helping us give lives a Lift in Islington!

Thanks for the recommendation

Thanks for the recommendation :)

PM David Cameron meets the Isledon team

PM David Cameron meets the Isledon team

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