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Sir Ian Blair delivers 2019 Longford Lecture at Church House Westminster

Former Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Lord Blair of Boughton, was the speaker at this year’s Longford Lecture, held at Church House Westminster on 21 November.

For this year's 18th Longford Lecture, a capacity audience packed into the largest lecture hall of the London venue, the Assembly Hall, to hear the former Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis - between 2005 and 2008 - talk about “Where next for policing and criminal justice?”.

Catering was provided during the evening by The Clink Charity, who aim to reduce reoffending rates of ex-offenders by training prisoners and placing graduates into employment in the hospitality industry. Prisoners helped to prepare canapes and wine under the supervision of the Westminster venue’s in-house caterers CH&CO.

The in-house audio-visual team of the Westminster venue coordinated state of the art staging, lighting, sound, and projection for the lecture.

Many of the London venue's adjoining event spaces including the Concovation Hall, Hoare Memorial Hall, and Bishop Partridge Hall, were used as a reception venue and exhibition spaces. Charities that work closely with the Longford Trust exhibited as individual stalls and Longford Prize winners and Longford Scholars also hosted a display, which facilitated networking throughout the evening.

The annual event is organised by The Longford Trust, working in association with The Prison Reform Trust, and aims to tackle questions of social and penal reform on the national stage. It has been held at Church House Westminster since its inception in 2002 and was once again chaired by renowned broadcaster Jon Snow.

The event has attracted a host of high-profile speakers – the first lecture was delivered by Cherie Booth QC, and other speakers have included Bianca Jagger, Martha Lane Fox, Sir Hugh Orde, President Mary McAleese of Ireland, Michael Gove, Michael Palin, Ken Loach, Will Self, and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“We were delighted to work with Church House Westminster to deliver the 18th Longford Lecture,” says Peter Stanford, the director of the Longford Trust. “It is the continuation of a long and very happy partnership with the team there, which has enabled us to make the best use of the venue’s versatile facilities to ensure that our lecture has become an event of national significance. I would like to thank Church House for successfully piloting us through another Longford Lecture, with particular mention for their sterling support and willingness to go the extra mile”.

Robin Parker, General Manager of Church House Westminster, comments: “Our partnership of working with The Longford Trust to host its annual lecture makes them one of our longest-standing clients. The lecture touches on important issues and continues to attract internationally renowned speakers. We are delighted to continue the tradition of working with the Longford Trust to deliver a thought-provoking evening.”   

Church House Westminster is a Grade II-listed events venue in central London. The Westminster venue offers convenient and accessible transport links and is situated within walking distance of the Houses of Parliament, the River Thames, and the London Eye. The AIM Gold accredited venue provides 19 versatile event spaces including meeting rooms and theatres for hire. The largest dedicated lecture theatre, the dome-shaped Assembly Hall, accommodates up to 664 guests. The award-winning team of events coordinators arranges over 800 events every year including meetings, conferences, awards ceremonies, gala dinners, product launches, and receptions. For events requiring bespoke catering and audio-visual requirements, the venue team members include in-house caterers, CH&CO, and expert in-house audio-visual technicians.

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