Despite running the leading events venue in the region, the team behind the Border Union Showground is certainly not resting on its laurels.
The venue, which is owned and run by the Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS), is well-known for hosting annual agricultural events such as the Border Union Show and the Kelso Ram Sales, but is also used as a festival base for many groups and hosts the council’s counting station in local and general elections.
However, it is now being renamed as the Borders Events Centre (BEC) as part of a drive to attract additional business into the region, and to take further advantage of the potential provided by the UK’s £42.3billion event industry.
The venue comprises a multi-purpose event space, Springwood Pavilion, set in 40 acres of beautifully maintained parkland, providing a picturesque backdrop for a range of indoor and outdoor events
The venue also hosts numerous additional events including the Borders Art Fair, vehicle rallies, award-ceremonies, balls, conferences, weddings, fairs, exhibitions, product launches and the Society’s Championship Dog Show.
BUAS is keen to build on this success to attract further consumer and corporate events to the Borders, which, according to the society, provides additional trade for shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation providers in the region.
The new brand and dedicated website for the BEChave been created, with a vibrant, modern and engaging look and messaging, that showcases the venue’s suitability for a wide variety of different events.
New event management, computer systems and high-speed fibre connectivity have been introduced, and a new sales and events planner role has been created, with event specialist Charlotte Newton appointed to drive sales.
The site’s Springwood Pavilion will undergo an upgrade in the coming weeks, with additional improvements also planned on-site, subject to successful funding applications.
BUAS chairman, Neil Thomson, said: “The UK events industry is booming, with today’s consumers seeking out exciting experiences to enrich their leisure time and companies searching for creative and engaging ways to connect with current and potential customers.
“Recent figures indicate that 35% of the UK visitor economy is accounted for by events, so we see a huge opportunity here, not just for the BUAS, but for the Borders as a whole.”
In addition to a picturesque, rural location just a five-minute walk from the historic cobbled market town of Kelso, the BEC’s facilities include the 1,000m2 multi-purpose pavilion that can be divided for smaller events or break-out groups.
It also boasts a professional kitchen and can host 1,000 people seated theatre-style, 500 banquet-style and receptions for up to 650 guests.
High ceilings and roller doors allow for large vehicle and equipment product launches, and around the grounds, the site boasts a tarmac road system, ample parking plus camping and caravan facilities and shower and loo blocks.
It’s certainly a unique and well-known venue, so why the need for the rebrand?
Mags Clark, executive director at BUAS, told us: “The rebranding of our Scottish Borders home demonstrates our confidence in our fabulous location and the facilities we provide, and will help us to show that we’re not just a venue for agricultural events.
“We have acres of beautiful parkland and a highly flexible event space that’s just an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and 90 minutes from Newcastle and Carlisle, and we believe we can compete with the very best Scotland has to offer.”