Conferencing with a conscience: How independent venues in Leeds are helping the local community

77% of consumers state they’re more likely to use companies committed to making the world a better place. To wrap up this year’s Independent Venues Month campaign, we’re shining a light on some of the venues that are working tirelessly to make Leeds a better place by supporting communities, shaping local talent and setting an example to the wider conference industry to ensure it continues to thrive across the region and globally through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 


A little over a mile from Leeds city centre is one venue supporting women and children in unique ways. Once the Harehills Grammar School, Shine is a refurbished conference centre in an iconic building on a mission to make a difference. Through a partnership with Leeds Prison Service, Shine helps reintroduce ex-offenders of non-violent crimes to daily life by helping them develop life skills through paid work, with 40% of their pay donated to a victim support fund, so ex-offenders can secure housing to help reunite those that have been separated from their families. As a result of the partnership, Shine has helped reunite 29 children with their mothers.

Shine also supports children across the region with education and experiences; its on-site vegetable patch is accessible to children to plant seeds, pick the food and learn about nature in the process. The venue also runs an annual theatre production for children from Harehills Primary School and so far, Shine has delivered world-class theatre productions and gardening classes to over 2,500 local children.

As if this wasn’t enough, Shine also provides support and resources helping with the development of local and regional entrepreneurs which has helped secure over £250,000 of new business. 

Horizon Leeds

City centre Horizon Leeds sits next to the River Aire, an ideal location to immerse yourself in bustling city life. Horizon Leeds is a not-for-profit organisation and is owned by the NHS Confederation, meaning any profit made off the back of conferences and events is reinvested into services provided by the NHS, as well as patient care and staff wellbeing. Horizon’s conscience for supporting others is strengthened through its relationship with the UK Centre for Event Management at Leeds Beckett University, which helps emerging future stars of the conference and events industry.   

Horizon’s intentions truly start from within, with all its suppliers adopting conscious ways of working, so organisers can be confident that their conferences and events are socially responsible, from fairtrade beverages to food waste that is kept away from landfills.

Leeds Playhouse

A hub for culture and arts in the centre of Leeds, Leeds Playhouse is known for bringing the best new theatre productions and rising stars to its stage. But did you know, it’s a charity too?

Leeds Playhouse’s leading engagement programme creates access and entry points to the arts for people from all walks of life. For those living in areas of Leeds where engagement in the arts is low, the community programme gives a stage for people to share their story. The Playhouse’s mission is clear – to champion a place for everybody and to provide opportunities for anyone to perform in a safe and inclusive environment. 

By choosing Leeds Playhouse as your next conference venue, you’ll be directly supporting its community’s engagement programme, which helps over 10,000 young people, older people, schools, refugees, and adults with additional needs. 

Conference Leeds, the conferencing bureau for the city of Leeds, offers a free and impartial service to assist delegates in experiencing the exceptional. To explore your options ahead of your next conference, visit: