Back in 2005, the Northside Community Church had an opportunity to redevelop its site located at Crow’s Nest. Instead of building a facility just for the Church, the visionary leadership team decided to develop a day meeting facility which could be used for the local community as well as the business sector in conjunction with the Church. The result of that project was the Northside Conference Centre facility, a 3-level venue with 8 rooms including a modern Auditorium which can accommodate up to 400 people.
Patricia Chan, Northside Conference Centre’s General Manager, talked to us about the services offered by the venue as well as the points that differentiate them from the competition. Patricia manages the facility seven days a week and is proud to preserve the original vision which led to the development of the centre. The venue is a not-for-profit organisation which redirects the vast majority of its profits back into the community, supporting numerous charities and local groups in the process. Some examples including support for a mission in Madagascar that aims to put more kids to school, regional youth Aboriginal group, Women’s Refuge, as well as charities for the marginalized and homeless people of Sydney.
Hosting professional and community events
Today, the centre is operated by several paid employees as well as a huge team of volunteers pooled from the local community. According to Patricia, what makes the centre truly unique is that it is a “modern venue suitable for the high end corporate sector yet at the same time it is able to accommodate smaller groups at different levels in order to benefit a variety of community use”. Large corporations around the Lower North Shore frequently hold strategic planning days, workshops, AGMs, conferences, and end-of-year cocktails at the Northside Conference Centre.
On the community side of things, the venue hosts groups like AA, Legacy, Meditation, Mothers & Seniors meetings, and more. Patricia and her team do everything they can to accommodate the budget of such organisations so that no one is left out. Furthermore, they recognize a number of charities each year and offer huge discounts. Organisations like AA and the Leukaemia Foundation who truly do great work for the community have a professional and approachable venue to conduct meetings and conferences without spending exorbitant amounts of money.
“It’s a five-star venue. To be able to offer that to a very worth community not-for-profit organisation is one of the best things about what we do here. We can bless them with a venue that they would otherwise not have been able to afford. We are trying to work with their budget and make recommendations, whether they are corporate or non-profit. The core of what we do is to build the community, to help the greater community”, explains Patricia.
A wide selection of meeting spaces
The auditorium offers a premium space with plug-and-play, state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, full lighting and draping, two large 12×9 fold back screens, options for web casting, audio visual recording, and more. On the Upper Level, there are four configurable breakout rooms which can be combined for extra space. In addition to that, the Urban Garden is an open room with natural light that can host up to 90 people.
Moving further, the Lower Level provides another configurable space which is described as a ‘blank canvas’. It can be used for workshops, community events, classes, training, and more. The Boardroom is another ideal location for meetings of up to 35 people. Finally, the Foyer is ideal for cocktail and exhibition events so it is perfect for more intimate settings.
Delivering a caring, personal touch
The personal touches are what truly sets Northside Conference Centre apart and what makes it a great place to work. Like Patricia says, the staff understand the vision of what the organisation is trying to achieve and they are more than happy to work hard for it. The venue stands for charity but it is also a professional organisation which goes above and beyond. The feedback from clients also reflects that. Thankfully, the centre has been operating smoothly since its inception and the wider community has benefited directly from this.
By continuously updating and upgrading their equipment, the centre has also managed to remain competitive in the challenging industry of hospitality. Their catering services offer all-day delegate packages, from breakfast to full-day catering to cocktail parties. Their menu also changes seasonally, particularly for the high-end cocktails. Outsourcing also means that they have no overhead and can keep prices very low. The all-day delegate packages start from $29 per person upwards to $45 for full catering which includes high-end drinks and food.
Constantly looking towards the future, Patricia hopes to see more and more people using the centre’s facilities. As they do not have a big advertising budget, they mostly rely on word of mouth as well as the Internet. Those methods have worked great for the organisation but getting higher attendance into the auditorium is a priority for Patricia. As long as the Northside Conference Centre continues to profit, the community will also benefit.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Northside Conference Centre
WHAT: A not-for-profit conference centre which supports the local community and charitable organisations
WHERE: Oxley St, New South Wales 2065, Australia