Essential oils, soft green lighting, comfy chairs with cushions, free fruit, water for rehydration, decaf teas and coffees and a selection of wellbeing magazines. Welcome to The Quiet Room at ICE London.
Launched by EventWell, a Community Social Enterprise Charity, The Quiet Room is a safe space, slightly off the main show floor where you can come to relax, to clear your head, to get away from the huge stimulation of bodies and noise and visual hyperactivity.
Helen Moon, CEO of EventWell and an experienced events professional of over 25 years, recognised that events were missing something. “We wanted to create a safe space for anyone that needed it. As someone on the spectrum living with Bi-Polar disorder I’ve experienced times of being triggered at events, of being distressed and exhausted and I wanted to create an escape space that could be made to be part of the actual event.”
The point of the room isn’t to discourage people from experiencing everything that an event has to offer, rather it’s to encourage people that they can go to an event in the knowledge that a space exists where they can reset and talk to a trained professional about what they are feeling.
“There is a trained mental health professional in the room at all times. We have ‘big ears’. We’re here to listen and to support everyone that needs it. Much better to come to a Quiet Room than end up in the toilet or worse simply leave the event being unable to cope.”
Covid has left behind a high level of anxiety, with some reports suggesting that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression has increased by a massive 25%. Therefore, why are events behind when it comes to providing such spaces? Helen explains, “I’ve chatted to organisers and their feedback is that people don’t come to them requesting such things.”
She goes on to explain that even though Quiet Rooms or Calming Rooms are not a new thing, events have yet to embrace them. “There is a lot of education needed in the events industry. But it’s great that ICE are really leading the way in this. These few days have proved that a space like this is really needed.”
Indeed, almost 100 people over the last two days have taken a chair, put on some noise canceling headphones and come in for a chat or a cuppa. Interestingly, that number has included more men than women.
“Men are notoriously bad at talking about how they are feeling,” says Helen, “But that shouldn’t stop us creating a space where they can come to escape and to chat. Build it and they will come!”
As in-person events become popular again, recognition must be given to the consumer who has experienced lockdowns and Covid-induced anxiety. Consumers are now much more used to being able to control their own comfort levels. Events are, by their own nature, loud, full on and over stimulating and as people return to such spaces, requests may well start to pour in for that calm Quiet Room. ICE has shown that it has ‘Big Ears’.
If you would like to learn more about EventWell or make a donation, please head over to their website – https://eventwell.org/ or you can stop by at ICE N3 just off the main strip at ExCel.