Alex Wyatt (Commercial Director Union of UEA Students): commented that ‘We are delighted to announce that with immediate effect we have entered into a management agreement with VMS, whereby they will assist in the delivery of all aspects of the venues and commercial operation in UEA. In partnering with VMS it was clear they realised that while we want to develop the venues and increase the trade through them, at the same time we want to retain our independence and ensure that our programming becomes more diverse and represents the preferences of our members and the wider East Anglian public. We were very clear that we did not merely want to become a small cog in a large Wheel. In the discussions with VMS we are confident they are the best organisation to enable us to achieve our objectives. VMS are a relatively small company with a diverse range of clients in both the Public and Private sector but with huge experience in their team. It was clear that as well as improving our commercial position, we also hope that VMS will be able to assist with the development of the skills and of our existing staff pool which is already very knowledgeable.”
Steve Forster (Managing Director – VMS) commented that UEA and the Waterfront have been must play destinations in the UK for as long as I can remember, though in recent years the volume of trade has dropped off, and with the death of long time Venues Manager Nick Rayns, it was apparent that there was an appetite for change. There are certain similarities to Manchester in that UEA has been one of the few student union venues to have successfully flourished in the face of the expansion of the major corporate venue chains. Obviously there have been new entrants into the market both locally and nationally and our collective challenge is to ensure that across all of the venues we are the first choice option in East Anglia”.
Richard Maides (Operations Director – VMS) – further commented that “we are hugely excited at the prospect of working with the UEA. Team. We are looking to investigate every aspect of the operation to ensure that we are delivering the best we can to customers and clients alike. We are convinced that with this approach we will be able to deliver a better experience for all involved. There is no magic wand we can waive to instantly increase business, but through a mixture of hard work and knowledge we are convinced both the volume and diversity of events (club and live) coming into the UEA venues will steadily increase.