Steve Shaw is Arena’s director responsible for delivering three of the company’s key capabilities: mass participation, scaffolding and event solutions. Steve joined Arena with the acquisition of Mass Participation in April, 2017, delivering infrastructure and now fully managed events to charities. He reflects on his first year as of part of Arena Group.

The most exciting advantage having joined Arena Group has been the strategic investment in being able to develop our products and services to really give our clients a progressive, premium offering.

We have invested in two key areas, firstly by expanding our Cancer Research capabilities through creating new products and, secondly, the acquisition of Event Solutions, giving us in-house crowd solution products.

Investment in people has been a primary priority. We expanded the Mass Participation offering to move from being a product supplier to go towards being a full-service provider.  We have always provided front-of-house staff and operators for obstacles at the races, but this now extends to take on the full delivery of the event so that the charity organisers don’t have to think about the event logistics and licensing aspects, leaving them free to focus on their messaging and optimising their return on investment.

Our client Cancer Research UK asked us to help keep its events fresh for annual participants. We discussed the creation on new obstacles for the very successful Pretty Muddy events and we then managed the design and manufacture of two new fixtures. This included a full risk assessment of their use, ensuring we used the best quality materials and manufacturing process so that we had safe, robust, easy to install obstacles that could be utilised on a variety of surfaces.

We made eight “Light at the End of the Tunnel” and 16 “Wall of Fame” (climbing frame) obstacles, which were used at 76 events around the country in 2018. We have the ability to deploy them all at the same time, with our busiest weekend having 10 events across the UK.

A second key highlight of 2018 was the acquisition of Event Solutions. We already knew, respected and worked with the company, having contracted them for our crowd control infrastructure at mass participation events. We were confident they would be a great addition to Arena, giving us a wider, more diverse product range. Given the economies of scale it has meant we can offer clients better value across a wider range of products and save them time through one point of contact.

June’s acquisition added fencing, pedestrian barriers and crowd control barriers to our inventory, with their managing director James Wood bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and a different client base.

It’s been a real win / win scenario as we have mutually introduced new products to existing clients and new clients to existing products.

As well as the trained staff and products, we also now own specific specialist vehicles –such as fork-lift fitted vehicles.

It really is a very exciting future with our expanded staff-base, product portfolio, stock management and specialist vehicles. Being able to offer stock, vehicles and people from a range of nationwide locations improves our efficiency for servicing clients well.

Being part of the Arena Group certainly gives us access to a wider, diverse marketplace with new resources and multiple locations.

I look towards 2019 feeling we are ideally placed to expand our offering to bring all of our services and products to a wider range of clients. We have a superb opportunity to develop business with real scale, centred around a wealth of experience and equipment, backed by Arena’s reputation for supporting the consistent design and delivery of memorable events.