Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Ciriaco's Managing Director, Rebecca Kinahan, prior to fulfilling her dream of running her own events company, was the Head of Social Events at WellChild - the national UK children's charity making it possible for children and young people with exceptional health needs to be cared for at home instead of hospital. The highlight of Rebecca's career, and the annual events calendar, is the prestigious WellChild Awards which she managed during her three years at WellChild.
Event Management of the Awards
Event Brief: To plan and seamlessly deliver a high profile, exclusive invitation only special event to celebrate the inspirational qualities of the UK’s seriously ill children and young people, along with those who go that extra mile to make a difference to their lives.
Event Concept: A red carpet event hosted at a 5* venue on London's infamous Park Lane. Guests are welcomed with a Champagne drinks reception (or mocktails for the young award winners and their siblings) with canapes and a special VIP reception for the award winners to meet with TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, and other special guests. A showcase of the award winner films, award givings, celebrity entertainment and a special 5* dinner.
Event Management: Planning the WellChild Awards was an annual process, as soon as the event finished, future planning would begin.
Throughout Rebecca's management, the prestigious event was hosted at two 5* venues in London, The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane and The Royal Lancaster London which quickly became a firm favourite due to the team at the Royal Lancaster who were so attentive and accommodating of the event's complex requirements.
On a charity budget, there was always a difficult task of securing celebrity performers and presenters. Guests were treated to special performances including magician Dynamo, the cast of the West End's The Lion King and impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw. See the gallery below for flavour of the guests and event.
Due to the high profile nature of the event, security was paramount. The logistics of coordinating the met police, search team, personal protection officers, venue security, the press, 500+ guests and ensure all staff and volunteers understood their roles was a very complex task. There were attempts of uninvited guests entering the event but fortunately all were stopped in their tracks.
Part of Rebecca's responsibilities were to deliver the event and to achieve the pre-agreed fundraising income target. Fundraising events, such as the WellChild Awards, are an important income stream for the charity to continue funding programmes and they provide excellent opportunities to raise awareness of their work. During the planning stage it was essential to identifying sponsorship opportunities and build the relationship with the headline sponsor, GSK and all other sponsors.
“These awards were created to shine a bright light on an amazingly brave group of children and young people. Life for families caring for seriously ill children is exceptionally tough. And without WellChild it is even tougher.” – WellChild Patron, The Duke of Sussex
“Well done – I do hope you are all feeling extremely proud of last night’s event – think you managed to even top last year’s event!!" - Event Headline Sponsor
"Having spent most of the week receiving feedback from attendees at Monday’s WellChild Awards, I hope you are as proud I am of the stunning event we produced and the impact it has had (and will continue to have) in all of the areas in which we work. The Awards project has a number of key targets. From my point of view, we have smashed those targets this year, creating something very special indeed. The way the team comes together to allow us to pull off what is a truly top class event is something to be really proud of and shouldn’t be underestimated." - WellChild Chief Executive
“I felt I must send you a short note to congratulate you and all of the staff on a fantastic evening last night, definitely the best yet. Everyone I spoke to from winners guests to celebs to dignitaries were full of praise. If there were any glitches they didn't show and everything seemed to go so smoothly. The music was just right for the occasion as was the food and venue. It all came across as so slick and professional. The Lord Mayor of Westminster, who attends many such events, couldn't believe that a charity the size of WellChild could put on such a bonanza, he was blown away by it. A truly fantastic evening which you and all of the staff should be very proud of.” - WellChild Chairman
“Many congratulations to you and all the team, on another fantastic Awards Dinner. The whole evening was superb, and was super slick and well organised, and went off really well. I can only imagine the amount of work and preparation that went into it ‘backstage’ , but like all great productions, it looked effortless." - WellChild Trustee
Read more about Rebecca's role at WellChild in the Meet the Team: Introducing our Social Events Team! blog post from September 2018.