It’s been a while since I attended a moving conference at which I knew hardly anyone. But so it was as I arrived at the Ten Square Hotel in the centre of Belfast for the 2021 BAR Young Movers conference in October.
I was instantly surrounded by people who bore a vague resemblance to people I once knew. At first they were all strangers … but not for long.
To be a member of Young Movers you need to be in the moving industry and under 40 years old. I didn’t qualify, by some degree, but I was instantly made welcome. It was just like the old days, and I found my most frequently used phrase was “Say hi to your mum/dad for me”. Great fun.
BAR Young Movers was recreated a few years ago and has since been finding its feet and bringing in new members, all dedicated to learning together, working together and, of course, playing together. I was both surprised and delighted to learn that the group is inclusive, accepting members from the whole industry whether BAR member or not. Very liberated, I thought, until I discovered that a new non-BAR member is required to take out individual BAR membership as well. Oh well. It’s still good that individuals can join even if their companies choose not to.
The conference was essentially over one day, bookended by a reception the evening before and an external event the morning after. The reception saw everyone descend on the hotel roof bar for a ‘getting to know you’ event that saw the spirits high and the bar staff overworked. I must say, the new generation still displays the same enthusiasm for a good time that their predecessors perfected.
The following morning, the whole group headed off to McGimpseys in the city where the company had cleared part of its warehouse and decked it out as a meeting venue. A very good job they did too. McGimpsey’s management and staff made everyone very welcome with presentations from Managing Director Melissa Campbell and her father, Campbell. Business advice was provided by social media experts Henry McCrory and Chris McClenaghan and by business guru Stephen May, who entertained and informed in equal measure.
Lunch, including cupcakes made by Melissa’s mum, was followed by a tour around the site, a very entertaining packing game and free-flowing Guinness. McGimpseys and the organising team from Young Movers worked very hard to make sure everything went without a hitch. If it didn’t, I didn’t notice, so I suspect nobody else did either. One minor criticism was that the room height was too low so the people at the back couldn’t see the screen. I’m being very picky here! Everyone did well and most of the people I spoke to said the business sessions had been very useful.
That evening saw the whole team descend upon the SS Nomadic for dinner. The ship was one of the tenders for the huge White Star Line ships, including the RMS Titanic. It saw long service, ferrying 1st and 2nd-Class passengers from Cherbourg in France out to the liners at the start of their voyages. Very interesting historical displays plus excellent food and brilliant musical entertainment from a local guitar and accordion trio. Some might have liked a bus back to the hotel before the end of the evening but, again, this is a picky criticism. It was an excellent event.
Those whose heads were in good shape the next morning headed off to the Crumlin Road Gaol, the unwelcome accommodation for many miscreants until its closure in 1995 and, for some, their final resting place. Again, an interesting piece of history.
The Young Movers made a fine job of their conference. It was a healthy balance of education and bonding, true to the organisation’s values. I would urge anyone in the moving business who’s lucky enough to be under 40 years old, in the UK or elsewhere, to give them a try. They truly represent the future of our industry. It was also nice to see it fully supported by BAR with both Ian Studd, BAR Director General, and Mark Chudley, BAR President, joining in the fun.
Middle - Conference delegates.
Bottom (left to right) - Delegates assemble at the McGimpsey warehouse; The Ten Square Hotel; The Titanic Centre.