There were several attempts to form a business association in Burgess Hill in the late 1980s and again in the 1990s, but on each occasion it could not be sustained.
In 2004 a group of business people came together with local MP Nicholas Soames with a common cause – to try to prevent occasional groups of travellers from camping out on their premises and thus making the running of businesses more difficult or impossible.
The result of the meetings was the formation of the BHBPA, with a paid Co-ordinator whose role was to summon the assistance and support of local councils and the police to ensure that disruption to business was avoided in the future. By the end of 2006 there was some progress. A Steering Group had been set up, under a Chairman and a group of Directors, and 45 companies had joined up as paid members. The police and local councils were represented on the Steering Group, along with local schools.
In January 2007 a new Coordinator was appointed. By 2010 the association was nearing 100 members and an annual exhibition of business was established in the town. A regular weekly newsletter became standard, a series of networking events for members was established and membership increased steadily.
In recent years, we have had few incidents involving traveller incursions and the BHBPA has grown to around 170 members in 2015. We still work closely with the local police and the two councils, town and district. There is a regular programme of events for members which are always well attended. The BHBPA continues to provide a weekly newsletter communicating regular news to members and others in its efforts to provide help and support to local businesses.
The Association is constituted as a Company Limited by guarantee with a board of directors drawn from the business community. The activities of the Association are managed and guided by a Steering Group whose membership is drawn from business leaders working alongside representatives from the public sector and sponsoring organisations.
In addition to membership subscriptions and business sponsorship, the Association has received funding from:
Since 2012, the only sponsor has been Mid Sussex District Council. We are very grateful for their continuing support. We continue to work very closely with Burgess Hill Town Council and Oakmeeds Community College.
Membership represents outstanding value for money. The subscriptions charged for membership begin at £120 per year for companies who employ fewer than 10 staff. That amounts to around 30p per day to join! For larger businesses the costs are £240 and £360 per year.
The BHBPA remit reaches far wider than simply Victoria Business Park. As well as lots of members in towns and villages of Mid Sussex We also have members on the Sheddingdean, Bolney and Mid Sussex Business Parks as well as lots of members in towns and villages of Mid Sussex . We have regular contact with GDB, the influential Gatwick Diamond business organisation, which works on behalf of commerce from Redhill to Brighton, and also work closely with business associations in Haywards Heath (HHDBA) and East Grinstead (EGBA).
As a member you will be signed up to receive the regular weekly newsletter from the BHBPA, which enables you to keep up to date about events and business meetings around Mid Sussex. Of course you can send in newsworthy items for publication too. You will be entitled to attend networking meetings, usually one per month, and these are usually free to members. For a small fee you can come along to a very successful exhibition of business each year in May and enjoy showing others what you do.
In joining you will become part of a very friendly group who work towards the same end – to make business in this part of the world as successful as possible.
"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."
"If Carlsberg did networking they would do it the BHBPA way. Each event is packed with great ideas, thought provoking presentations and fun. As a small business we feel supported and part of the community. We have built friendships and business relationships and there is always plenty of advice on hand to benefit us all so don’t hesitate to join whatever the nature of your business. "
""BHBPA is a really well organised and run group, great for networking and benefitting from knowledgeable local speakers with real business insight. Peter brings enthusiasm and humour which helps drive the association forward. I am glad to be part of it.""
"“We have been members of BHBPA from its inception, and seen the organisation steadily grow and expand into the dynamic entity it is today, bringing positive benefits to all its members.""