News: Great Turnout at Ockenden Manor

Posted on 18th November 2015

We had more than 40 BHBPA Members and Friends at the meeting on Monday this week at Ockenden Manor. Those who braved the awful weather were rewarded with interesting presentations and an hour or more of networking in lovely surroundings. The drinks and food laid on for us by the hosts were as good as ever.

Susan Fleet, a long time member and Director of the BHBPA,  gave us an insight into the world of PR along with some interesting and amusing tales of her long career. Having set up her company, Lea Graham Associates, more than thirty years ago, she is very well qualified to talk about this subject. She took us through her career, detailing meetings with and working for famous names and even royalty on occasions. As a key member of the Ardingly team for the County Show, she was several times able to accompany royal guests and attend to their needs. She also mentioned her work in the world of entertainment, including the number of fund raising events she has organised for various charitable causes. The most recent of these was in September, when over 100 of her friends came together to sing in The Night of 100 Voices, as a result of which over £8000 was raised for research into Motor Neurone Disease

After raft of questions we moved on to hear from Carolyn Bentley, from UK Trade and Investment., who was keen to introduce more business people to the support offered by this arm of a government department. The idea is that UKTI have many or most of the answers to those questions business people ask when they begin to export. With contacts eg in embassies around the globe, UKTI  is set up to assist businesses in exporting, a key factor in the economic health of the nation. Carolyn, an International Trade Advisor, is slowly but surely finding ways in to various businesses in Mid Sussex in order to help them with exporting. The service is largely free, so businesses should take up the offer of assistance.

After hearing the two presentations we broke for refreshments and networking. There was a real buzz about the room as people found others with whom they had some common business interest or simply started to discuss world news and sport latest. Like many others there, I met several business leaders whose first event with BHBPA this was and welcomed them to the Association.

People were still unable to leave the delicious food until at last around 6.30 the place had emptied. We thanks Ockenden Manor for the splendid hospitality, and also all those members who turned up to support the BHBPA.

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"As the local hospice for the area, it’s great that we receive so much support from the BHBPA. Last year the members raised an amazing £2150 through activities such as Bake Off and the BHBiz Awards. Each well planned members meeting enables good networking opportunities and speakers that are relevant to the present climate and local issues. We are proud to be members of BHBPA."

Wendy Agate, Community Fund Raising Manager
(St Peter & St James Hospice)

"“I have belonged to this group since I started my own business, Lea Graham Associates, in 1986. The association has been through several incarnations since then, but its most recent one, BHBPA, is by far the best.

It’s much more than just a networking group, although it is supremely good at that too. BHBPA is inclusive and friendly and acts like a mutual-support society. The events are stimulating, worthwhile and often great fun and I believe most members share this opinion.”"

Susan Fleet, Managing Director
(Lea Graham Associates)

"The BHBPA is an energetic and vocal organisation that connects and empowers and informs the local business community acting as an effective conduit to local authority and other organisations. We are proud to be part of that community and the association."

Nick Broom, Managing Director
(PVL UK Ltd)

"I am delighted to have a long-standing relationship with the BHBPA. Since its foundation the Association has gone from strength to strength and there is no doubt that it has brought huge benefits to its members and the business community as a whole through the partnerships it has formed with the local authorities, Sussex Police and local organisations. It is paramount that Burgess Hill businesses have an effective collective voice."

The Hon Nicholas Soames MP