Posted on 28th June 2017
On Wednesday this week the BHBPA gang re-convened at Hickstead Hotel for breakfast. On a dull cloudy morning with rain threatening Hickstead Hotel offered a very warm welcome to me at 7.20am. Parking was easy and the Courtyard Suite was already set out for members when I arrived.
The first guest to arrive was John Hopkins, of Bluetone, the telecommunications company, which joined very recently. Our conversation very quickly turned to sport, as he showed off his BHRFC tie and we swapped names of former players know to us both. Luckily, others began arriving and by 8.15 the place was buzzing with networking over breakfast of tea, coffee, croissants and bacon sandwiches.
Giles Paul, the Manager at Hickstead, introduced himself and gave a brief description of the facilities while people settled into their seats, before Sue Edgson from HAMSVA gace a short talk about charitable work and volunteering. Incredibly she gave us the statistic that 14 million people did some volunteering in Britain last year. Of course, if you just think of all the sports and social clubs alone which are run by volunteers it would come to a huge number. She went on to highlight ways in which businesses and charities could combine to their mutual benefit.
The main speaker for the day was Emma Cleary of Ten2Two. She gave an excellent presentation on flexible working, with a brief mention of her working background in journalism at Dow Jones and then her frustration at finding it so difficult to combine raising a family with a career. She determined to strive to effect change so that more companies realise the benefits of allowing employees to work more flexibly. She continues the good work now through running the Sussex arm of Ten2Two. At the end of her presentation there was a good discussion which could have gone on for a long time I suspect; it is a very interesting subject. To see the results of a Ten2Two survey on flexible working, click here https://www.ten2two.org/location/sussex/
A small number of members were still there chatting with Giles at 10.30. It was another very pleasant and interesting event; members old and new seemed to find it an easy way to start the day. We thanks Giles and his staff for their splendid hospitality.
"The BHBPA is the most effective and dynamic business organisation I have ever worked with in over 30 years in Local Government. It has a very active and large membership whose points of view are taken seriously by all government structures. Peter Liddell does an excellent job in providing unique and enjoyable networking opportunities where members interact and discuss points of mutual interest. It provides a forum for businesses to discuss common issues, to share experiences and to play a powerful and meaningful role in the Burgess Hill community. The BHBPA provides important and credible support for all its members and ensures that their best interests are represented where necessary. "
"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. "
"Regular, well organised events, excellent updates and information by email along with a warm welcome from the Chair and Coordinator are just some of the positives at BHBPA."
"“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.”"