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.
"“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.”"
"As MP for Mid Sussex I believe passionately in the importance of a vibrant local business community in order to create and sustain fantastic opportunities that enable people to meet their responsibilities, prosper and fulfil their potential. I am committed to collaborating with BHBPA and others to be an effective collective voice for Burgess Hill."
"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."
"“Sutton Winson have been members of the BHBPA for around 7 years. We have found it a great way to keep in touch with Burgess Hill businesses and to meet with likeminded people. It’s not just another “networking” group, as it tackles the real issues and gets things done”"