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.