New Community Dyslexia Organisation Wins Council Funding

Aspire2inspire Dyslexia is a new charitable organisation in Wandsworth, founded in April 2016 by Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning as a response to her dyslexia. She didn’t learn to read or write until she was 15 years old. Bullied by at school other children who asked if she was, “Slow, lazy or stupid?” Clearly, she isn’t, having not only a degree but post-graduate qualifications, but the lack of diagnosis has been a hampering factor.

Although she eventually received support while she was at University, she felt there was a lack of both awareness and one-to-one support for people living with dyslexia. In a written-oriented culture dyslexics struggle with spelling, words, books, and the dreaded form to fill in – most people don’t like filling in forms, but it is much worse when words slip away from you.

So, undaunted, while she was unemployed, she started A2i Dyslexia with £1.25 because she felt the community needed this initiative. A team of volunteers helped out. “They’re really great, I couldn’t have done it without them,” says Elizabeth. The aim of the organisation is to increase awareness of dyslexia within the community and encourage entrepreneurship amongst dyslexic people. The organisation is planning to apply to become a registered charity.

At first, A2i Dyslexia was purely voluntary as Elizabeth felt she had to establish it and show that it works. After a Wandsworth Council Business Forum, she talked to millionaire Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, who was supportive. Recently A2i Dyslexia have just been awarded a £8799 grant from Wandsworth Council to implement small projects around the borough, particularly children’s services. Elizabeth says, “It’s very difficult being dyslexic – you feel ashamed and embarrassed. Dyslexia can have an impact on self-esteem and low confidence particularly with respect to reading and writing.” She also points out that many creative people, including Picasso, Cher, Benjamin Zephaniah as well as influential business leaders like Richard Branson are also dyslexic. Perhaps the struggle makes them more determined to succeed. Prolific crime novelist Agatha Christie was dyslexic, so had to contend with it every day, but she managed to write 66 novels as well as other works.

Elizabeth is currently studying for Level 7 Post Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia
Specialist Teaching and to be able to officially assess dyslexia in people, so they can receive the assistance they need. “I want people to be able to fulfil their potential,” she says, “that’s the aim behind A2i Dyslexia.”

http://www.a2idyslexia.org.uk

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Highly Popular at the Houses of Parliament – Wandsworth Chamber Event

L-R Jane Ellison MP, Steve Pinto, Douglas Shanks

Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce held a highly popular event at the Jubilee Room of the Houses of Parliament last Thursday. As Battersea, Balham and Wandsworth MP Jane Ellison is President, members of the Chamber and guests were treated to an evening of networking, food and drink in pleasant surroundings.

Steve Pinto, the Chamber’s CEO caused some hilarity when he said that as there were several Chairmen present – he’d invited some Chairs of other Chambers of Commerce – so he had to address several people as Chairman.

Around 80 people attended, from many different businesses, organisations, and charities, including Chamber regulars, and people who were new or haven’t been to the friendly events before. The food was particularly good, supplied by Christopher Events caterers.

Jane Ellison, who is now a Minister at the Treasury, said, “I am here to hear from you directly about what you need from local and national government to support businesses.”

Steve Pinto says, “We are extremely grateful for the terrific support from all of our local MPs. Patron Memberships have been going well and Access Self Storage and LeBureau are upgrading to Patron Memberships.” Steve mentioned how the Chamber had introduced developers to the concept of co-working space, as exemplified by LeBureau.

Steve also talked about Lioness, the Wandsworth business loyalty card which is being planned at the moment, which also will raise money for local community work, and BBX – another method which allows businesses to trade off spare capacity.

The Engineering Business Growth programme will have mentoring and support for new and growing business ventures.

Sarah Banham, vice president of the Chamber and Director of Communications, Battersea Power Station Development Company told the audience, Phase One’s first resident moved in last Thursday. 866 Flats are available so people will move in gradually, plus the retail sites will open in the summer, then the Phase One parks will open later on. Lots of local companies are getting the operational side getting the development ready. “We want to support local businesses.” She talked a lot about Tunnel Boring Machines – all have to have names. There are five now tunnelling under that part of London.

Jobs and skills have been good for the local area, with a service excellence programme run by the Development. They also have a charity arm called the Battersea Power Station Foundation, which gives small grants to grassroots organisations. It is not just residential, but commercial, retail and leisure spaces.

Creative Events are launching a Wandsworth Business Digital Magazine to help local businesses to flourish – initially there will be three issues per year.

Chairman Douglas Shanks gave a humorous round-up speech where he explained

how much personal benefit his long membership of the Chamber had given him. He seconded Steve Pinto’s appreciation of Wandsworth Council’s Economic Development Office (EDO) which has been consistent in its support of the Chamber and local businesses.

http://www.wandsworthchamber.org

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Wandsworth Business Awards Triumph for Local Companies

This is the fourth year that Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce has presented its business awards. This year was the biggest yet, with 260 people attending a black tie sit-down meal, gourmet-catered by local foodies Anson and Curtis.

At the presentation taking place in the council’s Civic Suite, were many local businesses, competing for 12 awards in various categories, from Best Family Business to Best Hospitality.

Steve Pinto CEO, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, says, “Wandsworth Chamber were delighted to be able to continue the tradition of the Wandsworth Business Awards for the fourth successive year. The 2016 Business Awards and Gala Dinner celebrations exceeded all expectations with a record number of businesses and key stakeholders attending. These Awards highlight some of the most vibrant businesses in the borough and set a high benchmark for aspiring local talent. Our sponsors are very supportive and without their help these businesses would not have the opportunity to be recognised, so please visit our website and engage with our Winners, Finalists and Sponsors. …and if you run a business we would love to see you enter next year’s Awards.”

The awards are the high point of the local business calendar, with Wandsworth comedian John Maloney giving the awards a polished hosting and speeches by Chamber Chairman Douglas Shanks and President Jane Ellison MP.

Category and Winner:

1. Best Green Business

Wandsworth Oasis

2. Best Family Friendly Business

The Putney Clinic

3. Commitment to the Community

Battersea Power Station Development Company

4. Best Hospitality

Brickwood Coffee & Bread

5. Best Marketing

Boot Buddy

6. Best Customer Service

The Hive Honey Shop

7. Best Training & Development

Julius Rutherfoord & Co

8. Best Independent Retailer

We Brought Beer

9. Best SME Business

Assael Architecture

10. Best New Business

Crossfit Shapesmiths

11. Entrepreneur of the Year

Le Bureau

12. Business of the Year

Minar Jewellers

Tooting Market

The main sponsors of the awards were Wandsworth Council and Southside Shopping Centre. The awards show that Wandsworth is a thriving place for business and commerce, and they show excellence in the winning businesses and the many other participants who continue to make the Borough a great place to do business.

Photo by Charlie Round-Turner http://roundturnervisuals.com

http://www.wandsworthawards.biz

http://www.wandsworthchamber.org

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Wandsworth Celebrates the Business Awards on 8th December

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Annually Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce celebrates the best in the Borough’s business by having a large and prestigious ceremony to recognise the best and blossoming companies in the area.

There are 11 award categories, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Best New Business and Best Independent Retailer. This will be a hotly-contested event, with a real diversity of different businesses being judged on their merits.

Steve Pinto, CEO of Wandsworth Chamber says, “This is one of the high points of our calendar, with businesses of all types being given awards which show their commitment to better business.”

The Wandsworth Business Awards 2016 Ceremony and Gala Dinner Dance take place on

Thursday 8th December 2016

18:30 onwards at the Wandsworth Civic Suite, Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU. Over 250 guests are expected at the celebration.

Businesses that win can display their award and will be able to show that they have reached a standard of product or service admired by the rest of the business community. The awards are sponsored by Wandsworth Council, Indian Room, Indian Moment, South London Press, Banham Group, Southside, South Thames College and the University of Roehampton.

Register for this event at https://wandsworthbusinessawards2016.eventbrite.co.uk

Tickets: £69.00 – non-members: £69.00 (Excluding VAT).

http://www.wandsworthawards.biz

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

SWL.TV – Connecting Communities

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Many local businesses will be familiar with South West London TV, filming Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce events. Founder Peter Fison has just revamped their website to make it more interactive and “connected to the community.”

He has had an interesting career. His previous job in IT management was successful, but not entirely satisfying – he liked the buzz from being around creative people, so he set up a video business which evolved to become SWL.TV about three years ago.

The concept is to have three overlapping areas of content production: pure entertainment, such as filming local musicians, business video production – which is the bedrock of the company’s income stream, and community work, such as covering charity events. Peter says, “Ideally all three should overlap – for example local estate agents Seymour Green sponsored filming of the Wandle Trust’s cleanup of the river. That benefited all involved and the Trust got a nice little video to show what they do, which they couldn’t have necessarily afforded without the sponsorship.”

The new website is an extension of their aim to reach out to a wide audience across South West London. Although their over 400 videos were reaching a following on YouTube, Peter realised that by posting content to their own site and linking it with social media, he could better reach an audience in and around SW London. He jokes, “I wanted to showcase South West London, and YouTube was giving our viewers video suggestions about South West Carolina.”

He attributes some of the “shift in thinking” to the networking events of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, where he could see that there were lots of connected businesses and local organisations, which would be needing video communications.

The new website encourages user-driven content. Besides SWL.TV videos, local people can submit articles, photographs, and announce events in a community calendar. Obviously Peter and his team of creative people cannot film every event in the borough, but the new website allows users to connect even without video, for example by announcing their events and posting material, making it more participatory than just a “brochure” site.

SWL.TV works with various charities and community partners across the area. These include the Wimbledon Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the famous tennis club, AFC Wimbledon and Battersea Power Station Foundation, all of which work with local communities to fund valuable projects, as well as smaller charities such as Share, STORM Empowerment, and Oasis to name just a few.

Peter concludes, “I really enjoy making those connections, between disparate groups, so we can all work together. Wandsworth Chamber has been excellent for finding those connections.”

https://southwestlondon.tv/

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

John Simmons – 50 years of Craftsmanship in Wood


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John Simmons opened his first workshop in Wandsworth 50 years ago. He’s been in the Borough ever since, creating bespoke furniture and storage solutions for people who are short of space. He will design something to store clothes, records, even your Dyson, then build it and install it for you.

After he learnt his trade at the London College of Furniture in the 1960s he started working for leading furniture designer Robin Day (not the television personality) while also branching out and doing his own furniture design.

He says, “I basically do storage and space redesign. These days people need to store things in often awkward spaces. I will come along and design something that will look good and do the job.” He works to reduce home clutter, workspace untidiness, loft space furnishings, anything that needs creating in wood, using both traditional and modern methods.

johnsimmons

He continues, “These days, more than ever, space is a premium, however due to the increase in non-made to measure furniture there is a lot of wasted space. To meet the demand for more living space and better working environments, I solve ‘space’ problems by helping my clients maximise their living and working spaces and ultimately increase desirability and resale value of their property. I love to walk into your room or your awkward space, understand your bespoke furniture requirements and design how I can make your space work for you.”

Where does he get his ideas from? “Sometimes people show me a picture of something they have seen which they like, and I essentially copy that, but usually it is up to me to design what will look good and fit in the space.”

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He has been a member of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years. “I came along to a Christmas event, held in the Brewer’s Arms pub, found I liked it, and kept coming since then.”

Although he is concerned that he will not be able to work in his current premises if the rent goes up, and he also feels that there is a lack of provision for light industrial workshops currently in the borough, he says, “I am going to carry on making furniture till I die. It’s my passion.”

John is open for commissions, both large and small and you can see the high quality of his work on his website.

www.jmsbespokespace.co.uk

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Wandsworth’s Big Breakfast Networking Meeting and AGM this Wednesday

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Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce holds very informative business networking breakfasts every couple of months, “The Big Breakfast”, with guest speakers and an opportunity to meet other businesses. This month it is combining the breakfast meeting with its AGM on Wednesday 28th September.

All local businesses are welcome. The venue is the stylish Roehampton Club, Roehampton Lane, Wandsworth, London SW15 5LR, from 07.30 am to 10.30 am.

Speakers include:
Cllr. Kim Caddy, Wandsworth Council Cabinet Member with particular responsibility for Business. Cllr. Caddy will be talking about her role and what Wandsworth Council is doing to support business in the borough.

Matthew Harding, Business Banking Exchange – BBX UK. Matthew will be talking about a great opportunity that helps businesses to grow through the trading of surplus capacity.

roehamptonclub

Wandsworth Chamber Breakfast Wednesday 28th September 2016 & AGM
07:30 – 10:30  Members: £15.00  Non-Members £20.00
Venue: Roehampton Club, Roehampton Lane, Wandsworth, London SW15 5LR
PARKING IS AVAILABLE IN THE CLUB CAR PARK
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: BARNES,
BUSES: 72, 265,493 – Nearest stop Rosslyn Park

Register for this event at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wandsworth-chamber-breakfast-wednesday-28th-september-2016-agm-tickets-25671768952

www.wandsworthchamber.org

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

UnderTheDoormat raises £380,000 via Crowdfunding

A Holborn Penthouse available for rent

A Holborn Penthouse available for rent

UnderTheDoormat is only a couple of years old. The Wandsworth business has just raised over £380,000 through crowdfunding, over 220% of its target, to finance expansion. The idea behind the business is to provide a high quality one-stop method to let out your home when you are not there. Matthew Gardiner, Director of Acquisition Marketing says, “There are over 600,000 homes in London which are empty for four weeks or more per year. Often the owners don’t realise that there is a hassle-free way to raise an income from the property. That’s what we were set up to do.”

This is another of those ideas facilitated through the digital economy and the internet. UnderTheDoormat will organise absolutely everything about letting a home out – bookings, guest greetings, insurance, professional cleaning, so that the homeowners will have peace of mind when they join the scheme.

Many people prefer staying in a proper home, instead of a hotel, it may be less impersonal, have a garden for the kids to play in, or there may be dietary requirements that a hotel can’t easily cope with, there are a whole host of reasons why staying in a house or flat could transform a good trip into a great one. The success of AirBnB is testimony to that.

Primrose Hill kitchen

Primrose Hill kitchen

Matthew identifies getting the word out as the biggest obstacle they have met so far, “A lot of people do not know that they could rent their property out when they are away on holiday or business. Even fewer realise there is a company out there that will organise everything for them. so it is important for us to let people know there is this opportunity.”

The crowdfunding target, using Seedrs, was originally £175K but in the end 355 people from 28 countries raised over £380K in 2.5 months, will be used to rapidly expand their London presence. The company also has ambitious plans for international expansion and has recently hired a COO to spear-head that growth into other cities.

Matthew says that Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce was very useful in helping spread the word about the project through their networking events, breakfasts and putting the team in contact with people who have helped the project along.

This is a startup which looks like it is really going places. Matthew says, “we’ve an asset light business, that sustainably makes use of under-utilised property, pays homeowners to go on holiday and provides tourists with a truly local experience. That’s a business model with a lot of wins in it.”

Merilee Karr, the CEO of UnderTheDoormat will be speaking at the
“Access to Finance” Wandsworth event which will take place at Battersea Arts Centre on Tuesday 27th September at 6-8 pm.

The daylong event will feature seminars and 1-1 advice sessions and participating organisations include: ICAEW, NatWest, Funding Circle, the British Business Bank, Seedrs, GLE and Start up Direct.

The evening seminar (6pm-8pm) featuring Merilee  Karr will be a discussion on crowdfunding and alternative finance for SMES – Funding Circle, Seedrs, GLE and the British Business Bank will be members of the panel.

www.underthedoormat.com

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Foods to Brighten Your Day – with Health in Every Dish

Deaba2-carrotcake

Deaba’s Catering and Foods was born in 2009, when her job as a council licencing officer ended. When one door closes, another opens, and Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce member Deaba Akua could now start on her dream. She says, “Two years before I had been thinking of starting a catering business as cooking was a passion for me and I was not getting any satisfaction from my job as a licencing officer at the time. When my contract ended I decided to go for it and start my own business.”

The food she prepares and cooks explores and blends together foods of the world with what she calls “my special touch.” Deaba caters for events like weddings, funeral receptions, birthdays, office parties, workshops, home entertainment, with her unique range of dips, sauces, soups, spicy bread bites in ten flavours, canapés, savoury cakes and spicy plantain balls. In addition she runs a community lunch on Fridays at the Devas Youth Club (a Rotary Club of Battersea Park community project) in Wandsworth. She is also the official caterer at the Rotary Club in the London District Head Office.

Deaba was born in Ghana and studied history at University. She says, “I came to live here in 1981. I have worked as a secretary, administrator and my last job was a licencing officer. I have always had a passion for cooking since I was a child.”

Deaba1-sml

Most of her food is prepared in her own kitchen, then delivered to the venue. She has a range of rice specials, meat and vegan dishes, as well as curries. For afters you can sample carrot cake, plaintain and peanut butter cup cakes or her muffins.

Deaba says, “People say my carrot cake is to die for. My curries are special. My coriander sauce is a special blend. My pitta bites are yummy.”

To order her quality catering for a special event call Deaba on 07931 234776.

www.deabascatering.co.uk

Contact: Akua Deaba
Email:
deaba@deabascatering.co.uk

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Charity Wine Tasting Event in Tooting on 12th May

Wandsworth Oasis' Amen Corner Charity shop

Wandsworth Oasis’ Amen Corner Charity shop

Wandsworth Oasis teams up with wine merchants Hannibal Brown on 12th May for wine tasting which will raise money for people living with HIV.

Wandsworth Oasis charity is excited to announce their first tasting on 12th May from 18.30 pm in conjunction with local wine merchants, Hannibal Brown. There will be lots of businesses and local residents present so it should be a good networking event as well as an opportunity to taste some amazing and unusual wines whilst raising money for charity and having a browse around the shop at Amen Corner, Tooting.

Tickets are £25.00 each.

For more information and to book, click here: http://hannibalbrown.com/the-old-curiosity-wine-tasting-adventure

The event is on 12th May at

Wandsworth Oasis – 234-250 Mitcham Road, Amen Corner, SW17 9NT – 18:30 – 21:30

www.wandsworthoasis.org.uk

Author: this article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com