SWL.TV – Connecting Communities


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.”


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


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.


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.”


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.


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


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.


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
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


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.


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


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.”


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.


Contact: Akua Deaba

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


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

On Point Property Management Gives Landlords One-stop Management


Specialist professional landlord management service On Point Property Management joined Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce recently. Their USP is turn-key management of properties for landlords who need to outsource these services. Anna Wilson and her sister Victoria manage the company. She explains, “I worked for a property developer for 15 years and am a landlord myself. My sister worked for the same developer and has estate agent experience, which is very useful, so we had the necessary skills base and wanted to develop our own business.”

On Point have a large range of services, from rent collection to pest control. Anna prides herself on having built up a contacts book of reliable tradespeople who can fix any problem in the properties. Their service extends to furnishing and interior design where appropriate. They have a flat fee structure which is 5% management fee and a 5% lettings fee. They believe that this is very cost effective and has no hidden charges other than the cost of actual repairs which they charge no additional commission on invoices.

Anna says, “We are bringing a cost-effective alternative to the market, for landlords in UK or based overseas, with portfolios which they need a one-stop solution for. We are looking at growing our portfolio to around 120 properties managed.”

Their lettings service provides reference checks on prospective tenants, inventories and tenancy agreements. They hardly have to advertise because most tenants are so pleased with the service they recommend it when they leave, so there is a waiting list to move in, which is obviously highly popular with both landlords and tenants as “voids” are kept to a minimum, and tenants can quickly move into a vacated home. “We look upon both landlords and tenants as clients, so we aim to serve both efficiently,” Anna adds.

Like a number of other Wandsworth Chamber members, they are based in the Light Bulb building near the Southside shopping centre, which provides a local hub for activities in the borough. The sisters use networking and recommendations to find clients, as personal referrals count for a great deal in the segment of the market they are working in.


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

Lloyds Bank Opens New-Look Branch in Clapham Junction

New Lloyds Bank branch at Clapham Junction

New Lloyds Bank branch at Clapham Junction

Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce held a business networking event recently to welcome Lloyds Bank’s new-look digital branch to the area. This is the first pilot of a new type of banking, with longer hours and business-friendly facilities for customers in the borough.

It is open from 8 am to 8 pm on working days, and 9 to 5 on Saturday then 11- 5 on Sunday. The longer hours complement free wi-fi in the branch and a digital display which can show local information – the idea being that customers can come into the branch and find out information relevant to their business, so they will have more than just simple banking available. Robert Burke, Senior Local Business Manager, says, “This facility is well-liked by customers, who can use it to find local services or property prices.”


The longer hours work well for both business and personal banking clients. There are specialists in various areas such as mortgages available. Lloyds Bank offers a special package for business customers switching from other banks. This service offers simple pricing and free electronic payments, six months’ free day-to-day business banking for switchers, switch within seven working days, from when your account is opened, and dedicated support from their UK-based business management team. After the six month free period, there is a monthly charge of £6.50.

While switching, they will arrange for your old bank to close your previous account and transfer any credit balance to your new Lloyds Bank account; transfer all incoming and outgoing payments within the seven working day guarantee; redirect all payments to and from your old account to your new account within a 36-month period.

Last month they hosted a lively business networking event in the evening with Wandsworth Chamber members, which was well attended, and more of these events are likely. While Chamber members were having wine and pizza, the bank was still open and serving customers. I don’t know if any of them took advantage of the free drinks and nosh, but I hope so.

There was a presentation about a new business information sharing system which will allow retailers to exchange information between themselves about shoplifters and other potential troublemakers which is aimed at reducing crime.

The new branch is at:

48-50 St John’s Road,

Clapham Junction,

London SW11 1PR


Business banking contact: robert.burke@lloydsbanking.com


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

Wandsworth Oasis Puts the Fun Back into Fundraising

Jazz the Streets festival

Jazz the Streets Festival

Wandsworth Oasis is one of the borough’s foremost charities, running seven charity shops. It raises funds for people living with HIV.

CEO Gill Perkins says, “We like to be quirky and fun. Not just run charity shops. That’s why we started doing events and music performances at our stores.”

Last year they opened their largest shop at Amen Corner, which is over 4000 square feet. This gave them a space large enough to hold more ambitious events. They have had live jazz, a recycled/upcycled fashion show, and converted the shop into a souk for a Lebanese Evening with local chef Dan Lepard for a World AIDS Day fundraiser. They are also making their whole organisation more green, and have partnered with Transition Town Tooting to recycle as much as possible so that they can reduce their footprint and the amount of stock that goes to landfill.

Lebanese Evening Belly Dancers

Lebanese Evening Belly Dancers

The charity has been operating for 26 years, but it was failing five years ago when Gill Perkins came in and turned it around with her partner Gill Rogers and a great team of volunteers. Last year it had a turnover of £487,000. Gill predicts it will reach £600K in 2016. The charity operates as a funding body – channelling money it gets from its shops to support other projects in the HIV health sector. One of the factors in their success Gill attributes to collecting donations, not just passively waiting for people to bring them in.

Jazz the Streets Festival

Jazz the Streets Festival

Sometimes strange items turn up as donations. They had some “wetsuits” on sale, which turned out to be rubber fetish clothing. The weirdest item was a sit-down massage saddle – Gill labelled it a “fitness item” and put a price of £20 on it. One customer tried it out, then a second woman sidled up to a puzzled Gill and said, “You do know what that is, don’t you? It’s a sex toy.” Unsure what to do, Gill hid it in the storeroom. Sometime later the second woman came back, and slightly furtively, bought it. Gill says, “I think she got a bargain. It was probably worth a lot more than £20.”

Oasis are planning to host more events in 2016. “It makes us more visible to the public, and draws in people who may not have known about us, who then become customers and donate items, so this is working out well for us.”

Gill adds, “We are a big supporter of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. We try to source from local suppliers wherever possible, to be part of the borough community.”


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

Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Wandsworth Business Awards Best SME Business was awarded to Minar Jewellers

Wandsworth Business Awards: Best SME Business was awarded to Minar Jewellers

To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, held a traditional Christmas meal for its members, with guest of honour the Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr. Nicola Nardelli, on 16th December at the Battersea Quarter restaurant.

Steve Pinto, Chief Executive, said, “Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce is an independent network of local business people who come together to further business interests in the borough. The present Chamber was formed from the three previous Chambers of Wandsworth, Battersea and Balham & Tooting when the boroughs were merged in 1965. It has worked tirelessly to promote business in one of the most dynamic of borough in London and is geared up to make an even greater impact in the future.”

One highlight of the over 50 events the Wandsworth Chamber has organised this year was The Wandsworth Business Awards Gala Dinner and Dance, held on the 3rd of December at the prestigious Roehampton Club. These accolades recognise local companies for their outstanding performance. The overall Business of the Year was awarded to the owners of MUD, an independent, laid-back café located in the heart of Tooting who pride themselves on providing great tasting coffee, awesome brunches and freshly-prepared cakes and sandwiches. Entrepreneur of the Year was won by Poppy Funerals, Best Customer Service was won by the Etoile Bakery, Best SME Business was awarded to Minar Jewellers, with 10 other winners in the various categories. See the full list here: http://www.wandsworthawards.biz

Other events included special guest speakers, specific business sector events such as the property sector, health and well-being and women in business, business clinics, master-classes as well as a get fit for business programme utilising elements of team-building through paddle boarding, golf and other sports, which will continue next year. These events have attracted over 1700 business men and women and helped to promote a “live local, buy local, work local” culture.

The ethos behind the events is that local businesses can network, meet key stakeholders and develop meaningful business relationships. New members are welcomed – to find out more or join the Chamber email steve@wandsworthchamber.org

Other highlights included the appointment of the Chamber’s first President, Jane Ellison MP, and Vice President, Sarah Banham, Director of Communications at the Battersea Power Station Development Company. On her appointment, Jane said, “It is a great honour to be President of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Small businesses are at the heart of our communities and play a central role in the Government’s strategy to create jobs and reinvigorate the economy. The Chamber network is an effective way of sharing ideas and knowledge, and boosting businesses in the borough.”

TV chef Ainsley Harriott inaugurates the Earlsfield Christmas Lights

TV chef Ainsley Harriott inaugurates the Earlsfield Christmas Lights

The Earlsfield Business Network’s Christmas Lights Campaign was another huge success which culminated in a grand Light Switch On by Ainsley Harriott, Celebrity Chef and Wandsworth’s Mayor on the 26th of November at St Andrew’s Church in Garratt lane. Supported by local schools and businesses, residents turned out in droves to help celebrate Earlsfield’s first ever Christmas lights. So much more is planned of next years ‘switch on.’

Douglas Shanks, Chairman of Wandsworth Chamber concluded “We hope you agree, our 50th anniversary year has been a great period in our history, where we have been able to more local businesses, hold more events and make and even bigger difference for our local businesses. Our Patron Membership programme is really adding value to our members. The patronage of some of Wandsworth’s largest companies is truly opening up the supply chain and encourages smaller companies to participate in bigger projects, which is good for everyone.”

A final word from Sarah Banham, Director of Communications, Battersea Power Station Development Company Ltd. “Battersea Power Station are proud to be Patron Members of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce and I am honoured to be the Chamber’s Vice President. We are committed to using local companies, supporting commerce and sharing timely information in the borough and this has proved particularly effective through our ongoing relationship with Wandsworth Chamber and its Members.”

Wandsworth Chamber welcomes new members, together we can grow and help one and other. For more information about how we can help local businesses, email steve@wandsworthchamber.org


Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce: http://www.wandsworthchamber.org

Wandsworth Business Awards: http://www.wandsworthawards.biz/