Exciting Half-Day Course: Drive Your Business to the Next Level

Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce have partnered with highly-experienced business trainers Beverley Corson and Bryan Charter to create the Engineering Business Growth Club. Beverley says, “Do you want to look back on the next twelve months and be proud and astonished by the progress you and your business have made?”

The objective of the event on 21st April is to give business owners the opportunity to invest time to think and plan their way forward for the next year.

Owners can be too focussed on the moment and the ongoing demands of their business, and this is where you will look at the bigger goals.

Beverley says, “We believe you need to have a clear picture of where you’re going and then develop a strategy for getting there. This in turn will help you to make better decisions in the moment about what to invest in, where to focus your efforts and where to invest your time if you want to grow.”

The half-day workshop, is being held on 21st April at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Battersea.

During this workshop business leaders will:

Review their performance over the last year and extract the key lessons to feed into even better results over the year to come.

Learn strategies, processes and activities that are worth doing more of so they can build on them. Learn from past failures and analyse issues to identify solutions and avoid mistakes.

Clarify their vision for the next 12 months and what the next level is in their business.

“After attending this event me and my business partner were totally clear on how we needed to move forward and what to focus on next – we’d recommend it to any business wanting to grow!”, said Dom Thorpe, of Wireless Fitness Ltd after attending the previous session of this workshop earlier in the year.

The event takes place at: Crowne Plaza London
Bridges Wharf Battersea
SW11 3BE London
Friday, 21 April 2017 from 09:00 to 12:00

Cost £25.00 inc VAT.

To book


Businesses will also get an opportunity for ongoing development with the Engineering Business Growth Club. Both this event and the Business Growth Club are being delivered in partnership with Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce.


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

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.”


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.


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

Calling London Coffee Lovers – Launch Event

Come To The Independent Roastery Launch Of ‘Chimney Fire Coffee’ In Battersea Square Gallery on 15 December 2016

Fancy yourself as a coffee expert? Then come and witness some live roasting, try some coffee ‘cupping’ and sample some espresso martinis at Chimney Fire Coffee’s launch event at Battersea’s Square Gallery at SW11 3RA on 15th December from 6 until 10pm.

Earlier this year, Dan Webber set up Chimney Fire Coffee – an independent coffee bean importer and roaster run from a hand-built and sustainable back-garden laboratory-cabin, nicknamed ‘The Labin.’


Having worked all over the world on coffee sourcing and traceability projects, Dan understands quality coffee and the time and effort it takes to produce it: “Like with all traded goods, there is increasing emphasis on provenance and ethical standards. Our dream at Chimney Fire Coffee is to source high-quality, single-origin coffee directly from people we know and trust and deliver it to consumers who can appreciate the flavour profiles and the effort it takes to produce this brew we have come to know and love’.

Chimney Fire Coffee’s mentality is not to simply sell a product but to give coffee drinkers the tools and information they need to enjoy the experiential art of coffee tasting, the same way we would wine-tasting.
In keeping with this mindset, Chimney Fire Coffee offers ‘The Labin Coffee Tour’, through Airbnb, where you can learn the art of coffee cupping and hand roast a coffee blend to your personal taste.

Go to www.chimneyfirecoffee.com to learn more about Chimney Fire Coffee, order some of their products, or book a Labin Coffee Tour.

Battersea Spanish

Autumn is here and Battersea Spanish is kicking it all off with a fun-packed term, bigger and better than ever! From Spanish for adults and kids, dances courses in Flamenco, Tango and Salsa, to a series of great social events exploring Spanish and Latin American culture, there is definitely something for everyone! To find out more, why not check out our website www.batterseaspanish.com


ToddlePass provides parents with access to hundreds of amazing kids’ classes in London all in one pass – we think you’ll love it!

Why ToddlePass? We dreamt up ToddlePass based on our experiences as parents raising a young daughter in London. We wanted our daughter to attend a variety of classes – explore new things, discover what she enjoyed, and learn and develop along the way. But we found it daunting, time consuming, and expensive to search and book classes with multiple providers. So we built ToddlePass to make booking kids’ classes easy and fun (the way it should be!), and help parents give their kids the best possible start to their early development.

How it works. ToddlePass allows parents to book hundreds of amazing kids’ classes through one membership (for ages 0 to 6). You can browse classes on your phone or laptop, book at the push of a button, and save up to 50% on class prices. We’ve scoured London for the best providers in sports, dance, music, arts, science, languages … you name it! And there’s no commitment – you can cancel/pause your membership anytime, and cancel bookings up to 24 hours in advance.

Interested in ToddlePass? Visit us at http://www.toddlepass.com and sign up to be the first to know when we launch near you!

Most importantly – we would love your feedback! ToddlePass is built by parents, for parents. If you know of amazing providers you think should be on ToddlePass or simply want to let us know what you think – please reply to this thread or email us at info@toddlepass.com. Look forward to hearing from you!

New Volunteering Initiative in Battersea

Link Up Battersea is looking for volunteers and charities to get involved!


This initiative brings together people willing to share their professional skills with local charitable organisations who need these skills to make a real difference to their work in the community.

Learn more about our exciting opportunities at www.linkup-battersea.org, or email us on linkupbattersea@gmail.com.

Join us for coffee at the Queenswood, 15 Battersea Square, SW11 3RA, on 18th May from 8:30 am – 10:00 am.

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/

Health Lottery provides funding for intergenerational project

Run by local parents, the Women of Wandsworth (WoW Mums) intergenerational project works tirelessly to provide older people with the opportunity to bond with their community.

Today, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Jane Ellison, met with Martin Ellice, group joint managing director of The Health Lottery, at  Haven Lodge in south London.

Jane Ellison MP, centre, joined by, left to right Chris Lunn, Martin Ellice, Sue Cohen and John Hume © Mike Pinches

Jane Ellison MP, centre, joined by, left to right Chris Lunn, Martin Ellice, Sue Cohen and John Hume © Mike Pinches

They joined local school children from the project to speak about the Hindu festival of Diwali before joining in with elderly visitors at a craft workshop which included henna painting.

Members of the Women of Wandsworth group and residents of Haven Lodge celebrate Diwali, 11th November 2015. © Mike Pinches

Members of the Women of Wandsworth group and residents of Haven Lodge celebrate Diwali, 11th November 2015. © Mike Pinches

WoW Mums was set up by a concerned group of single mothers who were worried that the elderly would become stranded in their care home when their Residents’ Association shut.

It began as an idea but thanks to funding provided by People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthFreedom CIC through The Health Lottery, their ambitious plans for an inclusive community group have become a fully-fledged reality.

The Health Lottery’s vital cash injection will allow the project to continue to host a variety of community events, including weekly coffee mornings and IT workshops after funding cuts to the local council led to the cancellation of events regularly attended by the residents of nearby Haven Lodge care home.