Business connecting almost done…

Ian Noble
Ian Noble
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I was told when I was young that all good things must come to an end…

Not sure that holds true for everything in life but in the case of business connecting in Hastings, for me at least, the secondment is almost at an end. I will reflect more on the year as a whole in my final article in January but for now, what’s been happening in the final weeks?

Well, yesterday evening I hosted my third and final Building Links event at Sussex Coast College, at the Ore Valley site. This has been a great initiative and one I hope that will provide a legacy to allow for improved networking amongst the construction and trades sector. Importantly though, Building Links has provided a conduit, through which builders and associated trades can provide at cost or pro bono support for charities and in particular their building needs. I first wrote in this column about Building links three months ago so it’s great to be able to reflect now on just how far we have come.

A few weeks back I met with two of the trustees that I had previously introduced to the Seaview Project, Shiva Hart & Beckie Cooper, on site at the homeless drop-in centre in St Leonards. Following the inaugural Building Links event back in September, we had now engaged with two firms who want to be able to help with completely refurbishing the client shower and toilet facilities. Both Timbercraft and CES Home Improvement are willing to give their time and resources to the project, which starts this month. The facilities are in dire need of an upgrade and I know Seaview are massively grateful. I feel like part of the team now at Seaview as I was privileged to speak at their AGM in mid-November and just this last week it was announced that Seaview are one of the Sussex coastal winners in the Lloyds Bank community fund award scheme; the £3k awarded will contribute towards the kitchen upgrade, where there is also urgent need.

Fast forward to October Building Links and Stephanie Edmonds, of Fellowship of St Nicholas spoke of their need to completely rebuild their day nursery. An ambitious project but one that is absolutely necessary if FSN are to continue to provide and indeed, increase their provision to pre-school age children amongst many vulnerable families in central St Leonards. There are now a number of people who have stepped forward to help and yet we are still in the very early stages. That said, timescales are equally ambitious and I know much more support will be required into 2014.

Another project on which I’ve been only too pleased to lead is Own Grown. Elsewhere in this good publication you’ll have read about the scheme which I hope is set to continue to encourage work based placements into the coming 12 months. The 1066 pledge target is almost there and we enjoyed an excellent awards evening on 14 November where both businesses and young people were recognised for their contribution: my thanks to Amber Rudd and Solomon Curtis for supporting the evening. Do please get involved in Own Grown if you haven’t done so already.

And finally, I very much hope that many businesses and community groups will want to join me with my WOW partner, Jan Cutting from Rother VA, at the WOW Exchange Live event on Wednesday 11 December at Sussex Exchange from 6.00pm. It’s free to attend thanks to kind sponsorship from two insurance firms, Hastings Direct and Reid Briggs. The brand new WOW website is now live and you can register for the event via www.wowexchange.org – will be good to see you there!

Ian Noble can be contacted at ian.noble@bitcconnect.org or 07801 250668. You can follow on twitter @TN34Connector