Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The jewel in the L4G crown

It was 9 July 2015 and we were taking part in the Business Lab’s Supplier’s Showcase in the Stratford Centre.  As we made final touches to our stalls, Glen Addis, the man in charge gathered us together for a motivating pep talk before counting down and lifting up the shutters to unsuspecting passers-by.  The Business Lab had been transformed into a high end market place of goods and services, vibrant, colourful and talkative.  Everyone did their business proud.
Exhibiting Link4Growth NE London was an opportunity not to be missed.  Our aim was to let more people know about the benefits of coming to one of our meetings and judging by the number of people who joined our mailing list it was a very successful event.
In spite of the tube strike there was still a good turnout.  I met lots of new people and spotted some familiar faces too.  There were also some comical moments such as sharing a joke with Ade about his office in Paris, but that’s another story.  And the woman looking for ‘eggless’ sweets as she was allergic to eggs!  When you’re working with people you have to be prepared for the unexpected and with uncertainty comes excitement!
Alex Burton helped me set up the stall – it looked great - before checking out the catering and some hot sauces on display at the front of the Lab.  Indeed, he had one or two Italian moments when he discovered that our fellow stall holder was an Italian restauranteur.  You couldn’t have planned it better, two foodies together!
Fiona Flaherty, Community Leader NE London set up her ‘surgery’ behind us sharing her wisdom on all things health related that was much appreciated.  At about midday, the cavalry arrived in the form of Jane Walker, our District Leader and Tony Cohen, Community Host Walthamstow St James Street.  Jane didn’t waste any time talking to camera about the virtues of Link4Growth NE London, whilst Tony helped to get some more sign ups.  It truly was a team effort!
When I got the chance I had a look at the other stalls and spoke to quite a few small business owners.  What struck me was their passion, self-motivation and strong belief in what they were doing. I was so impressed at the array of goods on offer and the skills and talents of the people behind them.  The sum of all these parts was potentially huge; if only I could bottle such enthusiasm I would be wealthy indeed.  Being part of a collective activity like this event, got me thinking that when people come together for a common purpose it creates an energy or buzz that is somehow infectious as well as powerful. 
As Stephen Covey said, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”.
I haven’t mentioned the jewel in our crown yet and I must.  It’s our Afternoon Tea on Thursday 6 August 2-4.30pm at Christ the King Church Hall, 455 Chingford Rd E4 8SP.  Quite a few people took photos of our poster advertising the event.  Like us they’re looking forward to having a chat over a decent cuppa and homemade cake in a pleasant and friendly environment.  Mary Berry we salute you for making this simple occasion so popular again.  
If you haven’t booked in yet please register here so we can make sure we’ve got enough cake for everyone!  And why not bring someone with you too?  Maybe a family member, friend, colleague or favourite customer? Children are welcome to come along too.
If we can do more to raise the profile of our communities and promote the importance of the local economy at the same time, then we must.  That’s where you come in.  Let’s be inspired by Mary Berry’s revival of home baking and see what we can do to restore our communities by working together.  Here’s a photo from last year’s event.
But we can’t do it on our own and we need your help.  If everyone on our database told at least one other person about Link4Growth NE London, we’re talking about more than 1,000 people, all potential contacts with a phenomenal range of skills and knowledge.  Now that would be useful, wouldn’t it?  
See you soon, Debra Oakaby, Community Leader NE London
Debra Oakaby July 2015
Tel. 07906 007613