Business Connexions July 24

Page 1

Patron Focus

Julia Pittman, Director of Customer Strategy at Beaver Pest Control, talks about encouraging more women and young people into the industry.

Page 12

The Big Interview

Felicia Mattis-Rome, CEO of Business Launchpad and Tooting Works, transforming young lives through enterprise.

Page 18


A five-point plan for immediate action by the new Government is at the heart of the British Chambers of Commerce Election Manifesto.

Page 24

June 2024
Official Magazine for Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce | Issue 26 |
Gemma Oaten Hosts the 2024 Wandsworth Business Awards Page 8

Dear Business Connexions Community,

Now, I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe we are almost half-way through the year and already well into June.

If you are not too busy watching the Euro’s and soon to come Wimbledon, this is a good time of year to reflect on what has been achieved so far, review what’s worked, learn from what hasn’t, and celebrate our successes. It is important to look forward to the second half of the year, re-strategise, and adapt to make sure we get to the end of 2024 having achieved our targets, feeling satisfied with our performance and accomplishments.

Time has indeed flown by but at Wandsworth Chamber we have managed to get a lot done so far this year and it is looking positive. We can celebrate many new members and successful events demonstrating our focus to grow this fantastic business community. We are also continuing to be involved with the wider Wandsworth Business Community via partnerships, various boards, steering groups, and committees. All of this is part of our continued planning and over the coming months we will be considering further ways to engage and support our members.

At Wandsworth Chamber, we can breathe a sigh of relief and express how proud we are for successfully delivering the 2024 Wandsworth Business Awards campaign and awards ceremony which took place earlier in June at the Clapham Grand. This was our first time of running it ourselves without an event planning company. It has been challenging to do on top of our usual activities, but we have really enjoyed it and it has been hugely rewarding.

Thank you to all who attended. We are grateful to so many of you who sent us wonderful feedback expressing how much you enjoyed the event. We also appreciated the constructive feedback on how the event could have been improved. “Feedback is the breakfast of champions” so they say, and we will bear all feedback in mind when planning for next year.

Please see the articles later in the magazine to hear more about the winners and finalists, and the event itself.

We will be taking a much-needed event break in August which will be our chance to recalibrate and do the reflections mentioned above. However, we still have 4 weeks of events to come before then so please check out the events page later to see what we have in store.

In particular, I’d like to highlight our two summer events; the Summer Soiree at the Roehampton Club where you can learn to play croquet and enjoy their beautiful gardens, and the Summer “Netwalking” event on Wandsworth Common (dogs welcome) which is free for anyone who would like to join us. There is something for everyone, so we hope to see you all at an event soon.

Have a great Summer.


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Publisher Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ

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Disclaimer Business Connexions is mailed without charge to all Chamber members and distributed to businesses in the Borough. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in publication are not necessarily those of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission of the Editor. © 2024. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

Business Connexions | 3
Published June 2024 © Benham Publishing Editor Sarah Dale t: 0151 236 4141 e: Advertising and Features Karen Hall t: 0151 236 4141 e:
Inside: June 2024 4-7 Celebrating Wins in Business 8-9 Wandsworth Business Awards Winners 10 News 11 Legal 12 Patron Focus 14 Profile 16 Battersea 17 News 18 The Big Interview 21 News 23 Skills 24 Economy 26 Chamber Events 31 Health & Wellbeing 32 New Members 33 Starting Up 34 5 Minutes with…
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Thank You to our Amazing Patron Supporters 12

Celebrating Wins in Business

In the fast-paced world of small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs), it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind.

However, taking the time to recognise and celebrate your business wins, both big and small, is crucial for sustaining motivation, fostering team spirit, and driving continued success.

This article will explore the importance of celebrating business wins, effective ways to do so, and why winning an award can be particularly impactful for your business.

4 | Business Connexions Celebrating wins in Business

The Importance of Celebrating Business Wins

1. Boosting Morale and Motivation

Celebrating successes helps to boost the morale of your team. Recognising hard work and achievements creates a positive work environment and can significantly increase employee motivation and satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity and a more cohesive team.

2. Fostering a Positive Work Culture

Acknowledging and celebrating wins reinforces a positive work culture where achievements are valued. This can enhance team cohesion and loyalty, making your employees feel appreciated and part of something bigger.

3. Encouraging Continuous Improvement

When you celebrate wins, you highlight what is working well in your business. This not only encourages continuous improvement but

also sets a benchmark for future performance. It helps your team understand the behaviors and strategies that lead to success.

4. Building Momentum

Small wins can build momentum towards larger goals. Celebrating milestones keeps energy and enthusiasm high, making it easier to tackle bigger challenges ahead. It creates a sense of progress and forward movement.

Business Connexions | 5 Celebrating wins in Business
Photography Charlie Round-Turner

Effective Ways to Celebrate Business Wins

1. Public Recognition

Share the news of your achievements with your team and, if appropriate, with your clients and partners. This could be through team meetings, newsletters, or social media posts. Public recognition validates the hard work and dedication of your team.

2. Team Events

Organise events such as team lunches, dinners, or outings to celebrate a successful project or milestone. These events provide a relaxed environment for your team to bond and celebrate together.

3. Awards and Certificates

Create and distribute internal awards and certificates to recognise individual and team accomplishments. This formal acknowledgment can be very meaningful and motivating for employees.

4. Bonuses and Incentives

Financial rewards, such as bonuses or gift cards, can be a great way to show appreciation for exceptional performance. Incentives can be tailored to individual preferences to make them even more impactful.

5. Personalised Thank You Notes

Sometimes, a simple thank you note can go a long way. Personalised notes from leadership can make employees feel valued and appreciated for their specific contributions.

6 | Business Connexions Celebrating wins in Business

The Impact of Winning an Award in Business

1. Enhanced Credibility and Reputation

Winning a business award enhances your company’s credibility and reputation. It serves as a third-party endorsement of your business’s quality and excellence, which can be invaluable in attracting new clients and partners.

2. Increased Visibility

Awards often come with media coverage and opportunities for networking. This increased visibility can open doors to new business opportunities and partnerships that might not have been possible otherwise.

3. Employee Pride and Motivation

Winning an award boosts the pride and motivation of your employees. It provides a tangible recognition of their hard work and success, which can increase job satisfaction and loyalty.

4. Marketing and Promotional Opportunities

An award win can be leveraged in your marketing and promotional efforts. It can be featured on your website, in your marketing materials, and across your social media channels to build trust and attract new customers.

Wandsworth Chamber celebrating their wins

The Wandsworth Chamber team are also celebrating their wins, in particular the journey of the Wandsworth Business Awards from start to finish. This event was 9 months in the making, with the initial planning starting in August in 2023 and applications on entering the awards launched in November 2023.

Across January and February 2024, Wandsworth Chamber hosted a road show of mix and mingle events around the borough which engaged with a wide range of Wandsworth based businesses and encouraged entering the awards. An Instagram campaign was delivered to engage with as many businesses as possible.

All of the design and branding was done in house for the event and just popped on the evening. We celebrated our wins at every step of the journey and enjoyed our final celebration on the dance floor at the end of the evening.

A couple of our main wins are highlighted below.

- 6 sold out and successful Mix and Mingle events between January and February across the Borough

- Record breaking number of business award entries (80% increase on the previous year)

- Managing and running the Wandsworth Business Awards in-house (a small team of 4 part-time)

5. Competitive Advantage

An award can set you apart from your competitors. It differentiates your business as a leader in your industry, providing a competitive edge that can be crucial in a crowded market.

Celebrating business wins, whether they are small milestones or significant achievements like winning an award, is essential for the growth and success of local SMEs. It fosters a positive work culture, boosts morale, and motivates continuous improvement.

Moreover, business awards can significantly enhance your company’s credibility, visibility, and competitive advantage. By recognising and celebrating your successes, you can build a stronger, more motivated team and pave the way for future achievements.

Business Connexions | 7 Celebrating wins in Business
An incredible time was had by all at the 2024 Wandsworth Business Awards at The Clapham Grand on Wednesday 12th June.

This year saw a record breaking number of entries, 186 to be exact, making the shortlisting and judging extremely challenging, so much so that an extra category for the Best Micro Business of the Year was added.

A huge congratulations to all of the finalists and winners. Each business should be very proud of their achievements and it was truly inspiring to see the venue filled with an array of such fantastic SME Wandsworth based businesses.

Wandsworth Chamber would like to thank everyone who made the event possible, including all of this year’s sponsors, Charlie Round-Turner for the photos and The Quick Brown Fox for the video. A special thank you to the host Gemma Oaten and the amazing band Hand Fulla Soul who got everyone up dancing at the end of the evening and played some fantastic music throughout.

Once again, we would like to congratulate all of the winners and finalists.

I want to thank you for your fabulous hosting and hospitality at The Wandsworth Business Awards - we really enjoyed ourselves and were honoured to be nominated - all of your and your team’s hard work really paid off as you could see so many happy faces around the room.

8 | Business Connexions Wandsworth Business Awards 2024

Innovation Award

Winner: Tooting Works

Highly Commended: Keynest Commended: Kente Kids

Environmental/Sustainability Champion

Winner: Crew Energy

Highly Commended: Switched on London Commended: My Reusables and The Furniture Narrative

Diversity & Inclusivity Champion

Winner: Milk & Honey PR

Highly Commended: Parthian Climbing Wandsworth Commended: Hairline and The National Opera Studio

Health and Wellbeing Award

Winner: Parthian Climbing Wandsworth

Highly Commended: RMJ Wellbeing and Houston Lawrence Commended: Enable

Best Customer Service

Winner: Poppy’s Funerals

Highly Commended: Ansador Fire and Security Commended: Minar Jewellers

Hospitality Business of the Year

Winner: The Wine Tasting Shop

Highly Commended: Cremoloso Gelato Commended: The Indian Room

Retailer of the Year

Winner: The Wine Tasting Shop

Highly Commended: Minar Jewellers Commended: Howden Insurance

Best Charity Award

Winner: Age UK Wandsworth

Highly Commended: St George’s Hospital Charity Commended: Tooting Community Kitchen and Tooting Works

Best Start up Business of the Year

Winner: Baby Likes

Highly Commended: Kidz4 and The UK Caribbean Food Awards Ltd Commended: Destination Seekers

Best Micro Business of the Year

Winner: Bocconcini Bakery

Highly Commended: Light by Lexi and The Avenue Cookery School Commended: Studio Noel

Best SME Business of the Year

Winner: Switched on London

Highly Commended: Momo Kombucha Commended: Angel Swim London

Best Large Business

Winner: Beaver Pest Control

Highly Commended: Hanne & Co and Russell Cooke Commended: Gazette Brasserie

Business Owner/Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner: Josh Puddle, Momo Kombucha

Highly Commended: Adam Knight, Angel Swim London and Antontella Vecciu, Bocconcini Bakery Commended: Nathan Bourne, Bourne Fitness

Best Overall Business

Winner: The Wine Tasting Shop

The Wandsworth Business Awards would not be possible without the generous support of the sponsors and we would like to say a big thank you to all this year’s sponsors including:

• Wandsworth Council

• The Roehampton Club

• South Thames College

• Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel

• Displayways

• Russell Cooke

• The Clapham Junction BID

• Howden Insurance

• Avery Collection Wandsworth Common

• Battersea Power Station

It was a fantastic evening that truly represented the business community in Wandsworth.

Watch this space for plans for the 2025 Wandsworth Business Awards!

❛❛Great success all round, Wandsworth Chamber did a fantastic job, the event had a really great feel to it, very warm and friendly with everyone having a great time. Brilliant.

Rob Kelly, Displayways

Business Connexions | 9 Wandsworth Business Awards 2024
Photography Charlie Round-Turner

More than a million people visit Wandsworth libraries

More book-lovers are visiting libraries in the borough, according to new figures released by Wandsworth Council.

More than one million people visited Wandsworth’s libraries last year – an increase of 17 per cent on the previous year.

Close to two million books were issued –75 per cent of them physical books and the rest were e-books. Figures are two percent up on 2022-23.

Cabinet Member for Environment Judi Casser said: “These figures are really encouraging, but it’s not just about borrowing books. Libraries are a crucial part of local communities and a free place where everyone can relax, learn, and feel connected.

“As we prepare to become London Borough of Culture 2025, we will put our libraries at the heart of our celebrations and will continue to cherish and invest in them.”

Wandsworth has 11 local libraries managed on behalf of Wandsworth Council by charitable social enterprise GLL.

Recent improvements include the opening of new libraries in Wandsworth Town and Northcote, with a revamped Putney Library due to formally open this summer.

Opening hours were also extended at Battersea Park, York Gardens and Roehampton over the last year.

As well as borrowing a book, libraries offer a place to work or study, business meeting rooms, a range of online resources, a home delivery service, a heritage service and free events for children and adults including children’s craft activities and story times, author readings, adult learning classes, book and film clubs and digital support for older people.

Libraries are also a key part of the council’s Community Spaces programme, providing somewhere warm and safe to enjoy free activities and get together with neighbours.

Image: Pixabay

LANDLORDS TAKE HEED: important lessons in recovering possession of commercial property

The High Court has recently handed down its judgment in the case of McDonalds Restaurants Limited v Shirayama Shokusan Company Ltd which has provided further clarity on how landlords can rely on section 30(1)(g) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (ground (g)).

Request for a new lease

McDonalds was the tenant of premises in County Hall, London. McDonalds issued a section 26 notice requesting the grant of a new lease from the landlord in December 2016. The landlord opposed the request, relying on ground (g). This enables a landlord to oppose a lease renewal if they intend to use the property (entirely or partly) for their own occupation.

Terminating McDonald’s tenancy

In response to McDonalds’ section 26 request in 2016, the landlord made an application under section 29 of the Act seeking an order terminating McDonalds’ tenancy.

The case came to trial in 2018 where the landlord stated its intentions to run a Japanese restaurant from the premises called ‘Zen Bento’ and gave an undertaking to the court to that effect. The judge was satisfied that the landlord had proved the required intention to occupy the premises for the purpose of carrying on their own business and McDonald’s were refused a new lease. McDonalds vacated the premises in February 2019.

By November 2019 that the landlord had not opened ‘Zen Bento’ and appeared to be running a coffee shop/bakery, which was entirely different to what had been proposed in the 2018 proceedings.

McDonalds subsequently sued the landlord on grounds of deceit and misrepresentation, claiming that its tenancy was terminated in 2018 because the landlord had misrepresented its intentions.

Satisfying ground (g)

A landlord must show that the purpose of occupancy is for their own business, which

they will take up in a reasonable time after termination of the tenant’s tenancy.

A landlord can change its mind after trial, leaving a tenant with no remedy, provided the landlord can show at the date of trial that the intention existed. However, a tenant may have a remedy if it can prove that the original intention never existed, and a misrepresentation was made to the court.

If a tenant’s claim is successful, the court may order the landlord to pay the tenant compensation under section 37A of the Act for damage or loss sustained as the result of the original order refusing the grant of a new tenancy.

Satisfying the requirements of ground (g) can be quite a high threshold; a landlord must show a fixed and settled desire to do that which it intends to do, and that it has a reasonable prospect of being about to bring about that result.

For a claim of ‘deceit’ to succeed, the claimant must show:

1. a false representation made by the defendant to the claimant;

2. the defendant knows that representation is false, or acts recklessly as to whether that is true;

3. the defendant intends that the claimant’s actions rely on the false representation; and

4. the claimant does act in reliance on the misrepresentation and consequently suffers a loss.

Issues raised

The judge made two observations. Section 37A doesn’t require misrepresentation to be deliberate or reckless, but it is difficult to see how an accidental misrepresentation could be made pursuant to ground (g). Additionally, to secure compensation under section 37A, the claimant must prove that the termination of the tenancy or the refusal to grant a new lease was as a result of misrepresentation or concealment of facts.

In particular the judge noted that McDonalds had previously given an undertaking to the court that it intended to open a restaurant called ‘Zen Bento’.

Following the termination of McDonalds’ lease in 2018, there was a chain of emails from the landlord to an architecture firm containing plans for a new ‘grab and go’ restaurant, which was also emailed to another 88 individuals, who apparently were not connected to the landlord’s business.

Further emails were sent pitching ideas for the premises ranging from a Michelin star restaurant to a Spanish restaurant.

The judgment

The judge awarded compensation pursuant to s37A, but dismissed the claim in damages for the alleged deceit. The judge was satisfied that the landlord didn’t intend to occupy the premises to run ‘Zen Bento’ following the termination of McDonalds’ tenancy. It was accepted that the landlord intended to open a restaurant, but the plans were ‘up in the air’. The landlord had misled the court at the preliminary issue trial and compensation was awarded to McDonalds, which will be determined at a later trial.

The claim of deceit was dismissed as the judge was not satisfied that the landlord intended for McDonalds to have acted in reliance on the misrepresentations. Rather, the judge felt the landlord had been attempting to mislead the court into making the termination order.

What can landlords learn?

The case highlights the complexities and nuances that a landlord must consider in attempting to oppose the grant of a new lease relying on ground (g). Whilst a landlord can change its mind regarding its intention for the property, a rapid change of course suggests that the original plan was untrue and thus McDonald’s claim under s37A succeeded.

Business Connexions | 11 +44 (0)20 8789 9111 Legal Harriet Allsop Senior associate | Property litigation +44(0) 20 3826 7308
Harriet assists businesses and individuals in managing and resolving disputes in relation to both commercial and residential properties. Get in touch via contact info

Award-winning pest control firm’s plans to attract more women into industry

Julia Pittman, Director of Customer Strategy at Beaver Pest Control, talks to Sarah Dale about encouraging more women and young people into the industry.

Attracting more women and more young people into the pest control industry is a passion of Julia Pittman’s.

As Director of Customer Strategy at Beaver Pest Control, she works in a male-dominated industry where just five percent are female.

At Beaver Pest Control, which was established 34 years ago and is based at Trident Business Centre, the percentage ratio of men and women is 80:20.

“However, we have zero female technicians,” says Julia, who has worked at Beaver Pest Control for 10 years and is also on the Executive Board of the British Pest Control Association and the Chair of the BPCA Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

“That is something that must change. We want more women to see it as a career choice. We’re also an ageing industry; 40 per cent of our

industry is due to retire in the next 10 years. We need more young people to join the industry.”

Julia is studying an MBA online with the University of Chester.

“For my final dissertation, I am interviewing female university students on relevant courses such as biology and animal husbandry to find out their perceptions of the pest control industry,” explains Julia.

She is hoping her findings will help the firm’s diversity and ease recruitment struggles, which are felt across the board in the industry.

“We, as an industry, still haven’t quite shed that ‘rat catcher’ moniker,” she says.

“People’s perceptions can sometimes be that it’s a trade rather than a profession, but our technicians are highly trained and certified. As well as providing pest control, bird control, wildlife management and drain surveys, we also look at prevention and education.

“Animal welfare can be an emotive subject but our role is to protect public health and we try and do it in the most humane way possible. The most humane way is prevention but we also use rodenticides and traps. If there is any risk to public health, it is extremely important that it’s controlled, especially in food establishments.”

The award-winning company has already instigated several changes to encourage more women to join the firm including changing job descriptions to appeal to females, updating their branding from the traditional male technician, adapting the language they use in advertising and on their website, and including women’s trousers to the uniform too.

They joined Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce in 2014 and Julia says being a Patron member has helped them secure work with local businesses and organisations including South Thames College. The company also provides work placements in its marketing department for college students.

“As we have grown as a business, it’s important it’s a two-way relationship,” adds Julia.

“And it all feeds into our CSR programmes. We have a lot of customers who expect us to have a progressive CSR programme and when we’re applying for tender contracts that is something we score highly on.”

Through Chamber networking events, the company’s Directors met Beverley Corsonnow the Chamber’s CEO. As a fellow Chamber member at the time, Beverley, who also runs Next Level Business, helped Beaver Pest Control with their vision and strategy.

“What came out of that conversation was that people are the most important thing to us –both customers and staff,” says Julia.

“When I joined, we had 28 staff members, now we have 90 employees and over the next five years, we want to take on a further 50 staff to take us up to 140.

“That growth leads to new opportunities. We now have a drain team, a new corporate service team, a professional proofing team and have expanded our bird team.

“We invest a lot into our people and one of the things that we’re very proud of is that people stay with us.”

Looking ahead, the company is looking at taking on more national accounts, creating an online portal and new recruits will include a finance manager.

“We’re always recruiting and currently looking for a customer service position,” she adds.

She advises new Chamber members to capitalise on networking events, support and enter the business awards.

“The awards have been really good for us,” she adds.

“There are a lot of amazing businesses in Wandsworth and one of the things the Chamber does best is bring people together who may not otherwise have an opportunity to meet.”

Beaver Pest Control has won a string of awards including Best Customer Service 2023 and Best Overall Business 2023 at Wandsworth Business Awards and Large Company of the Year 2022 at the National Pest Awards.

12 | Business Connexions Patron Focus
Business Connexions | 13 EXPERTS IN PEST CONTROL 020 8355 3443 EXPERTS IN PEST CONTROL 020 8355 3443

Heaps of Caribbean flavour at awards

The awards stirring up the food industry

The UK Caribbean food industry is worth more than £132 million but has only had its very own awards since last year.

Sarah Dale talks to Dawn Burton, Co-founder and Director of UK Caribbean Food Awards, to find out more.

When Dawn Burton and Marsha Barnett met at a networking event five years ago, they instantly clicked.

They quickly discovered a mutual love of food and hit on an idea to establish the UK Caribbean Food Collective to support and promote Caribbean owned food and beverage businesses based in the UK. Last year, they launched the UK Caribbean Food Awards, which was a huge success and saw TV chef Rustie Lee scoop the Lifetime Achievement Award. Entries are now open for this year’s awards. The awards ceremony will be held at The Wandsworth Civic Suite in London on Monday, 7th October.

“I absolutely love food; it brings people together and it brings cultures together,” says Dawn, from Battersea.

“My Mum and Dad were both from Jamaica and we would eat the traditional Caribbean Sunday dinner of Rice & Peas with Chicken. But mostly, she made things like spaghetti bolognese or jacket potatoes. She always had a bottomless pot on the go and our friends would always be round ours for tea.”

Dawn launched her own catering business, Caribburton, in 2011 after starting her career in travel and hospitality. With a kitchen in Battersea, she cooks up a range of traditional Caribbean food, but at home, she is more likely to be tucking into her favourite steak and chips or a bowl of pasta.

“I don’t like spicy food; I just can’t eat it!” she says. “Marsha has to try all the hot sauces; she loves hot food.”

The awards are the only ones in the UK celebrating and showcasing Caribbean food. There are special awards for fish and chips, curries, takeaways and Gok Wan’s Golden Chopsticks to name a few, but none for Caribbean in the UK. However, Dawn adds that the UK Caribbean food and drink industry is worth more than £132 million, with the UK Caribbean sauce industry worth £1 billion.

“There are so many great Caribbean food and drink businesses in the UK, we want to showcase and celebrate them,” adds Dawn.

Dawn’s catering business is based in Battersea while Marsha’s restaurant, Jerk Shack, was based in Roehampton but closed recently at the end of its lease. Jerk Shack now runs as catering and events business only.

Dawn joined Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce a year ago.

“It’s good to find out what’s going on in the borough and the events are great for networking,” she adds. They decided to hold the second awards in Wandsworth for several reasons.

“With Wandsworth announced as the Borough of Culture 2025, we thought it would be a great location; the borough is very diverse,” she says.

“We’re both female founders, both black business leaders and we want to show the diversity of the borough. John Archer was the first black mayor of a London borough when he became Mayor of Battersea. Marsha and I also received an award for services to the community with other significant female-led businesses at the Wandsworth Sheroes awards at Wandsworth Town Hall.”

The inaugural UK Caribbean Food Awards last year had 14 categories, but they have expanded for this year’s ceremony. All nominations will be seen by a judging panel who will decide which three will be finalists with the winners being revealed on the night. Entries are open and there are also opportunities to become a sponsor of the event – last year’s main sponsor was Just Eat – or individual categories.

The awards categories are: Best UK Caribbean Food Book, Best Supermarket for Caribbean Food, Best Sauce/Condiment, Best Caribbean Hot Pepper Sauce, Best Caribbean Food Seasoning/ Marinade, Best Rice Brand, Best Patty, Best Caribbean Caterer, African Eatery, Latin Caribbean Eatery, Caribbean Non-Alcoholic Beverage (teas, coffees, juices), Caribbean Alcoholic Beverages, Best Caribbean Rum Cake, Best Caribbean Street-food Trader, Best Caribbean Takeaway, Best Caribbean Restaurant, Best Vegan Eatery, Outstanding Chef of the Year, Media Personality, and Lifetime Achievement Award (Founders).

For more info on tickets & nominations please see Instagram link:

If you would like to sponsor an award, email:

14 | Business Connexions Profile

The Battersea Games

Battersea Power Station will once again be the home of sports and games this summer as the popular Battersea Games returns to the riverside neighbourhood for a second season.

From 1st July - 8th September 2024, the six-acre Power Station Park in front of the London landmark will be transformed into the capital’s most exciting sporting venue with lots of free, family-friendly activities for all ages from a running track to ping pong, a climbing wall, basketball zone and a flexi space, which will host a great mix of exercise classes, as well as the return of the popular Rocket Padel pop-up.

There will also be lots of sporting activities inside the Grade II* listed building hosted by the internationally renowned sports and wellness brands that now call Battersea Power Station home, and giant games including Chess and Connect 4. The Wimbledon Experience presented by Ocean Outdoor and the All England Lawn Tennis Club will kick start the first two weeks of The Battersea Games with all the live action being shown on a big screen in Power Station Park. There will also be live screenings for the local community to enjoy at the Battersea Power Station fanzone for Official Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

16 | Business Connexions

Have fun this summer in Battersea Park

Run by Enable and Wandsworth Council, there will be a variety of events to enjoy this summer in Battersea Park.

Live at the Bandstand will be held in Battersea Park on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June, where there will free outdoor live music from brass bands to mariachi.

On the following weekend – Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June – the Battersea Creative Arts Weekend will feature free family-friendly live shows and workshops, including dance, circus, storytelling and pottery.

On Saturday 6th July, Battersea Park hosts the first-ever Wandsworth Family Pride, in partnership with the Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Delivery Network, featuring music, performances, poetry, community stalls, fairground rides, bouncy castle and children’s soft play. All activities are familyfriendly and free.

The park will also host Wandsworth Armed Forces Day on Sunday 7th July with support from the 24th Invicta Rifles Marching Band, huge military aircraft displays, the National Army Museum, the Royal Chelsea Hospital

and more. The famous Battersea Dog Show will take place the same day, featuring even more pedigree and novelty categories to participate in plus new crossbreed categories.

Summer sports finals will be broadcast live on the big screen at the Battersea Park Bowling Green on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July. Entry is free and all ages welcome, with under-18s accompanied by an adult.

On Sunday 14th July, the UEFA EURO 2024 final will be screened on the KERB Street Food Garden big screen, an 18+ ticketed event with entrance from 6.30pm and kick-off scheduled for 8pm. Entrance to this screening is limited with table bookings and individual standing tickets available.

The KERB Street Food Garden will be open in the Battersea Park Bowling Green every Saturday and Sunday from 29th June to 14th July.

For more details, visit

More investment planned for Tooting town centre

Comprehensive plans are being drawn up to improve Mitcham Road in Tooting town centre.

Councillors have set aside £3.5 million to fund a range of improvements between Tooting Broadway and Amen Corner.

The plans are set to include more greenery, better pavements and lighting, additional crossing points and the removal of unwanted and defunct street clutter –including obsolete and unsightly phone boxes.

The aim is to smarten up the streetscape, provide a better environment for residents and attract more shoppers as part of wider efforts to boost the town centre’s shops and businesses.

The scheme follows a similar project in nearby Totterdown Street where work is about to begin on a pedestrianisation scheme to create a new public open space with tables and chairs for people to relax and enjoy an outdoor setting – undisturbed by passing traffic.

The changes in Totterdown Street will provide space for a new street market incorporating food and drink traders and seating areas, with shrubs and bushes set in colourful planters surrounding the seating areas.

Wandsworth’s Cabinet Member for Transport Jenny Yates said: “We are committed to investing more in parts of the borough which have historically seen less investment like Tooting town centre. This includes making it more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists, improving conditions for local businesses and working with partners like TfL to reduce the traffic congestion that is an issue in the town centre.”

Business Connexions | 17 News

Helping brighter futures take-off

Karen McLauchlan spoke to Felicia Mattis-Rome, CEO of Business Launchpad and Tooting Works, about transforming young lives through enterprise.

Many of us need a helping hand to find the right path in life.

And Business Launchpad (BLP) is doing just that, supporting young people across London to break down barriers to enterprise and bring business ideas to life.

The team’s roots stretch back almost 40 yearsthe former Wandsworth Youth Enterprise Centre (WYEC) became the Government initiative Business Launchpad in 2013.

Offering resources, support and coaching to 16-30-year-olds, it currently engages with over 1,000 young people every year, incubating over 300 businesses.

Some may have left school and don’t know what to do next, others have tried different routes that didn’t work out and now feel lost. People aged 16-30 are a key focus, with 70 percent of the people the team helps being young black women.

And every single bit of help offered is free. The charity is supported by the organisation’s commercial arm - Tooting Works business centre.

Felicia Mattis-Rome, CEO of Business Launchpad and Tooting Works, said: “We work to support marginalised young people, or young people who face multiple barriers.

“We work across London but predominantly with young people across Wandsworth, that’s where the majority of our impact is generated. We help them into enterprise – enabling them to set up and run their own successful businesses. They can come to us directly, but we also do a lot of outreach work.

“The type of support we offer varies, we use enterprise as the vehicle, but we also help young people back into education or employment.

“We do all of that intervention through masterclasses – we are upskilling young people and teaching them leadership skills that are transferrable to entrepreneurship or life in general.”

The charity owns Tooting Works, a 46,000 square foot business centre that is home to an A-Z of thriving small firms.

The site on Bickersteth Road has been a business centre since 1997. But a recent redevelopment and bright yellow makeover has transformed it into a community and co-working space that really stands out.

Felicia says before refurbishment the site lacked presence in the community. But the bold paint job and new facilities have made it a place people want to be.

“Since the refurb the energy has been lifted across the whole centre,” said Felicia.

“People are really buzzing when they come into the building.

“Now we have people passing by who stop and come in because they want to know what we do here. We’ve created a community space, our gates – which are also bright yellow - are open and we have a community garden where people can spend time. It’s a lovely space to be.”

Tooting Works is currently home to 78 businesses – occupancy stands at an impressive 98 per cent.

18 | Business Connexions
The Big Interview
Left to right – Felicia Mattis-Rome (CEO) Nicole Margarita Henworth (Community Impact Manager) Lib Peck (Director of the London Violence Reduction Unit) Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) Shola & Jarrell Johnson (Sweet Dee’s Jerk)
Launchpad workshop

Since work was completed last summer, the site’s event space has received over 400 bookings. Both Business Launchpad and Tooting Works have had to cope with the impact of the Covid pandemic in recent years.

Funding for the business centre redevelopment was secured from Wandsworth Council in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit and the country went into lockdown. It delayed the work, which was finally completed in August 2023.

For Business Launchpad, the team has had to look again at how it supports London’s young people.

“We’ve had to reset,” said Felicia, “to understand what young people need post-pandemic.

“We are in the process of rebuilding and re-engaging – ensuring our offering is useful and suitable to the current climate. There’s so much work we need to do around resilience – we do so much more of that since the pandemic.”

While many small firms struggled during the pandemic, Felicia says others were able to embrace the challenges, weather the storm and go on to greater things.

Business Launchpad alumni Sweet Dee’s Jerk is just one example. Starting in 2017, brothers Troy and Jarrell Johnson – who were born and raised in Tooting - took traditional Caribbean recipes from their family home and added a modern, creative twist inspired by their life in London.

From humble beginnings, the business has continued to evolve and thrive with its delicious food selling at locations including Selfridges Foodhall and Market Place Vauxhall.

“They are doing so well,” said Felicia, “and we’ve had so many other successes over the years.”

As for the future, Felicia wants to see business centre tenants trading among themselves more – either within Tooting Works or within the Wandsworth borough.

“I’d also love to see more jobs created for young people in the centre – with more than 70 businesses I’d like to see firms offering opportunities for young people.

“I also want us to raise our profile and be the go-to organisation for youth support.”

We are in the process of rebuilding and re-engaging – ensuring our offering is useful and suitable to the current climate. There’s so much work we need to do around resilience – we do so much more of that since the pandemic.

But championing better futures for young people is something that resonates on a very personal level for Felicia, who has previously worked in the charity, property and education sectors. She came to Tooting Works eight years ago and became CEO of the business centre and Business Launchpad two years ago.

“It’s my happy place, supporting young people to change the course of their life is so important,” she said. “And I know that because I used to be one of those young people categorised as hard to reach and marginalised.

“Through the course of my life people have given me a helping hand or reached out and offered support. And that’s why I’m where I am today.

“For me, I want to pay that forward. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

Business Connexions | 19 The Big Interview
Tooting Works located at 89 Bickersteth road just off Mitcham road, Tooting One of the new coworking spaces Annual summer party in the community garden

MEET THE BUYER Win More Contracts

Thursday 27th June 2024

5:30pm - 8:30pm Sambrook’s Brewery, 40 Ram Street, Wandsworth SW18 1UR

London Borough of Wandsworth’s, Economic Development team return with the second Supply Wandsworth Meet the Buyer’s event, continuing to build on the success of the first, creating a space for public, private sector procurement / buying professionals to engage with local suppliers.

Supported by Handelsbanken, delivered in partnership with Branduin and introducing our event host Sambrooks Brewery, this Supply Wandsworth Meet the Buyer event on 27th June 2024 will give local businesses access to buying professionals and decision makers from both the public and private sector.

Large Buyers confirmed for this event are Roehampton University, Berkely Group / St George PLC, Wates Group, SW London NHS Trust, Nightingale Hammerson, AFC Wimbledon – with more to be added.

We encourage and invite early-stage SMEs and established businesses based in the Borough of Wandsworth to register and be part of a wider conversation, network with large buyers, and apply for future contract opportunities in the coming months.

We look forward to seeing you at 5:30pm on 27th June to check-in before the event commences at 6:00pm.

There will be plenty of time for networking, so bring lots of business cards!

Please register for the event at:

In addition to our Meet the Buyers event, Supply Wandsworth is also offering a dedicated business mentoring and tender skills development programme.

Supply Wandsworth have got some interesting opportunities to look out for in the coming months.

To be delivered by Branduin, this mentoring programme will offer 1-2-1 tender advice sessions to those SMEs with a tender contract they wish to bid for, The aim of the sessions will to provide businesses with the support, knowledge and skills required to submit bids to various public / private industry buyers.

Green Mark, the programme gives businesses understand and improve their environmental impact structured framework for fostering sustainable

Please register for the programme by clicking on the link:

We encourage and invite established businesses and early-stage SMEs based in the Borough of Wandsworth to register and be part of a wider conversation, network with Large Buyers and learn about future contract opportunities in the coming months.

Business Mentoring – Supply Wandsworth are working with business support provider Branduin Ltd to deliver a dedicated mentoring programme for SMEs within Wandsworth. If you’re an SME, you could get mentoring and targeted advice and support to help you bid for contract tenders. You could take advantage of up to 4 hours of individual of support and advice on the best way to effectively bid and navigate the approved supplier process.

Green Mark Accreditation – Wandsworth Council is delivering a new free programme called Making Business Greener - to support local companies to become more sustainable and achieve carbon reductions as well as lead to a Level 1 accreditation of the Green Mark for businesses in Wandsworth. Run in partnership with

Buyers’ Toolkit – Available from Spring 2024, Wandsworth Buyers Toolkit will be a step-by-step within the borough. It will help potential buyers to implement a progressive localised procurement to monitor the social value return on investment sourcing local suppliers and ways you can work with Wandsworth Council to achieve social value local supply chains.

For further information regarding our upcoming event or if interested in attending as a buyer, information on our supplier readiness mentoring programme please feel free to contact myself at

Wandsworth have got some interesting opportunities to the coming months.

To Bid® programme for these new opportunities in the first quarter of 2024.

We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with �

A special thank you to our partners for their ongoing support.

Green Mark, the programme gives businesses the opportunity understand and improve their environmental impact and develop structured framework for fostering sustainable business growth.

Mentoring – Supply Wandsworth are working with support provider Branduin Ltd to deliver a dedicated programme for SMEs within Wandsworth. If you’re an get mentoring and targeted advice and support to contract tenders. You could take advantage of up individual of support and advice on the best way to

Buyers’ Toolkit – Available from Spring 2024, the Supply Wandsworth Buyers Toolkit will be a step-by-step guide for within the borough. It will help potential buyers understand to implement a progressive localised procurement plan, how to monitor the social value return on investment created from

Supply Wandsworth Watch
Business mentoring Green Mark Accreditation
Wandsworth Fit
this space@
Buyers’ Toolkit
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay
new opportunities in the first quarter
Supply Wandsworth Watch this space@ • Business mentoring • Green Mark Accreditation • Buyers’ Toolkit
Look out for these
of 2024.
Image by TheOtherKev

Wandsworth recognised for its support of sanctuary seekers

Wandsworth is officially a Borough of Sanctuary after being awarded the accreditation by the City of Sanctuary UK.

The accreditation recognises the work Wandsworth Council has done to date, including developing the Wandsworth Sanctuary Strategy, and a commitment made to welcome, support, and empower sanctuary seekers living in the borough.

Cabinet Member for Business, Voluntary Sector and Culture, Kemi Akinola, said:

“I’m incredibly proud that the compassionate and collaborative approach of our administration is making a difference, and that this has been recognised by City of Sanctuary UK.

“Wandsworth is a welcoming place for people seeking asylum and refugeesand this accreditation is recognition that the residents of Wandsworth, alongside Wandsworth Council, have welcomed those seeking sanctuary with open arms.

“This is another example of Wandsworth becoming a fairer, more compassionate borough for everyone.”

A £200,000 Sanctuary Community Fund has been set up to provide grants of up to £10,000 to voluntary and community sector organisations for support with community integration, expanding organisational capacity, and celebrating the role of refugees and asylum seekers in the borough.

Wandsworth Council has expanded the resources it directs towards refugees, including having 21 dedicated workers

who speak more than 15 different languages in a newly formed Refugee Services Team to ensure the needs of refugees are met and sufficient support is in place for when they arrive.

Wandsworth has welcomed more than 1,000 Ukrainian refugees, the second most of any London borough, and fifth most of any English unitary local authority.

Wandsworth Council’s Refugees Champion, Councillor Sarmila Varatharaj, said: “This accreditation is a major recognition of the work Wandsworth has done to date and what more we plan to do, because Wandsworth is a place that is safe and is welcoming to everyone.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re coming from. You do have a place here in Wandsworth that you can call a home.”

Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees, a local voluntary group affiliated to City of Sanctuary, said: “Wandsworth has always prided itself on being a welcoming borough, and the work in the last two years means this will be more than just a slogan.

“After making a pledge to become a Borough of Sanctuary less than two years ago, we can see the Council listened to the voices of lived experience, and with this accreditation, we’re keen to see what comes next.”

A £200,000 Sanctuary Community Fund has been set up to provide grants of up to £10,000 to voluntary and community sector organisations for support with community integration, expanding organisational capacity, and celebrating the role of refugees and asylum seekers in the borough.

Wandsworth celebrates Pride Month

June is Pride Month and there will be a host of events across the borough to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Wandsworth Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Kemi Akinola said: “We are determined to create a fairer, more equal borough which recognises the contribution made by all members of our community.

“We are proud to stand with our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbours, commemorate their struggle for equality and join them in celebrating Pride Month.”

Look out for Wandsworth Council’s social media posts to find out more about events.

Business Connexions | 21 News


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Learning Sustainably


growing green economy provides considerable job opportunities as we race towards the net zero agenda.

The UK has set a target to reach net zero emissions target by 2050. Along the way the UK government aims to reduce all direct emissions from public sector buildings by 50% and 75% by 2032 and 2037 respectively, against a 2017 baseline.

The South Thames Colleges Group Net Zero Training Hub has been set up to support the development of a skilled workforce to help


• Level 3 Air Source Heat Pumps Installation

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Our courses provide national qualifications in topics such as installation of solar photovoltaic systems, retrofit and energy efficiency and energy assessment. Our instructors are experts in their field and provide hands-on training and practical experience to ensure that our students are fully equipped to succeed in this growing industry.


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To enrol on one of these courses please scan the QR code or visit, to make a difference to the world we live in.

Business Connexions | 23
Business Connexions | 23

British Chambers of Commerces business manifesto outlines five-point action plan


A five-point plan for immediate action by the new Government is at the heart of the British Chambers of Commerce Election Manifesto.

he five-point plan is part of the BCC’s ‘Future of the Economy’ manifesto. The manifesto includes the biggest ideas from a series of extensive policy documents published this year, focusing on the key economic challenges identified by the BCC. The challenges are: Green Innovation, People and Work, Local Economies of the Future, Global Britain and the Digital Revolution.

The manifesto has been brought together after extensive consultation with the Chamber network, the BCC’s Business Council, external stakeholders and academics.

Baroness Martha Lane Fox, President of the BCC, said: “In the frenzy of the election campaign, it’s crucial that all politicians focus on the power of British business.

“As I travel across the UK meeting Chambers and their businesses, I hear amazing stories of people determined to grow their businesses and make a difference in our remarkable country. But time and again businesses tell me they want to see a longterm vision for the economy.

“Our manifesto showcases practical ideas on how politicians can help companies successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities our economy faces. It’s a blueprint for boosting productivity and a pathway to higher growth.

“Whichever party is in power after July 4th the immediate focus must be on implementing our five-point-plan for business. The stakes for business from the next Government could not be higher.”

24 | Business Connexions Economy

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: “A General Election is an important time for our country, our economy and our businesses.

“The companies we represent are the drivers of economic growth and the employers of millions of people. They need to know that politicians have got their back. Once the votes are counted – we want Government to know how to help business. Our five-point-plan is clear.

“As companies play their part in the UK’s net-zero journey, we desperately need an industrial strategy with green innovation at its heart.

“Firms are constantly telling us they can’t get the skills they need. We need better strategic planning on skills that helps business and training providers work together.

“In local communities, firms are crying out for a fairer business rates system. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of companies told us earlier this year they’d changed plans to upgrade or open premises because of the system.

“The EU is the UK’s biggest market, so we urgently need to get a better trading relationship with our closest neighbour. It’s not about rewriting the referendum result; it’s about cutting red-tape and promoting trade.

“The world of AI has huge potential to boost economic productivity. But it’s important that SMEs aren’t left behind, or vulnerable, as new technology accelerates. A Government appointed AI champion will help spearhead a boost in AI uptake by SMEs.

“We believe our five-point plan creates an immediate pathway for a new Government, of whatever party, to help businesses succeed. When business succeeds, the country succeeds.”

The BCC wants to see:

An Industrial Strategy with green innovation at its heart.

Better skills planning, bringing businesses and training providers together.

Business rates reform to encourage growth and investment.

Improved relations with the European Union to cut the costs for business. A Government appointed AI champion for SMEs to spearhead uptake of new technology.

The EU is the UK’s biggest market, so we urgently need to get a better trading relationship with our closest neighbour. It’s not about rewriting the referendum result; it’s about cutting red-tape and promoting trade.

Read the full manifesto at

Business Connexions | 25
26 | Business Connexions Wandsworth BUSINESS FORUM Connect with Wandsworth Council and Experts for REGULAR BUSINESS UPDATES 1st Wednesday of Every Month Venue: ONLINE Registration Link: SAVE the dates Chamber Events WANDSWORTH CHAMBER


• Wednesday 3rd July

Wandsworth Business Forum 8 - 9.30am, Online

• Wednesday 10th July

Wandsworth Chamber Networking in Clapham Junction at The Hannah. 6 - 9pm

• Wednesday 17th July Chamber Big Breakfast, Pestana Hotel. 8 - 10.30am

• Tuesday 23rd July Summer Soiree, The Roehampton Club. 6 - 9pm

• Wednesday 31st July Summer Netwalking on Wandsworth Common. 6 - 9pm NO EVENTS IN AUGUST

• Wednesday 4th September Wandsworth Business Forum, Online.

• Wednesday 11th September Business Networking in Earlsfield at The Earlsfield. 6 - 9pm

Please visit the events page of our website regularly to see what’s on and why not join us as we network through 2024. For further details go to


( with your phone camera to see our events and get them in your calendar app.

Business Connexions | 27

Wandsworth Healthy Workplaces

A healthy business is a productive business!


is a strategic programme, delivered by London Borough of Wandsworth’s Public Health team. The programme aims to encourage, inspire, and support businesses of all sizes across the borough to create health-enhancing, engaged and productive workplaces.

Promoting and supporting employee wellbeing is important for better work and working lives. An effective workplace health and wellbeing programme can deliver mutual benefits to people, organisations, economies, and communities.

Demonstrating that your business supports employee health and wellbeing plays a pivotal role for businesses seeking or procuring new contracts and bids. It forms part of any business’s objectives around ESG (Environmental, Social Governance).

The programme:

• Offers workplace health resources, training, events and a signposting service to organisations in Wandsworth.

• Operates a free Accreditation Scheme for Wandsworth employers, providing a framework to improve employee health and wellbeing, whilst rewarding organisations who are actively working to do so.

• Is free to all types and sizes of organisations based in Wandsworth

• Is funded and delivered by Public Health at Wandsworth council

28 | Business Connexions
Watch the session for why employees wellbeing makes commercial sense for your business on YouTube. Why employee
makes commercial sense for your business!
2035 - HEALTHY WORK PLACES WANDSWORTH FPamm.indd 2 07/06/2024 14:09

The Wandsworth Local Healthy Workplace Award

We welcome local businesses to get involved in this opportunity and use an evidence-based framework to benchmark the great work already being done for your employees. Businesses can often underestimate what they are doing to support their employees and by getting involved in this project local businesses can collectively learn and share from best practices.

The healthy workplace framework is made up of three pillars:

• Corporate support for wellbeing

• Mental health and wellbeing

• Healthy lifestyle promotion

Register your interest in becoming a healthy workplace by contacting

Spotlight: Diabetes Workplace Wellbeing

Did you know that the UK is seeing a rise in the number of people with diabetes, and this will inevitably have an impact on employers as the proportion of the workforce with the condition also increases.

Diabetes UK data shows that more than 4.3 million people in the UK live with diabetes. Additionally, 850,000 people could be living with diabetes who are yet to be diagnosed.

4 tips for businesses – What can businesses do?

1. Download and share the guide to support someone with diabetes at work.

2. Raise awareness of the diabetes health checks that are vital for living healthy for those with diabetes. For more information on these health checks see What diabetes care to expect | Diabetes UK.

3. Diabetes has an impact on emotional wellbeing as well as physical. Access and complete the Making Every Contact Count (MECC) module on emotional health and wellbeing to support yourself and colleagues. Visit Wandsworth MECC training to find out more.

4. Utilise the Wandsworth’s Diabetes Workplace Wellbeing resource. Businesses can use this to help raise awareness and plan activities in the workplace throughout the year.

Find out more:

To find out more about healthy workplaces Wandsworth and for further resources check the council webpage

Scan the QR to access Wandsworth Healthy Workplaces!

A special thank you to our partners for their ongoing support.

Business Connexions | 29
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Houston Lawrence: Pioneering Workplace Health and Wellbeing

At Houston Lawrence, we are committed to fostering a work environment that prioritises the health and happiness of our team. Here is a closer look at the initiatives and activities that make Houston Lawrence a leader in workplace wellness.

Promoting an Active Lifestyle

We believe that a healthy team is a happy team. To encourage physical activity, we have implemented several initiatives. Our bike-2work scheme promotes cycling as a healthy, eco-friendly commute option. Additionally, we organise walk-and-talk sessions and monthly wellbeing walks, allowing team members to step away from their desks, enjoy the outdoors, and brainstorm ideas in a relaxed setting. These activities not only boost physical health but also enhance creativity and team bonding.

Flexible and Supportive Work Environment

Flexibility is a cornerstone of our work culture. To help our team start their day with a balanced mindset, we allow a 10am start once a week for a mindful moment. We also encourage mixing up our work environment by working from clients’ buildings. We have found that a simple change of scenery increases productivity and creativity. Our office is designed to promote movement and comfort, featuring stand-up desks and breakout areas. Nearby walking paths along the River Thames and Wandsworth Park offer perfect spots for a refreshing stroll, further supporting physical and mental wellbeing.

Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for overall wellbeing. To help our team wind down and start their weekends on a positive note, we have instituted a policy of finishing work at 4 pm on Fridays. This early finish allows our team to beat rush hour traffic and enjoy a

longer weekend, leading to higher satisfaction and reduced stress levels.

Investing in Fitness and Wellness

Our commitment to health extends to providing top-notch fitness facilities. We have transformed part of our office into a mini gym, making it easy for team members to fit in a workout during the day. We also collaborate with local fitness and gym businesses to offer lunchtime fitness classes that are both fun and energizing. These sessions help maintain high energy levels and boost team morale.

Mental Health Support

Mental health is a significant focus at Houston Lawrence. We have partnered with organisations such as Samaritans to host workshops and provide support and resources.

Community and Sustainability Initiatives

Our dedication to wellbeing extends beyond our office. In May, we proudly partnered with London National Park City as the main sponsor for London Walking Week. This initiative aims to make cities greener, healthier, and wilder, reflecting our commitment to sustainability and community health.

Looking Ahead

As we gear up for our team triathlon this month, we remain dedicated to our journey of promoting health and wellbeing. The enthusiasm and commitment of our team ensure that Houston Lawrence is not just a workplace but a community where health and happiness are paramount.

In conclusion, Houston Lawrence is dedicated to creating an environment where the health and wellbeing of our team members are actively supported. Through a range of innovative activities and a flexible, supportive work culture, we are setting a new standard for workplace wellness.

Our commitment to health extends to providing topnotch fitness facilities. We have transformed part of our office into a mini gym, making it easy for team members to fit in a workout during the day.

Business Connexions | 31

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u Bourne Fitness

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85 Putney High Street

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AFC Wimbledon Plough Lane

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32 | Business Connexions Whether you are part of a large organisation or work from an office at home, there are many good reasons for joining the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. As the business hub of Wandsworth, your Chamber is influential in helping to create the right business environment for local companies to flourish. Through membership you have the ability to use our “business voice”, the opportunity to meet key stakeholders, network and do business with many other local businesses that you won’t find anywhere else. So, do it now, online, and start enjoying the many benefits on offer. For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at: Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce 020 3633 6575
WELCOME to new
New Members
Find us on the Chamber Directory:

Starting UP

Q1 In a few words tell us a bit about your business?

Located on Putney High Street, Octagreen offers delicious and healthy options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Our diverse menu caters to meat eaters, vegans, vegetarians, and seafood lovers. Enjoy our fresh juices, specialty coffee, and Savory dishes. We also provide catering for any occasion, including corporate events. At Octagreen, we ensure all dietary needs are met, making us the perfect one-stop restaurant for everyone.

Q2 What gives your business ‘the x-factor’?

Octagreen’s X-factor lies in its commitment to providing a diverse and inclusive menu that caters to all dietary preferences, ensuring everyone can enjoy delicious and healthy meals. Additionally, Octagreen offers these high-quality, tasty options at affordable prices, making it easy for patrons to maintain a healthy diet without breaking the bank.

Q3 What motivated you to set up in business?

The motivation behind setting up Octagreen stemmed from a realisation during COVID that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial, yet many healthy options available were prohibitively expensive. This inspired us to create a place where the best ingredients are used to craft delicious and nutritious meals at reasonable prices. At Octagreen, we believe in bringing together all food lovers—whether they prefer meat, vegan, vegetarian, or seafood options—at the same table to enjoy high-quality, affordable meals.

Q4 What do you like most about working as a start-up?

What I like most about working as a start-up with Octagreen is the blend of challenges and rewards. Despite the hurdles, we receive abundant praise from our patrons, love from the local community, and growing recognition for our business. This support fuels our passion and commitment to providing healthy, tasty, and affordable meals for everyone.

Our greatest success at Octagreen has been receiving abundant love from local patrons and securing many big corporate clients for their regular meetings.

Q5 What has been your greatest business success to date?

Our greatest success at Octagreen has been receiving abundant love from local patrons and securing many big corporate clients for their regular meetings. We have been honoured as the Best Commended Restaurant by Time & Leisure Food and Culture Awards and ranked in the Top 35 out of over 15,000 restaurants on TripAdvisor. Additionally, we have excellent reviews and positions on Google and were awarded Best Customer Service by Positive Putney.

Q6 What has been your lowest moment?

Fortunately, we haven’t faced any low moments at Octagreen. Our dedicated staff love working with us and stay unless they move on to different career paths. Their commitment and enthusiasm have contribute to our continued success and positive atmosphere.

Q7 In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years?

In the next five years, we aim to expand Octagreen nationally, bringing healthy and tasty food at budget-friendly prices to communities across the country. We have already started this journey with weekly market stands in Baker Street, Victoria, Southside Shopping Centre (Thursday to Sunday), Barns Farmers Market (Saturdays), and Wimbledon Village Farmers Market (Sundays).

Q8 What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business?

My top tip for starting your own business is to have patience and believe in your vision. Prioritise honesty and focus on creating happy customers, as their satisfaction will drive your success.

Business Connexions | 33 Starting Up
DIPU SAHA Octagreen Restaurant ❛❛

Q1 Who are you?

minutes with ...


Tooting Community Kitchen

Hey, my name is Ollie, I am one of the trustees and treasurer at Tooting Community Kitchen (TCK).

Originally from France, I moved over here over 32 years ago, I’m a chef and worked in Michelin star restaurants most of my career and am now executive head chef at Hilton Bankside hotel.

Helping others and bringing a little joy and happiness to people in my hood has always been something I have been passionate about from a young age. My mum and aunt who are both turning 80 soon still do it back home!

Q2 What’s your business all about?

We are a charity based in Tooting helping homeless people and those in need.

We operate a food bank, food stalls, soup kitchen, an arts & craft club as well as looking after families and doing home deliveries whenever we can.

TCK started in 2018 as a couple of tables on Tooting the high street serving hot food and drinks and now is an registered charity (CIO) and registered food business.

Q3 Three words to describe yourself?

Passionate / tenacious / loyal.

Q4 Our guests

Our guest mostly live in the Wandsworth and Merton boroughs. Elderly people living on their own, homeless, families and individuals struggling to make ends meet people who just people need a little help and someone to talk to or hang out with. Sadly with the current crisis we have seen the numbers grow and see new faces all the time.

Q5 Biggest achievement?

Professionally: being involved in achieving Michelin stars, going through 5 restaurant openings and working with some of the best chefs in London.


Drama, sewing, embroidery, knitting and much more

Mondays, 11.30am -3.30pm

Scout’s Hall, 19 Church Lane, Tooting SW179PP

Light lunch and refreshments from our Rebel cooks and Bakers


Wednesdays and Saturdays

Set up 5.30pm, serving from 6pm

Outside Tooting Islamic Centre, 145 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7TJ

Saturdays set up 7.30pm, serving from 8pm Venn Street, Clapham Common

Personally: being part of TCK, I couldn’t imagine my life without our guests in it. When I see them with smiles on their faces, it just warms my heart so much. Our kids are involved, we do it as a family!

Last but not least, being a TCK Rebel! Our way of rebelling against homelessness and being people being left behind.

Q6 Biggest gripe?

People who don’t care and turn a blind eye. Who are we as human beings if we can help each other and care a little for one another? It takes very little to bring a little joy and happiness into someone’s life.

Q7 Your inspiration?

Definitely my mum and my aunt who both worked together for 40 years building a small hotel / restaurant in a small village in France from ground up. I spent a lot of my childhood there and did a 5 year apprenticeship!

Their motto, “if you do something, do it properly with love and care or don’t do it” (They may have added a couple of colourful words every now again…)

Q8 Philosophy in Business?

Passion, love and care. Do it with a smile. Make people happy and let them leave with a smile.

Q9 Sporting Hero, actually music hero?

Jerry Garcia from The Grateful Dead, it’s all about peace and love!

Q10 Biggest tip for success?

Do it properly or don’t do it. Give your best / never give up. Keep the creative juices flowing / don’t stand still / how can I be better? Standards, it’s always about standards!

Both Facebook / Instagram: @olliecouillaud @tootingcommunitykitchen


Wednesdays, 1pm – 3.30pm

Scout’s Hall, 19 Church Lane, Tooting SW179PP

3 course meal, hot drinks, sweet treats, board games, singing, dancing and all sorts….


Fridays, 8am - 10.30am (Collections only)

Scout’s Hall, 19 Church Lane, Tooting SW179PP

Saturdays 3pm - 5pm (donations only)

104 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EN

Walk up Price Close past the Halal fruits and veg Centre

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