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If you perceive something the wrong way then a large part of the responsibility for that rests with you: it’s your job to change incorrect perceptions. Looking from the outside IN, is incredibly important. REAL STORIES ABOUT REAL PEOPLE IN BUSINESS


Stories H D C C

No ads. No clutter.

Harlow Stories Magazine is created by Magnificent Stuff

Issue o4

Hello When we took on this magazine back in the autumn last year we had big ideas and huge aspirations for it. We knew what we didn’t want it to look and feel like and we had a plan to take it

How you’re perceived in business can make or break the biggest enterprise


October 2017

from the title it was back then! After three issues of working with a great team at PDT Design we continue along our journey and have struck up a new partnership with Harlow Business Award finalists MW Studio. MW bring with them a wealth of experience working on titles for Claridge’s and H.R. Owen to name a few of their clients. MW Studio are specialists in magazine and editorial layouts and we’re sure you’ll agree that the magazine is evolving and, in line with our PERCEPTION theme, is looking great and going from strength to strength.

Produced with thanks to: Magnificent Stuff Content & Production MW Studio Design & Layout

We chose ‘Perception’ as a theme as we have learnt a lot this year about positioning, presentation and how important having a decent reputation amongst employees, customers and competition alike actually is. As always we love to receive feedback from readers and any ideas and suggestions to help us spread the Stories messages are gratefully received! We hope you enjoy the read and love the new look and feel of the magazine.

BMS Mailing & Fulfilment Cover image: with thanks to Craig Fordham www.craigfordham // www.theidlepicture With thanks to Chris Carpenter of LOQII for his support

Steve and Emma @Magnificent Stuff

H D C C 1

HDCC Noticeboard

Welcome Welcome to this edition of the Harlow & District Chamber of Commerce magazine. We have received a lot of positive feedback. Thanks to everyone who took the time to tell us what they thought. The 2017 Harlow Business Awards launched on April 6th, nominations closed at the end of June There are 8 categories again this year. The finalists can be seen on our website. Many thanks to our Sponsors:


Small Business



New Business


Website/Social Media


Young Person


Medium/Large Business


Customer Care


Employer of the Year

By the time you read this the winners will have been chosen. The Awards will be presented at the Manor of Groves on October 5th. There are still a few places available. Tickets (£40 a head) can be purchased by emailing We are keen to attract more local organisations to the Chamber of Commerce. With over 200 members, we are ideally placed to introduce people in the business, voluntary, education and public sectors to each other. Details of our monthly meetings and some other local events can be found on our website calendar.

IAN HUDSON General Manager, Harlow & District Chamber of Commerce Tel: 07817 778870


Join the HDCC! The Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce is where local business, public sector, education and voluntary communities come together for mutual benefit. Joining is a great opportunity to increase awareness of your organisation, find out what’s happening in Harlow and to get to know and understand local businesses. You’ll also get to meet business owners and people in all sectors. If you are not sure about joining the HDCC why not come along to a meeting to experience what we are all about? We welcome visitors and you will be able to network with other Harlow businesses (bring along plenty of business cards). The application form can be found at join-the-hdcc



New Chamber Members MGM Clinics Physiotherapy and Sports MASSAGE

Miguel Martinez

Fold Packaging Solutions PACKAGING

Chris Donnelly


Hannah Grenfell


Dear Sir, I really enjoyed the last edition of Stories. I am very glad that you’re highlighting local charities and good causes through your CSER pages. I’ve been a member of HDCC for a year now and I appreciate the way that the Chamber brings businesses and the community together so actively. May I also say that I find the regular HDCC networking meetings excellent – they have certainly been beneficial to me and my business, and I urge other members to come along to the meetings. Yours truly,

Faye Brownjohn Poletrain Fitness

Linus Gomes


Mark O’Neil

Heritage Staffing Services RECRUITMENT

Elizabeth Onyechere

CWOATA Dear Steve and Emma, Thanks very much for the feature on Harry and I in the last edition (although not too sure about my picture☺). Out of interest, since the last issue we have officially launched and business is looking really promising. Best regards

Lee Secret Quote


Ricky Harrison


Lenny Wood

Essex Smiles Having read every copy of Stories so far, I have been pleasantly surprised at how informative it is without being boring. The articles are not only interesting but relevant to the area I live in and my business. The no adverts policy is also very refreshing. Someone asked me recently why I was a member of HDCC and my answer was simply that it makes me feel more involved in my local area and gives me many different chances to network, which for me is essential as that’s where the majority of my business comes from. Having the magazine is just an added bonus.


Cane Wheatley

Kirth Noel Photography and Film PHOTOGRAPHY & FILMS

Kirth Noel

Lisa Dellow A Virtual Presence Online Business Support


Dear Reader I was delighted to be elected Chairman of the Education Select Committee earlier this summer. I have always been passionate about Education, being the first ever MP to hire a full time parliamentary apprentice, successfully campaigning for free school meals to be extended to college students and regularly reading Narnia at Primary schools around Harlow to encourage literacy.   Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon MP Working hard for Harlow, Hastingwood, Matching, Nazeing, Roydon and Sheering & Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee

I will be focusing the Committee’s work on Social Justice and productivity, to make sure that both individuals and our country get the most out of our education system. If we help individuals to reach their potential then we create a more productive work force and ultimately everyone benefits from this. To me, education is a ladder of opportunity. I believe it is the job of Government to support learners to climb it and ensure that everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to get a quality education, develop their skills, progress in their careers, and achieve prosperity and security for their future.   I have seen first-hand some remarkable work and examples of best practice at Harlow schools and Harlow College. They are doing a fantastic job of helping our young people to get the skills and jobs they need for the future.   We have some really exciting things happening in Harlow at the moment, including the arrival of Public Health England and the development of our Enterprise Zone. They are creating thousands of skilled jobs but what is important is that they go to Harlow residents. This will happen if we give people the skills and training that they need. This is why education is so important, particularly to Harlow.  

Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon MP


Business Networking At Harlow Stories we continue to be massive advocates of business Networking and would highly recommend

Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce > The HDCC promote

a number of events throughout Harlow: For more information, contact us on 01279 271104.

Harlow BNI > Meets every

Wednesday at the Park Inn Hotel at 6:30 for a 7am start. BNI networking follows a strict agenda designed to maximise results – a formula that has proven itself over many years. If interested please contact Robin Stretton at

Harlow Professionals > Meets on the last Friday of the month at the Park Inn Hotel. This is an informal meeting with no need to book – just turn up with loads of business cards and enjoy the (free) lunch with other Harlow professionals.

WIBN Harlow > Women in

Business Networking meets at Miller and Carter in Harlow. This women-only event meets at midday one Tuesday each month. More information can be found at

The Queen’s Head Networking Group > Meets

(surprisingly enough) at the Queen’s Head Public House in Churchgate Street on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Friendly group with no fees to pay (only your drinks and meal if you chose to have one). Contact Mark Dradey at

it to all. Please bare in mind though, that with the exception of The Chamber, a number of the groups below operate a ‘one member per business type’ policy, so it’s always best to make contact before turning up. Remember to always take business cards. A lot of these groups will have ‘Power Teams’ or similar groups, where members of related industries work and communicate closely together. It’s often worth getting to know these people in the group most closely associated to your industry.

Just outside of Harlow… Stansted Business >

Breakfast included here as a number of Harlow-based businesses are involved. Informal and friendly networking group, meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Stansted Airport every second Friday at 7am. Contact Eric Chorley on 01279 324837.

BeCollaboration >

Run by Harlow based business owner, Jill Tiney, BeCollaboration meets around London, Herts, Essex and Surrey. For more information visit

Recommended: Meetup & Eventbrite >

These are fantastic resources for info on the latest and closest events, they even select relevant gatherings based on your personal interests.

Facebook > An odd concept for

a recommendation for business networking but a couple of groups do stand out, notably Networking Herts and Essex groups/NetworkingHertsandEssex/ and Networking Cambridgeshire networkingcambridge/, both of which avoid advertising and are run by the marvelous Kim Wallis. If you would like to list an event or business networking opportunity in the next issue of Stories please get in touch:


P ER C E P T IO N S The way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted

Full Empty Bold, creative decisions stem from the often-overlooked ingredient in your business - perception.


ONDERING IF THIS TRUE? EVER gone on a hunch or followed your gut feel? Most entrepreneurs will sit there nodding but it’s not just the business owners that will go out on a limb from time to time. People will often look at what is in front of them, assess that information, consider history to validate trends and the potential returns from any opportunity and then make a decision. If you are nodding whilst reading that last sentence then you have already embraced perception, that quality which is intangible in nature and tough to measure.


But is it good for rood business health? Well the other end of the scale is data, measurement and evidence-based decisions. Is it possible to go wrong with sound logic?

Next time the data hits the spreadsheets perhaps it’s time to get an outsiders perspective and check if you would have made the same decisions if the data weren’t available.

Research tells us that over confidence to base decisions on evidence can mean rushing over the details on the way to possible failure, possibly something in the static nature of cold, hard data versus the imperfect human experience. Perhaps the answer is balance but do embrace your perceptions.

If this alters your decisions then you’ve altered your perceptions, embraced creativity and your world will alter too.

Ed Pearson Entrepreneurs Network

Be ‘Enormous’


N GENERAL TERMS ALL COMPANIES aim to position themselves at the top of their chosen industry. Not always - think Poundland and 99p Stores etc but in general. No one wants to position their business in the middle, of course: ‘John’s Motors – We’re Not That Bad!’ or ‘Magnificent Stuff – We’re Not As Crap As The Other Guys!’ There are of course, lots of ways to position your self in the marketplace, but the most important three are: 1. Tell your potential customers how great you are (good) 2. Get other people to tell your potential customers how great you are (better) 3. Write a book about how great you are, which you can then wave about at networking meetings and brag about in

creds documents and other marketing. Now, it might be true that everyone has a book in them, but let’s be frank; we’re not going to be writing a book any time soon. Most of us haven’t got enough time to write a memo, let alone a book and the majority of business owners can’t write a 300 blog post without cringing with embarrassment about how awful they think it is. So that leaves us with numbers 1 and 2, and we have very little control over the second, so we are left with having to be letting people know that our business is wonderful… ourselves. Now the methods by which we chose to do this (digitally, traditionally etc.) are almost irrelevant here – it’s the message itself that’s important. We need to be seen as the company or brand that customers want to be associated

Much of life is about perception, particularly when you’re in business


OMEONE’S PERCEPTION OF you can dramatically change your chances of doing business with them. When I started my business, I called myself a Virtual Assistant, but that’s a term I rarely use now. Firstly, because although there are thousands of us across the globe there are still a vast number of people who have no idea what a Virtual Assistant does. Secondly, amongst those who do understand the concept, there are some who might think I’m a glorified data clerk, and why pay my hourly rate when they could employ someone remotely from a third world country for a quarter of the price that I charge? So, I now tend to refer to my business as ‘Business Support’ because that’s what I do, I support other businesses. It may be proofreading their documents, writing their blogs or taking minutes at their meetings, and yes sometimes it does involve inputting

data into spreadsheets, but there is so much more to it than that. I build a rapport with my clients, I care about their businesses, we speak the same language, and more importantly, they know they can trust me. I am security checked to BS7858, I hold their passwords, their credit card details and very sensitive details about their own clients. I am a business owner myself; I understand the importance of all these things. But at the same time, it’s my responsibility to educate people so that their perception of my business and me is not a wild misconception. If people perceive me as one thing, and I’m quite another then a large part of the responsibility for that rests with me, it’s my job to change their incorrect perceptions. Lisa Dellow A Virtual Presence Online Business Support

with, the company or brand that your competitors don’t want you to be. As a very famous marketer said recently at a CIM conference: ‘Be BIG, Be BRAVE, Be SEXY, Be ADVENTUROUS.’ As a much less famous marketer is wont to say: ‘Be ENORMOUS’. Remember, people continue to buy from people – we need to position ourselves in such a way that they buy from us. And do it now before your competitors do. Steve Magnificent Stuff

Being ‘Social’


OU ONLY HAVE TO SCROLL through your Facebook feed to get a decent understanding of how important Perception is. Friends who always seem to be on holiday, a day trip and living life to the full versus those who seem to write lots of cryptic messages and share the more negative or disparaging content. Whether you know them well or not it gives you a really good perception about them, you come to your own conclusion and it’s the same in business… how you are perceived on the outside allows people to make assumptions and draw conclusions about you in business. Be smart about what you post online about your business and about you. Perception – looking from the outside IN, is incredibly important. Emma Magnificent Stuff


Positioning is everything AS MY SON WILL TELL YOU, MY KNOWLEDGE OF FOOTBALL IS miniscule. However – even I know that most footballers play at their best in a certain position which suits their innate skills. The old fashioned ‘multi-purpose’ player who could seamlessly deputise in defense, midfield or attack is a rarity - the tactical perfection demanded by the modern game requires an ingrained knowledge of each role and the skills to acquit it faultlessly. As is often the case, sport and business parallel each other. If a client – or prospective client – has a specific problem, they will naturally seek and expert in that field because: a) They believe their problem is unique b) They believe that an expert will have solutions that a generalist will not c) They believe that a specialist will offer the greatest chance of success For these reasons, you are more likely to get hired if you can credibly claim expert status. The skill is to do so without pigeonholing yourself into oblivion. Be honest about your strengths Old-fashioned British reserve tends to frown upon extravagant claims of expertise, believing self-aggrandisement to be vulgar. Author Lewis Carroll famously said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. ....”. There is much truth in that, but given the frenetic pace of modern business, waiting for our hidden attributes to be recognised by the masses might be a long and fruitless wait. Dissembling comes at the cost of failing to recognise (and be recognised for) the skills which we have unknowingly accrued over the years. If you are good at something – or have masses of relevant experience – then recognise it, specify exactly what you are an expert in, and begin to (modestly) tell people via your marketing collateral, online or in person. Even better – get others to write testimonials and recommendations. That removes the embarrassment of blowing your own trumpet, but carries vastly more weight with listeners. Talk the talk Do you have an elevator pitch? When people ask what you do, do you begin by saying “I am an expert in …?” If not, start small, but start now. Stories work best – they are easily remembered (do you still remember nursery rhymes and fairy tales from nursery?) and portable – they get retold, which spreads your expertise beyond your immediate circle. The tried-and-tested formula for stories is: a) ABC had a problem. b) The implications of not solving this problem were XYZ. c) Luckily, ABC contacted me. d) I did ??? which solved their problem. e) The benefit to ABC was XYZ. Walk the talk If you hold yourself out as an expert, ensure that your online presence supports that claim. Whereas the “mad professor” persona (unwashed hair, non-matching socks etc) goes down a storm in academia, the business world generally prefers its experts to look as expected. Ensure your website and social media displays only professionally taken headshots, not a cropped selfie from a Faliraki foam party. Explain concisely and clearly what area you are expert in, if necessary explaining what benefit this delivers to your clients. Most importantly - give supporting evidence to back up these claims – again, testimonials, case histories and references are vital. Steve Godfrey Local Business Specialist



RINKING ON ROOF TOPS AT SUNSET in a locale that could be anywhere from Hackney to Brooklyn; giving what looks like a TED talk to an audience of rapt-looking attractive young people or participating in some cool new form of exercise that doesn’t take place in a gym, because that’s for the drones. All these tropes (sometimes all at once) have been used to sell everything from cars to tech to soft drinks. The product is interchangeable because these days brands aren’t interested in selling specifics, they are out to sell an experience. In recent years, we’ve moved away from adverts featuring the product front and centre and into a more experiential way of communicating – focusing on the user experience above all else. Before you start thinking that this sounds like some woolly millennial speak consider that, according to a study by the Design Management Institute those brands, such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Ford, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks and Disney, that were user-experience design driven outperformed the S&P 500 (the American stock market index based on the market capitalisation of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ) by 228% over the last 10 years. To understand why more companies are shifting to a user-experience design led way of thinking, you need to look at how social media platforms have transformed the way brands are perceived both by themselves and by the wider public.


Social media conversations are changing the way brands are perceived but that doesn’t mean you’ve relinquished wall control, as Mark Welby finds out.

Seth Godin, American entrepreneur, author and marketer, who founded a site called Yoyodyne which launched in 1995, and, in what seems like a foreseeing of this new way of marketing, used contests, online games, and scavenger hunts to market companies to participating users has redefined what a brand is, describing it as “a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships”. Before the rise of social media those facets were controlled by the brands themselves, however thanks to the ability to share and discuss information instantly, a brand’s perception has been democratised, with the customer’s opinion of what a brand is having more import than that of the company itself. Value judgements about products or services can now come from myriad different conversations across platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram and these dialogues, thanks to the way in which people are more likely rely on the opinions of their peers, come to form the way the brand is viewed in a wider context. The most successful brands are the ones that have realised that only way to stay on top is to analyse these social conversations using social media monitoring companies, such as Brandwatch, to track positive or negative spikes in conversation and working out what the triggers are. The best social media listening companies will also segment by such factors as gender, profession, age or interests.

It was this type of monitoring that Argos used to see how popular a rollout of digital-only stores was, with the traditional catalogues being replaced with iPads. It discovered that Londoners were happier about the digital stores but complained about queuing, whereas people in the North of England were positive about human interaction and great customer service. This knowledge allowed Argos to tailor its experience regionally, positively reinforcing its brand perception among local customers. Knowledge of this kind is all very well, but it needs to be transmuted across all levels of a company from its digital presence to its offline experience, which is where the concept of being “design-led” comes into play. This doesn’t simply mean making things look pretty, it refers to “design thinking” or having an eye on the overall customer experience and ensuring it is consistent across all touchpoints. The emphasis here is definitely on experience. Brands talk about making “delight” a key performance indicator – making sure the company is focused on, and measured by, delivering an experience that is positively surprising, intuitive and joyful. This might sound like basing a profit line on fairy dust but it is merely a shift of focus from product to people, ensuring you consider at every level how someone feels when they buy into your brand.

However, this user-experience design-led way of thinking has to be authentic to work and the best way of ensuring that is by making it part of the company philosophy. An oft-repeated example of this in action comes from President John F Kennedy’s visit to the NASA space centre in 1962. According to reports, when Kennedy went over to the janitor and asked him what he was doing the man replied: “Well, Mr President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.” This notion of complete involvement in a company’s goals whatever your position is born out in a different way at Apple where every employee is apparently responsible for thinking about user experience and design and how it can be improved, not just the design team. The focus on experience is set at a cultural level, which means that, when it is projected to the consumer it feels authentic, not forced. At its most basic, what this comes down to is the notion that if the experience a customer receives delights them then they will become unwitting advocates for your brand, communicating your positive message through whatever social media channels they engage with. All you need to do is find a group of attractive people and a rooftop somewhere and start filming. Mark Welby MW Studio


Hidden Gems

originally the kitchen gardens for Mark Hall and the famous families who lived there. The Museum buildings themselves are enchanting and it’s also possible to enjoy a picnic in the superb 16th Century Walled Gardens. The team of volunteers do a fantastic job of caring for and developing the three main gardens and many rare and unusual species can be found here.  A ‘Listening Bench’ is being installed in the grounds, where it will be possible to sit, rest and listen to recorded memories of Harlow residents through in-built speakers. Imminent events for 2017 include: B183




Harlow Museum and walled gardens


HERE IS A MISCONCEPTION THAT life in Harlow began in 1947 with Sir Frederick Gibberd.

Harlow was listed in the Domesday Book with the mention of St Edmund’s Abbey and Mill– now a 300-year-old restaurant and listed building. The original village, developed as a typical rural community around what is now known as Old Harlow, and many of its buildings are still standing. This includes the Grade II listed St Mary’s Church in Churchgate Street and Its former Chapel in a field.


The chapel is Grade I listed and is a scheduled ancient monument. Life continued in Old Harlow and the outer parishes, hamlets and villages throughout the medieval and Post-medieval periods. The Museum itself is located in the former Mark Hall stables, linked with the Mark Hall Manor House – which had many distinguished occupants, dating back to the Norman Conquest. Queen Elizabeth I and her retinue visited the great house on three occasions. It is surrounded by the beautiful Walled Gardens which were

Saturday 16th September 2017: Listening bench exhibition launch event for Harlow’s 70th ‘Why They Came’ project Wednesday 20th September 2017 4pm-7pm: History cluster meeting for local primary school teachers Sunday 15th-28th October 2017: Passchendaele WW1 exhibition Harlow Museum is an oasis of tranquillity, a research centre, a family day out and much more besides. It’s located on Muskham Road (CM20 2LF) and truly is a Hidden Gem! Tel: 01279 454 959





in Par


Rd ill eH Ry

Parndon Wood



VER 10% OF THE LAND ACROSS Harlow is recognised as important wildlife habitats of countywide importance. These sites include many woodlands, meadows, ponds, marshes and river valley habitats. One of the most popular is Parndon Wood Nature Reserve, situated on Parndon Wood Road, CM19 4SF. Run by ECCO, Parndon Wood is one of the finest parks in the country and has received the prestigious Green Flag award for nine consecutive years. Green Flag Awards recognise and reward the best parks in the country.

The wood has been recorded as ‘woodland’ for at least 900 years and therefore can be termed as “ancient”. The site was turned into a Local Nature Reserve and in 1974 and designated a Special Site for Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its flora and value as an educational resource. It is composed of a canopy of oak tree standards with hornbeam trees growing beneath. These have traditionally been coppiced (cut down to the base and allowed to grow up again) every 10-15 years to make use of the timber. This practice is still carried out to keep a diversity of habitats within the woodland and increase the number of species to be found.

Get involved! Pardon Wood and Harlow’s Biodiversity Team are always on the look out for volunteers and backing from local businesses. This can be through joining one of our three teams of practical conservation volunteers: • Wildspace Volunteers meet every Tuesday at Parndon Wood Nature Reserve from 10am to 1pm. • Greenteam Volunteers meet every Wednesday from 10am to 3pm at various sites across Harlow. • Harlow Conservation Volunteers meet every other Sunday from 10am to 3pm across the town. Training in the safe use of tools is given and tea and biscuits are provided! Get fit in the great outdoors, socialise and have fun while helping to maintain and improve our wildlife sites across Harlow. With all the groups there is no obligation to turn up for every task or stay for the full number of hours. Opportunities are also available for corporate groups and team building days, for people with mental/ physical health conditions and youth volunteering. Groups are also able to make use of the facilities (such as using the conservation centre at Parndon Wood) for training courses and meetings. Sponsorship opportunities for Pardon and other community groups are available to raise your business profile. For further information please get in touch with Patrick Bailly, Landscape and Biodiversity Officer. Email: Tel: 01279 446 877



Harlow Enterprise Zone Development work continues at some pace at Kao Park. The structure of the first of four data centre buildings is now complete, with the internal fit out work being undertaken through the autumn.


T WILL COMPLETE ON SCHEDULE IN DECEMBER OF this year and be fully operational providing data storage requirements to a wide range of clients. Interest is strong and discussions are already under way about commencing the construction of the second building due to the level of demand.

Power supplies will be brought to the site by UK Power Solutions via a new supply from the Howard Way sub-station to be delivered between October and December of this year. The new cables will be laid along the Netteswell Lane cycle track and then in the verge of the A414 to prevent any additional road works in the area.

Pearson moved into the Kao Two office building in July and leases are nearing completion with two other tenants for that building and it is expected that they will also move in before Christmas. This will mean that the office development at Kao Park will be more than 80% occupied.

Part of the infrastructure work will include the delivery of fibre optic cable to the site. This will become one of the significant advantages that the Harlow Science Park will have, in that it is the intention to provide an Ultra Fast Full Fibre Service to each building. This will mean dedicated fibre, rather than shared fibre, for each tenant enabling speeds of 1GB and potentially more than that. The presence of the data centre development at Kao Park will also attract a wide range of fibre providers and so the Science Park will be able to offer both high internet speeds and, ultimately, a wide choice of provider.

Following the completion of the main access road to the Harlow Science Park in April, the remainder of the infrastructure work on the site will commence at the end of September. This will include a north-south spine road and the delivery of electricity, gas, water and telecoms supplies. This work will continue until January and will ensure that the 25 acre site is fully serviced by then. Jacksons have been appointed as the main contractor for this work having already delivered the main Link Road.

The first buildings are now due to commence construction in the New Year with 2018 then seeing significant physical progress on the site. For further information and contact details see



Our working age population (ages 16-64) is 54,200 which is 63% of the total population – this is the same as the national average. The proportion of the towns working age population that is economically active is 86% - higher than the Great Britain proportion which is 78%.




* working ages 16-64





The number of employee jobs in Harlow in 2015 was 41,000, an increase of 4,000 on the number in 2011.




2,415 UP TO 9

small employees businesses each Of the 2,750 businesses in Harlow, 2,415 employ up to 9 people each.


manufacturing jobs of all employees

From Aeroplane components to asthma pumps – we are still making stuff in Harlow. There are 3,500 manufacturing jobs in the town. 8.5% of all employee jobs this is slightly higher that the national proportion of jobs in manufacturing.

5. SCHOOLS ARE THRIVING All of Harlow’s secondary or specialist schools are graded good or outstanding by Ofsted and performance is at or above averages in virtually all key primary phase measures. Key Stage 2 writing performance is among the highest of all districts in Essex. The performance of disadvantaged pupils at both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 is another success with Harlow pupils above the Essex and England average. (Education in Harlow – 2016 District Profile by Essex County Council)


above average

Below: Science Park building (artist’s impression)


With thanks to Julie Houston and Neil Churchill at Harlow Council. 13


Over 1 million British children are growing up in Domestic Abuse Households. 75% of teenage girls have already experienced Domestic Abuse in a relationship. 84% believe they are to blame*

F Strength With In Me Foundation (S.W.I.M) is a Harlow-based Domestic Abuse charity

OUNDED BY HARLOW LOCAL and Domestic Abuse survivor, Dr Diahanne Rhiney who travels the world speaking out about Domestic Abuse and young girls; she and her team have been working, campaigning, seeking support from MPs and forming an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to have healthy relationships taught as compulsory in all UK schools. Now that the government has finally implemented this crucial change, S.W.I.M are busy working to instil the next generation with the education to avoid toxic relationships. The charity has garnered public support including an endorsement from Domestic Abuse survivor and Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon. It also boasts leading social influencer Kenny Imafidon amongst it’s charity Ambassadors. The overarching aim of S.W.I.M’s workshops is to raise awareness and encourage young girls to take responsibility for their wellbeing and make healthy relationship choices.


S.W.I.M sensitively tackle the controversial area of Domestic Abuse and relationships using a combination of imaginatively designed and age-appropriate interactive role-plays and open forum discussions. They also work to ‘smash the taboo’ of Domestic Abuse amongst young people via their national and global campaigns. Notably, their global campaign #CanYouHearUsNow achieved a social reach of over 800,000 people in its first three hours. For information and assistance or to book a workshop at your school, centre or college contact:  Website: Twitter: @SWIM_DV@DIAHANNEUK Email: Tel: +44 (0) 203 474 0123 Charity Registration Number: 1165152

*Statistics from NSPCC, Refuge & Bernardo’s

We all know how important is for organisations to have a healthy workforce. Each year in the UK 91 million working days are lost due to mental ill health

Mind in West Essex


IND IN WEST ESSEX ARE A mental health partner that aims to provide practical and useful services for anyone feeling the effects of mental health problems. As well as providing information and support they also offer private counselling, training, bereavement advice and support, advice into schools, fundraising and a befriending scheme entitled ‘reducing loneliness’. The 10th October is World Mental Health Day and each year there is a different theme. In 2017 the theme is Workplace Wellbeing for Mind in West Essex are inviting companies to host a ‘Talking Tea Party’ to get the conversations moving, open the culture within their organisation and to raise vital funds for their local mental health charity.

They are offering a 10% discount to anyone taking part in their ‘Managing Work and Life Stress’ half-day course. More details can be found on their website. With mental health in the workplace a very topical issue, Alison Wilson, CEO of Mind In West Essex said: “We all know how important is for organisations to have a healthy workforce. Each year in the UK 91 million working days are lost due to mental ill health. Hosting a Talking Tea Party is a great way to let your workforce know that your organisation is open to talking about mental health and supporting your local mental health charity in the process.” Tel: +44 (0) 1371 876 641



FAYE BROWNJOHN Pole Train Fitness


HERE’S NO DOUBT THAT POLE has a reputation, for some people it conjures up less than salubrious images. But what most people don’t realise is the enormous amount of skill, strength and dedication that pole fitness training as a sport, actually demands. Nor the sense of achievement or the incredible camaraderie and fun that takes place at the classes. Faye Brownjohn began her working career as a trainer, a job she began after leaving school and continued in for 8 years becoming a fully qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer (‘I loved it – particularly the teaching elements’). After a six month travelling break she returned and took on a more traditional, 9-5 job as a Project Manager in contract publishing. Faye says: “I was 36, with two children and working full-time. I understood how easily people get swallowed up with life, forgetting about themselves and losing their identity. This is what I wanted to change. If I had the chance to share the buzz I got, not just from pole fitness, but from exercise in general, then I had a chance to make people feel more confident and stronger in themselves.” ...And so in September 2013 Pole Train Fitness was born! Faye admits to being nervous at first but had support from her husband and family who helped to support her entrepreneurial spirit. “I realised how much I missed training others, especially mums who wanted to get


fit and find a ‘post-child’ identity, so I was determined to create my own studio and business. The studio is based at the Harlow Business Centre, Lovet Road, Harlow and boasts 3 poles and three aerial hoops. Classes are kept to a maximum of nine adults or children, which is designed to maintain a personal touch as well as the safety of all participants. Faye and her team now run classes in Pole Fitness, Pole Silks, Aerial Hoop, Circuit Training, Stretching, Hula Hoop and the rather terrifying sounding ‘Pole Suspension Training’ (“Don’t worry, it’s not scary”). They also run Kids Clubs during school holidays which have proved very successful?

There have been some great successes along the way: ‘People really believe that they can’t do pole or aerial training – and it’s incredible when they realise through a bit of hard work and dedication that they actually can. It’s all about fun, fitness and achievement, as well as making a whole new social circle”. Tel: 07949 994 110


T IS FAIR TO SAY THAT ANDY PEASEY is just a little keen on Rugby Union. After many years (“too many to mention”) of playing and coaching it seems only natural that his muchimitated business – Ruggerbugs - is rugby related.

ANDY PEASEY Ruggerbugs

Andy began coaching rugby in 1989 with Woodford RFC in East London, beginning with youngsters and moving up to coach the Under 17 XV, who by 1996/7 were recognised as the best Under 17 side in Essex and Eastern Counties by winning both the Essex and Eastern Counties Cup. Following his first house purchase in Church Langley, he joined Harlow Rugby Club in 1997 as both a player and a coach

and worked with the colts teams as well as coaching the Second XV. After a spell coaching Millwall Rugby Club’s first team between 1999 and 2001 (winning a league in the process) and the Essex and Eastern Counties Youth representative sides, he finished his coaching career with Bancroft Rugby Club back in Woodford in 2003. In late 2006, he took his eldest son to find a rugby club or course that focussed on youngsters. Andy says: “Matthew was three at the time and there was literally nothing available. As children don’t start playing Rugby at the club until they go into Year 2 at school, I wanted him to play the best team sport in the world, I was in insurance, which was the most boring job imaginable, so I thought, why don’t I set something up?” And so, with the support of his wife Tara, Ruggerbugs was created. The first session took place at Mark Hall School in July 2007 and was attended by 21 children whose parents had responded to an advert in CM17 Magazine. Having celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer, Ruggerbugs now boasts 650+ children in attendance at over 20 centres from Cambridge to Mersea and as far away as Tunbridge Wells and Watford. It’s central ‘Hub’ remains in Old Harlow. Ruggerbugs is a multi award winning sports development programme for children aged 18 months to 6 years based around non-contact rugby. It is fully Gold Accredited with the CAA (Children’s Activity Association) and is a partner club of Saracens RFC (double European Champions). It is also GREAT fun! Tel: 01279 797 777


AS T R O LIG H T I NG Based on River Way in Harlow, Astro Lighting is a British lighting designer and producer that has been supplying interior designers, architects and buyers all over the world for the last twenty years. Although Astro now achieves an annual turnover of over £24 million and has established offices in the US, China, Singapore and Italy, the real story comes from Astro’s Co-Founders John Fearon and James Bassant.



RIOR TO FOUNDING ASTRO, JOHN FEARON HAD considerable experience as a successful sales manager within the lighting sector. He worked with many buyers at major retailers such as John Lewis, Habitat, BHS and Homebase. Meanwhile James Bassant graduated from Kingston University in 1989 with a degree in Product Design and found he had a real passion for British design, particularly lighting. His talent was spotted early when his final product at University was selected to be exhibited at the New Designers Show, the UK’s most important exhibition for emerging talent in the creative industries. John and James met when both were working for a company called Shawe Lighting based in Tottenham, London. John was employed as Sales Manager and James as Design Manager, yet they found they had a shared love of design and architecture. When the company was later bought out, it was the perfect opportunity for John and James to come together to start Astro Lighting in 1997, with a commitment to British lighting design and passion for quality and engineering precision. The buyers that John had worked with from retailers such as Homebase, B&Q, Habitat and John Lewis had followed him from business to business for almost 30 years and this didn’t change when he founded Astro with James. Before the two had officially launched the business in February 1997 Habitat had placed their first order, with the products being delivered to Habitat just five months after the company had been

founded! It was a very fortunate position to be in and the best start in business John and James could have asked for. Fast forward a couple of years to 1999 and new bathroom lighting regulations were introduced in the UK. John and James saw this as a commercial opportunity whilst many competitors shied away. They spent time designing a bathroom range which fully complied with the legislation and it certainly paid off. Astro now offers one of the most comprehensive bathroom lighting collections in the world. Twenty years later and Astro is now an established, dynamic and growing supplier whose products sell in over 90 countries and can be seen in inspirational design schemes throughout the world. Their extensive range complements every aspect of luxury living and hospitality, from bedrooms and bathrooms to living areas, corridors and exteriors. In June 2016, Astro opened its doors to a brand new headquarters in River Way, Harlow. The 8,000m2 building was designed specifically for Astro, both to house all its business functions under one roof, and to reflect the design values that lie at the heart of the company. The company now benefits from a number of in-house facilities now including photo studio, prototyping workshop, show room and development area. Astro’s creative ethos has always remained consistent – that good design demands simplicity. Their business ethos is similarly straightforward, being based on a passion for quality which goes far beyond technical excellence and demands the highest possible standards of customer service.



Life Stories

For fans of Harlow Town Football Club, Paul Wilson is ever present, with a smile and a bit of banter for everyone.


llo ‘Willo’ is always dapper (verging on flamboyant) and a ‘proper’ East Ender, being in born in Walthamstow in 19—(‘Don’t tell ‘em that!”). For many people he is THE face of HTFC and the force behind the Club’s resurgence into the public consciousness over the past three to four years.

Paul was always obsessed with football and was on the books of Lincoln City and Charlton Athletic, until his promising career was cut short by a broken leg at 17, Paul said with a grin: “It was a great loss to English Football. If that dodgy tackle hadn’t happened, Lord knows how many more trophies the National Side would have won…” Paul drifted through 7 or 8 jobs before landing in the City at 23 where he met two of the brothers of present Harlow Town owner, Tommy Cunningham (Chelsea, Wimbledon, Leyton Orient). He and Tommy became firm friends and since business colleagues at the McCulloch’s Arena, where Paul is now Director and

part of Willo’s present roll as Director of HTFC is to build significant and lasting relationships with local businesses, and is a regular face at HDCC meetings and other networking events in the town. This is not a one-way street “Naturally we are always looking for sponsors for the Football Club, but we want to give back to the business community – and the community at large too.” The Club are holding a Sponsors’ Networking event on October 24th – which is open to other businesses too, particularly members of the Chamber. If you’re interested in contacting Paul about his work at Harlow Town FC, or for memoirs about soccer’s ‘Great Lost Hero’ – you can e-mail him here or via the Club on 01279 443196.

“If we can get the local and business communities behind the Football Club, and the Club working with the community and businesses in return, then the World is our Lobster!”



“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ― Wayne W. Dyer



Stories Magazine Issue 4 - perception  

We chose ‘Perception’ as a theme as we have learnt a lot this year about positioning, presentation and how important having a decent reputat...

Stories Magazine Issue 4 - perception  

We chose ‘Perception’ as a theme as we have learnt a lot this year about positioning, presentation and how important having a decent reputat...