Businesses across Acton gathered today for an informative networking event organised by West London Chambers of Commerce which saw Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Rupa Huq attend and show her support to local entrepreneurs.
The Your Acton BID business breakfast, held at the ActOne Cinema in Acton, also provided attendees with the latest information on the recent budget as well as find out more how they can get involved in local community initiatives to help drive business engagement with good causes.
Your Acton BID is a not-for-profit company funded and run by local businesses in Acton and since 2018 has been working to make the area cleaner and safer as well as better for visitors and businesses to trade.
Welcoming people at the event, Dr Huq said: “It’s been a difficult time for small business. There was COVID crisis. And now we have multiple crises, the Ukraine crisis that’s driven up food prices, oil prices, all those things. So I just take my hat off to you as small businesses because I’m a child of small business. I know the way that people who run these businesses, they make so many sacrifices like they don’t eat, they never go on holiday, all these things. Our high streets are the lifeblood of our nation. A lot of you are public facing on the high street, but again, the nature of business has changed.”
Dr Huq also those attending to reach out to her about any issues and concerns they have with running their businesses in the local area which she could raise for them in Parliament.
Updating local businesses on the work of Your Acton BID, Natasha Patel, BID manager highlighted a number of successes in Acton Town Centre. Ms Patel also revealed that the results of their ballot for the work the organisation does will see it continuing for another five years. It first started in 2018 and as part of the Business Improvement District process, it is required every 5 years to seek a new five year term. Ms Patel said: “We just got our big ballot results and and we had 70% of businesses voted in favour for another five years.”
Alan Rides, chief executive officer, West London Chambers of Commerce told attendees about his organisation: “We are here to help small business. We’re not part of the council. We are independent. We are owned by and run by our members. And we work for our members. We’re here today to say we’re working very closely with Acton BID. Acton is actually in my backyard and we have a wonderful local MP. We need to deliver networking sessions so that businesses can get closer together, not just in Acton, but in Ealing across Hammersmith and Fulham and Chiswick and Hounlow. You get to cross pollinate your business. I’m an international trade expert. So if you want to grow outside those areas, come talk to me, and we do lots of lobbying for change. We’re here to try and help your business grow.”
Showcasing the work it does across Acton and throughout Ealing, Connor Bagenal, inclusive projects officer for QPR Community Trust talked about the work the football club trust does. He said they engage with all ages and backgrounds and bring the Hammersmith & Fulham borough based team into Ealing. “Our youngest participant is the age of three and our oldest is 95. We go into prisons with a twinning project, and we’re going to take prisoners and help them with qualifications. We’ve got a new school health programmes and we also run two mental health programmes.”
Another local organisation, City Harvest based in Acton Park Industrial Estate is part of a nationwidfe charity that rescues food from going to waste and delivering it for free to charities needing it to help local people. Po-Yee Lai explained: “We collect surplus food, which is classed as waste from farms, manufacturers, wholesalers, everybody, and we give it away free of charge to charities around London. So the charities save money that they can use that further. One of the teams from QPR came and donated a load of food to us. We want to collect as much as we can to feed as many people as we can. In London itself 13 million meals are thrown away every single month. We want to collect all that food and feed people.”
Tom Levitt from the University of West London is working with Ealing Council on a project on the Living Wage. He said: “We have a group of students at the moment who are investigating the living wage as far as it works in Ealing. Ealing Council has the ambition of becoming a living wage place where the living wage become commonplace rather than just the odd exception. This group of students is looking to talk to any companies, whether they are accredited living wage employees or not. At the moment, there are fewer than 50 accredited employers within Ealing.”
Also attending was Councillor John Martin, chair of Ealing High Streets Task Force.