News from ISSBA
Tuesday, 09 February 2021 12:05

ISSBA Event Review - MTM Networking January 2021

Chris Chenery, Chenery Creative reviews ISSBA’s first networking event of 2021

Chris Chenery RGBWednesday morning, 27th January 2021. No worries about delays on the school run, or the daily commute, apart from the slight congestion in the kitchen and delays in the bathroom, but I still managed to make it on time to the ISSBA Meet the Members event on Zoom. Along with 22 others who had navigated their way there, it was good to see so many come along for what was an interesting morning. 

First off, we got some useful advice and information regarding business grants available through the local council from Todd Strehlow of Ipswich Borough Council. He urged people to check out if their own businesses might qualify for any of these grants, as they said the take-up on applications hadn’t been as high as had been expected, so were trying to ensure that businesses weren’t missing out on this extra help.

We then had a couple of break-out room sessions of networking in smaller groups of 4 or 5 people, which was a chance to see how others are doing, and introduce yourself to anyone you’d not met before. It’s good to know the wide variety of businesses within the membership and guests, so that you can keep them in mind if you find yourself needing those products or services - and by connecting with them in this way, and using their services when you can, it helps other local businesses. After all - that is one of the strengths of being a member of a group like ISSBA - there are many other small businesses that can support each other.

Once again when we were all back in the main room, we then had an interesting presentation from Sue Lawther-Brown of the New Wolsey Theatre, who shared with us how they have been coping and the work they have been doing to transform the theatre during this lockdown. We were shown the new branding and how they have implemented that - with some photos of the refurbished reception and cafe area and other public spaces, and also of the impressive new building they have been getting ready. This includes a real benefit to the town centre in that it also has a fully accessible toilet facility for people that cannot use a standard accessible toilet. The Changing Places room enables people to use the toilet in safety and comfort because it is much larger than a standard accessible toilet. Sue explained that having this facility available during their opening hours could make all the difference for someone visiting the town centre, who may be unable to venture out otherwise.

All in all, it will be an excellent space when it is open, and with the old fountain in the middle of the courtyard also planned to become an outside performance space, it will be quite a focal point in front of the theatre as well as having a positive impact in the local community.

With the mix of presentations, and breakout room networking, as well as the opportunity to share contact details over the chat facility, it was a good way to start the morning, and maybe begin conversations with others that you could work with to be mutually beneficial.

If you’d like to find out more about this and other kinds of events that ISSBA run, or perhaps you’re thinking about becoming a member, please do get in touch and we’d be happy to give you more information. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for upcoming events - our February event is now open for booking. 

Written by Chris Chenery, Chenery Creative