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FSB member awarded an BEM in Queens Birthday honours list

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Alan Griffiths from Broad Street Windows has been awarded an BEM in the 2019 Queens Birthday honours list. Alan, a longstanding FSB member who joined FSB as he believes membership is an excellent tool for small businesses, has been an active volunteer in Coventry for a number of years. 

Alan who is born and bred in Coventry and an engineer by trade, started his windows & door double glazing business - Broad Street Windows in 1980 with his partner Jim Dudley. The business, which has successfully survived several recessions, has now been trading for over 30 years and in its heyday employed up to 26 people. 

In 2000 the company purchased an old derelict community hall next to the property, so that they could continue to access the shared driveway. Following requests from local community groups who wanted to continue to use the hall, Alan along with friends and family spent many hours and a significant amount of money to make the hall a usable space for the community. For many years the hall was a meeting space for local residents offering bingo, faith, keep fit, toddler groups, Twa Kwondo, tuition classes and much more - but Alan always had a dream to replace the building with a purpose built new hall.

Five years ago, Alan employed a project manager to help tackle the minefield of grant funding and to start the process of applying to The Big Lottery. Anyone who has tried to obtain grant funding will know the challenge this presents, with mountains of paperwork Alan and his team were determined to raise the one million pounds funding they needed to re-build the hall. After a four-year battle their bid were successful and The Big Lottery were satisfied with their plans and intensions to help the local community. The Big Lottery were confident that Alan and Broad Street Windows we were a trustworthy company who could deal with the massive undertaking to project manage the re-build. The successful bid did however come with one condition – they also needed to find another £200K from other funding sources. Through extensive fund raising the project team applied to various trusts and organisations, including Coventry Building Society and Heart of England, to raise the additional funding needed.

In 2017 a big problem arose as funding did not include moving into temporary accommodation, so that hall users could continue with their activities. Unable to find suitable premises a decision to change the business into a construction company which needed less space, meant that they could convert the current business premises into a community hall. This allowed users to continue to have a place to meet while the new build took shape. Again, another £80k funding had to be sourced to cover the conversion costs. By 2018 the conversation was complete, groups then moved into the temporary hall and the old hall was demolished. Also, during this time the committee of volunteers successfully applied and were awarded the Queens Award for Volunteers. This made the team immensely proud and gave them a wonderful emblem to display on correspondence.

Finally, in 2019 work started on the new building, but not without its problems. The ground was found to be unstable which meant they had to find another £70K to fund the extra work involved. Determined not to fall at the last hurdle, fund raising has continued in earnest and since the project began the team have now reduced the short fall to just £30K.

Committed not to stop there, the team is also very proactive in the local area. They support the running of the Edwick Park Project in conjunction with Coventry City Council, planting trees, flowers and building bird boxes. They also work with local schools and the community to arrange sporting and music events in the park.

Alan said:  “It is difficult to put into words how proud I feel at being nominated and accepted for the Queens Award. It is important however to point out that although I feel a personal pride, there is no way this could been achieved without support from staff, friends and family. Once complete, at the beginning of 2020, we are very much looking forward to the ‘grand opening’ with the Lord Mayor of Coventry of our one million pound community hall.”