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Opinion: First months of being Area Leader passes in a whirlwind

By Yvette Hastings, FSB Merseyside and Cheshire Area Leader

To say that my official two months as Area Leader for Merseyside and Cheshire has been action packed would be an understatement – the time has literally gone past in a whirlwind, with lots of meetings and events within the region.

Yvette-Hastings

After a transitional year following the re-structuring, it has been very positive to get involved both at Area as well as Regional level. Even more encouraging is the fact that the organisation is really embracing digital communication. Not only is MyFSB evolving into a great community, but we can also set up social messaging groups and benefit from video conferencing in order to maximise our input as volunteers. 

Our first event of the year was ‘Meet FSB at the Chester Grosvenor,’ a prestigious venue where we met up with old members as well as some of their friends who had come along to find out more about FSB. It was interesting to meet with businesses within the Chester area and get to hear more about their issues and feedback on topics of interest. The staff at the Grosvenor were great and we got some little goody bags to take home - needless to say the cakes provided were just truly scrumptious!

We are starting to map out various activities we are planning to develop within the area, consolidating the existing campaigns and activities such as the Mersey Bridge tolls and supporting FSB’s national-led policy work, including the #FairPayFairPlay campaign against late payment. This has received encouraging media exposure and has been supported by a great many individuals and organisations - I’m pleased to say that the Combined Services Barbarians rugby union team, with which I am involved, was one of them.

We are also looking at the breakdown of member business areas to see if we can identify areas where FSB can lobby and hope to be able to start engaging with members more regularly. We’ll be looking at setting up a SIG for business crime which is a persistent bane of any business’ life, but particularly for those SMEs who can ill afford the time and financial exposure. 

Following on from the national mental health campaign, we are working on an event to focus on this most important issue we all face, both as business owners as well as personally. We are hoping to secure a high-profile speaker around whom we can organise talks and potential solutions to help us overcome the inevitable ups and downs of life.

It was an honour to be asked to present the award for ‘Business and Product Innovation’ at the North West Business event in Manchester at the end of January. The winners of the 11 categories for our region will now go forward to the national awards later in the year. A very well organised event complimented by some lovely food, so thank you to everyone involved and congratulations to all the worthy finalists!