I’m very much looking forward to taking on the COO role for 4HTA and would just like to add to Raj’s introduction for those who do not know me, as well as give a brief overview of what I hope to achieve in the role.
I grew up and attended school in the Heatons before going on to University and spending several years outside of the UK. During that time, I worked in independent backpacker hostels in various locations, which was a fantastic experience, but made things somewhat difficult when I returned to the Heatons as my hostel-skills were pretty much redundant!
After becoming a single parent when my daughter was still very young, I wanted to find work that would allow me to work around her, but also develop new skills and opportunities. And so, Pixie Bakery was born. I worked out of the kitchen at home before converting a family member’s cellar into a workspace, baking American-style cakes, brownies, cookies which I sold at Farmer’s Markets and events throughout Cheshire. It was as Pixie Bakery that I originally joined the 4HTA towards the end of its first year of operation and, by getting to know other members, began to supply cakes to several of those with coffee shops & restaurants.
Heaton Moor Market
With the support of the businesses around the Shaw Road area, and the offer of the use of the land belonging to the Kushoom Koly, I began Heaton Moor Market in 2010 with 8 stalls, including my own. At this time, there were no markets around the Heatons area – those in Levenshulme and Cheadle came a year or so later. The market grew steadily, largely through word of mouth, and caught the attention of one of the local councillors who encouraged me to apply for a road closure. This made a huge difference to the market, allowing much more space for traders and visitors. I very much saw the market not just as a business for myself, but as a platform for other small businesses to find their feet, create a customer base and, ultimately, to grow – several traders even went on to establish permanent business premises. The market had the added benefit of creating greater exposure for the Shaw Road area and attracting visitors from further afield. Ultimately, the market has come to form an important part of the local Heatons community.
After 6 years running the market, during which time I also supported and helped orgainse the 4HTA festivals, I had the opportunity to return to academia to complete a Masters Degree. I felt the time was right time to pass the market on to someone who would continue to make it a success and an integral part of the community. And so, since 2016, the market has continued to thrive in the very capable hands of Heather Thorpe.
My hopes and aims in taking on the COO position are to help the 4HTA move forward by following a similar ethos to that of Heaton Moor Market, which include:
- to support the growth and development of local businesses
- to identify and address common issues of businesses in our areas within the Heatons
- to be a point of contact for the 4HTA and a liaison between member businesses & official bodies, including GMP and SMBC
- to create greater awareness and visibility for the Heatons as an area for shopping, leisure and business
- to create greater visibility for the 4HTA by implementing new projects and moving them forward
- to bring local businesses together through a supportive and inclusive organisation to foster working relationships and a cohesive business community
- to work with the events team to produce a more comprehensive calendar of events to benefit all business areas
- to support Heatons community groups where local business involvement can help achieve overall objectives
Overall, my aim is to focus on the role of the 4HTA in creating a united business community – whether a shop front, office or home-based business – which, in turn, improves the Heatons community as a whole and supports the 4HTA mission to make the Heatons a better place to live, work and prosper. The question should not simply be ‘What do I get out of it?’ but, by being part of the 4HTA, how can we achieve a better Heatons for all.
I am very much looking forward to meeting you over the coming weeks/months and to working together to achieve these goals. I understand that it is not always possible to attend member meetings, so if you would like to arrange to meet with me to discuss any ideas/issues, please just drop me an email at the address below or contact me via twitter.
Many thanks (and apologies for the monologue!)
Four Heatons Traders Association
Making the Heatons a better place to live, work and prosper