The third and ‘best so far’ Wealden Expo took place at State Hall, Heathfield on Wednesday 19 October. The event was a sell out and all 49 stands were taken by a wide range of local businesses and community projects. Our MP Huw Merriman came to open the event and stayed for several hours talking to all the stand holders and early visitors to the exhibition.
In his opening speech Huw stressed the importance of communities working together and also providing the opportunity for small businesses to showcase their products and services in a cost effective way. His quote about Wealden Expo:
“Congratulations to the Heathfield Chamber of Commerce for bringing together almost 50 local and national businesses based in our area for the third Wealden Expo. I was delighted to open the event and spent a couple of hours talking to the exhibitors and visitors. Heathfield has a partnership which spreads across its business, civic and community. All were represented in the hall as well as Heathfield Works!, the Quicken Trust and the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice; charitable organisations which our community supports and campaigns for. It was great to see our business leaders mixing with staff and pupils from Heathfield Community College. My congratulations to Barbara Hibbart and all at the Chamber of Commerce for organising such a brilliant Expo.”
During the day many businesses and community projects took the opportunity to increase awareness of their products and services. Heathfield Community College took the opportunity to forge links with local businesses and are now putting together a project team to develop long term links between the school and the business community. A number of pupils and teachers also visited the exhibition and chatted to local businesses about work experience and potential jobs.
Heathfield Works! had a stand at the exhibition and spoke to businesses about work experience and work placements for the young people on their courses. The current course group and the staff team did a brilliant job of helping to get the exhibition ready and also provided much needed help on the day. Waitrose and Sainsburys joined us and took the opportunity to sample their Christmas produce lines. Earl Grey Shortbread from Waitrose was particularly nice and mince pies from Sainburys were very popular.
Pro-Actions have been working with Wealden to put on a range of FREE business seminars across the area. These courses have been well attended and have provided a great opportunity to build business skills. Pro-Actions are about to start an intensive year long business course with monthly workshops based in Heathfield and were promoting this course on their stand. For details go to www.pro-actions.com.
Cuculo worked hard to provide a great spread of rolls, sandwiches , teas, rich Italian coffee and great cakes to keep everyone going through the day. Look out for details of their great wine tasting events and Friday evening Pizza nights in the run up to Christmas. Visit www.cuculo.co.uk
Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice is the Chamber’s charity of the year and exhibitors donated generous gifts to support this great cause. They held a raffle on the day and other donated gifts will be used at the many events they will attend in the busy period before Christmas. The Chamber will also be making a donation to Chestnut Tree from Expo profits.
State Hall is a fantastic venue for a business exhibition in that it is light and airy and can also accommodate so many stands in one large room. The staff at State Hall were very supportive and helpful at all stages of the organisation of the event. With free parking on site, kindly organised by Wealden District Council, this helped to create easy access to the event.
During the day there was a constant stream of visitors and there was also considerable networking between exhibitors. Many people reported that they had made interesting new contacts and had also renewed contact with existing clients during the day. Thank you to all the exhibitors for supporting this event, all those people who visited on the day and a big thank you to everyone who ensured that the day was a success.
Wealden Expo is a Heathfield Chamber event. If anyone would like to learn more about the work that the Chamber does, please contact the Chamber Secretary, E :firstname.lastname@example.org. Chamber Membership is available all year and forms can be downloaded from the Chamber website www.heathfieldchamber.co.uk.
For further information please contact Barbara Hibbart
T : 01435 865135 E : Barbara@barbarahibbartcoaching.co.uk