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A royal encounter

An event to celebrate HRH Prince of Wales' 30th anniversary as President of the Business Connectors Scheme

June 2015

By Nicola Birch-Wilson, programme co-ordinator, Local Trust

Earlier this year Mike Shepherd, chair of Windmill Hill Big Local, was one of a select few to be invited to attend an event with HRH Prince of Wales to celebrate his 30th anniversary as President of Business in the Community. The event was attended by those involved with the Business Connectors scheme. Business Connectors are people seconded (temporarily transferred to other employment) from businesses and placed in communities to build partnerships that tackle local issues. The scheme was set up to transform the way businesses and communities interact and encourage stronger partnerships in local areas. 

Windmill Hill Big Local has been working with Zoe Gill, the business connector for Halton, who was seconded from Fujitsu and lives in the local area. Together they have formed some valuable relationships with local businesses. A particularly successful partnership has been the one formed with O2, who have a call centre near Windmill Hill. O2 has partnered with Windmill Hill Big Local on a successful digital inclusion project; they have also provided meeting spaces, free printing and have loaned iPads for use at events.

I caught up with Mike at our recent spring event in Manchester. Mike described the synergy between Big Local and the Business Connectors scheme.

“Whilst many businesses have a community interest, the majority involve money. The Business Connector programme is about sharing business expertise to empower communities to deliver their individual projects with professional help. Our business connector introduced us to nearly thirty local business representatives, who were brought to Windmill Hill estate to hear first-hand the issues faced by local people. This brought about an awareness they previously never had or understood and developed into offers of assistance for Big Local going forward. We also made a link with our primary school, who have been to O2 and learnt basic app design.”

The partnerships that Windmill Hill Big Local are making through the scheme are helping them deliver their plan. Mike encourages other Big Local areas to find out if they have a business connector in their area – you can do this here

Mike had a great time at the event and, although he was too modest to say, I have it on good authority that HRH spent far longer talking to Mike than he did anyone else! 

If your Big Local area is involved with the Business Connectors scheme, get in touch and let us know. We are happy to share your experience on our website. You can find out more about Windmill Hill Big Local on their social media links below.


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