We’ve never written a year in review before, but it feels like this one needs recording! We imagine most people feel the same. Nothing could have prepared us for 2020….
We promise to avoid mentioning Coronavirus too many times in this review; let’s stick to the positives! However, it would be remiss of us to entirely avoid the subject. Hopefully we’ll never see a year as difficult as this again. To all the individuals and organisations adversely affected by the events of this year, keep going. You’re an inspiration to us all.
2020 kicked off with a bang! We knew there was a good chance we’d be moving office and began to plan for that. On top of this, the team completed their 90-day plans. And, as usual, we hosted our networking events; Dinner, Beer and Book Club, Thirsty Thursday, and Young People in Business.
Book Club, Young People in Business and Thirsty Thursday all proved a great success. It was fantastic to see our apprentices celebrate #NationalApprenticeshipWeek too.
In February, the Knife Angel came to Telford. An angel sculpture formed of over 100,000 knives seized by police or handed in through local amnesties. The sculpture was created in order to highlight knife crime in the United Kingdom and educate young people about the harmful effect violent behaviour can have on their communities.
We took the decision to sponsor the Knife Angel. A cause very close to our hearts. Sadly, Dave’s wife, Geraldine’s, father was a victim of knife crime. Supporting this cause was hugely important to us.
February also saw a number of Shropshire businesses affected by the flooding of the River Severn. Many were forced to close as national media attention descended on Shropshire. The resilience of some businesses was astounding.
March brought Rishi Sunak’s first budget. We reported the news to clients and contacts. Much of the talk was around planning for Coronavirus, but nobody was quite prepared for what was to come.
This month also saw us start a recruitment drive for a new accountant to join our team.
And then it happened… a UK-wide lockdown was announced. Thousands of UK businesses had a couple of days to transform the way they operate and implement remote working. We fielded more enquiries in late March than we could have ever imagined.
Sadly, it was no longer safe to hold our Thirsty Thursday and Young People in Business networking events. However, we decided to take Book Club online through Zoom. The first ever Virtual Book Club.
April turned out to be a huge month for us. Almost out of nowhere, after a near two-year wait, we got confirmation that our new office purchase had completed. And to top it off, it was Al’s birthday! We had to pop the Champagne on Zoom, but the thought was there.
All systems go! Branding and completely changing the interior of an office space is no easy task. It is even tougher when you’re in lockdown.
With the help of some trusted contacts, relatives and friends we pulled a plan together. Work got under way to transform ‘The Hangar’.
The 1st June marked our last official day at Grosvenor House. We hadn’t been there for a while, but we spent the weekend clearing it out. If you remember how warm it was in June, you can probably picture the scene.
At the same time, our external signage went up on The Hangar. We were so pleased to see our brand on our own building.
As summer set in we were busy setting up the new office whilst continuing to run operations working from home.
Finally, we opened the doors to The Hangar. It was fantastic to realise our vision and show the staff what we’d been working on.
Open plan workspaces, flexible desks, booths, a pool table, an arcade machine, a welcome screen and even a coffee machine where you can start brewing from an app on your phone!
This was a serious change for us. We wanted a space that could be shared by our clients and the business community. We’re determined that when it is safe to do so, that will be the case.
We’d had to pause our recruitment from earlier in the year, but our move meant we could start looking once more. And so, interviews commenced.
We were delighted to welcome Hannah Brathwaite to our team as an accounting technician.
It was also lovely to welcome Charlie Arthur Leddington to the world, Dave and Gez’s second child.
October saw our first ever international attendee to Virtual Book Club. We’d been lucky enough to have some authors attend from America, but this was our first international guest. Book Club had gone global!
The installation of our totem signage finished off the works to The Hangar too. Anyone driving past couldn’t fail to miss us.
Sadly, we were unable to host our annual charity quiz. Let’s hope for a bigger and better one next year!
A second lockdown for England. This meant further protocols at the Hangar and some staff remote working. Again, we found ourselves fielding extra enquiries.
The furlough scheme was extended, SEISS was adjusted and new business support grants announced. November became a busy time.
To bring us up to the present day, this December we find ourselves preparing for a different kind of Christmas to the usual ChadStone festivities. We’re working from The Hangar surrounded by screens and hand sanitiser. Hopefully next year it will be less sanitiser and more tinsel!
And there you have it, quite the year. Thanks to our families, staff, clients, suppliers and contacts for all your support during what has proven an incredibly challenging year for everyone.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.
Rob, Alex & Dave