First up was Heather Carter, Managing Director Visitor Attraction at Blenheim who explained more about the beautiful new Orangery and plans for the restoration of the Palace roof, plus a look ahead to this years Christmas Light Trail and highlights in the events calendar for 2024. Guests then enjoyed a delicious cooked breakfast and great conversations, plus the opportunity to meet guests invited by existing B4 Platinum members.
We then heard from Amelia Foster, CEO of Sobell House Hospice Charity, who spoke about OxTrail 2024 – Oxford’s first public art trail – designed to raise funds for and awareness of Sobell House Hospice Charity. “Over the next 5 to 7 years, the need for palliative and end of life care is predicted to rise by 50%. Sobell House Hospice is already reaching around two thirds of those dying in Oxfordshire but needs the support of the community to continue to raise the funds to meet the increasing demand for our services in the community, across Oxfordshire’s hospitals and in people’s homes. OxTrail is an inclusive and fun way for local businesses to support our work.” For more information, visit www.oxtrail2024.co.uk or www.sobellhouse.org.
B4 Chairman Frank Nigriello was next up and outlined plans to extend the B4 community through a merger with Oxfordshire Business First. “These two networks share the same aims and values,” he said. “Combining them creates a method for connecting over 2,400 Oxfordshire businesses to share news, information and best practice.” Frank also announced a new bursary that has been established to enable start-up companies to join the B4 network at no cost for one year. “B4 is all about businesses helping businesses. Startups that join B4 will benefit from the insight and knowledge of our members who are some of the best business people in the county, which has to be a tremendous accelerator.” Our first start-up is Felicity Ashley who made a mark at the B4 Platinum Dinner, also at Blenheim, earlier in November. If you would like to apply for B4’s start-up membership, please contact email@example.com for an application form.
After his speech Frank introduced Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chief executive, Nigel Tipple, who outlined the crucial role that the LEP plays here in Oxfordshire in terms of business support, but also explained the future role of OxLEP with the impending changes facing all LEPs throughout England, due to the withdrawal of core Government funding previously provided to them.
Nigel said: “The event was a great opportunity for both myself and colleagues to connect with the business community on a one to one basis. To also have the opportunity to communicate the work of OxLEP and our future plans, at a time where there is such a lot of misinformation about the future of Local Enterprise Partnerships out there, was crucial.”
Any Oxfordshire businesses looking for support should visit www.oxfordshirelep.com for more information.
Finally we heard from Niel Nicholson, Director of B4 Platinum Members, Nicholsons. Niel was speaking in his capacity as director of The Forest Canopy Foundation (see www.forestcanopyfoundation.co.uk). “We offer a unique opportunity to increase the level of woodland planting to mitigate the climate crisis, utilising the skills and experience of forestry industry professionals and bringing together funding from different sources through a blended package. Landowners are able to facilitate tree planting on their land at zero cost. Each planting site is individually managed by a professional forester and all planting is carried out under our Code of Practice, reaching the highest level of industry standards. The landowners continue to own the woodland. All trees will be maintained for a minimum of 25 years to get the best yields, and our projects are all located in England. The woodlands will be registered for Carbon Units and Investors will have the opportunity to “own the carbon units”.
Representatives from Dalcour Maclaren, Francis Construction, Le Manoir, Minoli, Reaction Engines, Cherwell Labs, Ellie Sanderson, Silverstone, Charles Stanley, Handelsbanken, Wellers, M&M Waste Solutions, High Spec Composites, Torpedo, Enistic, Wenn Townsend were in attendance to enjoy an invigorating start to a blustery day.
Thank you to Heather Carter, Dominic Hare, Emma Rogers and team for hosting, to John Blackwell for excellent photos, Tina Rosser for superb event organisation and Edward Michael for brilliant AV support.
If you would like to attend the next B4 Platinum Quarterly in the refurbished Orangery at Blenheim Palace on Wednesday 7th February, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.