Executive Summary

You get a wide range of educational sessions in a variety of venues; you get the chance to network with other businesses; you get an organisation which has some clout in the town to give you backing; you get fantastic events like Thrive Yorkshire and the Ilkley Business Awards; and you get the help of a dedicated and hardworking group of people who understand your problems.

We had the following meetings from May 2015 – April 2016

MAY – Award winning retailer Johnny Hayes from York speaking about Bishopthorpe Road Traders Association – now an MBE at the Wheatley Arms

JUNE – Andrew Hartley about “The Growth Accelerator” – at Denton Hall

JULY – How to make Macaroons – at the Boxtree Restaurant

SEPTEMBER – Launch of Ilkley Business Awards – at the Kings Hall


OCTOBER – Andrew Cussons on Brands Bricks and Clicks

NOVEMBER – Phil Parramore – on Planning Successful Businesses.

DECEMBER – Paul Dodd – The Chaos Theory of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

and Christmas Market

JANUARY – Suzanne Shaw on Results Through Relationships

and Bright Financial Management about Pension Auto-Enrolment

FEBRUARY – Joint Meeting with Ilkley Parish Council


MARCH -Katie Rigalsford, Head of Enterprise & Innovation Academy at Leeds Beckett University on Entrepreneurship AND Paul Thompson, the CEO of Water Babies, a national company which started in Ilkley

APRIL – Katy Raife from Leeds Beckett University on Apprenticeships in Business

Most of these meetings were at the Clarke Foley Centre but we were able to use other local venues which either provides them with income or good PR and we are very grateful to all our venues for making us welcome and looking after us.

Two of these events required a great deal of organisation. I’d like to thank the people who worked so hard to make them successful and for which we owe them many thanks.

Thrive Yorkshire committee

Becky Leach (PBP Consultancy)

Liz Scott (Life and Legal)

Claire Collinge (Workwise Legal)

Stuart Taylor (Black Hat)

Sarah Brookfield-Brewis (Wheatley Arms)

Colin Welby (Pennyhole Bookkeeping Services)

Julia Forrester (TaxAssist)


Ilkley Business Awards Committee

Julia Forrester (TaxAssist)

Georgina Burn (TaxAssist)

Helen Rhodes (Poppy Red)

Verity Clarke (Approach PR)

Ruth Crook (Olicana Office)

Alan Strachan (Logo Promotional Merchandise)

Michelle Hudson (Box Tree Events)

What else have we done over the last year?

A number of issues have come up.

There was the A-Board ban where traders looked to the Business Forum to take a lead in opposing the blanket ban. We organised a petition which has been placed before Bradford Council. I am working with traders in Saltaire who have been similarly affected. This is a work in progress which will continue throughout this year.

As a means of helping the traders affected by the ban and generally IBF are also working with the Council to replace and make full use of the advertising boards around the ticket machines in the central car park. We have a potential design and a number of firms have indicated that they will take advertising space of the boards.

We are also working with the Parish Council to set up signs on street corners to point people in the direction of local shops.

The joint meeting with the Parish Council was also partly about this but also about ways in which the Parish Council and local businesses can work together to support or replace the services which Bradford Met are cutting. A recent example of the dramatic change which the town is on the verge of suffering has been the débâcle about Hunters flower bed at the top of Brook Street. Lester Hurst paid a fortune for the sponsorship of the bed only for it to be sparsely planted. That sort of thing is going to get worse.

The other thing we have been working on is assisting the start-up Ilkley Fine Food Market organised primarily, at least in the early stages, by Paula Connor of the The Green Hut. This is now functioning and thriving – the first Sunday of every month on South Hawkesworth Street. A number of LS29 businesses have stalls on the market – The Green Hut, Lishmans, Wharfedale Cheeses, Gluten Freakz; Addingham Fruit Liqueurs as well as 12 other stalls from the local area. Local community groups also make use of two of the stalls every month. This is a real boon to Ilkley and benefits the cafes and restaurants in the town as well as other businesses.

Finally, I think a huge benefit to small businesses is that you get the chance to talk freely with other like-minded people at our events. We all have the same problems; customers; suppliers etc. I think this is often under-appreciated as a benefit of membership: it is a real help to be able to chat informally with friendly faces about your day to day life as a business owner.

And we have been doing all this since May 2009 consistently and at very low cost – now £65 a year, less than 10p a day.

So – what do you get from membership? You get all of the above and you get the help of a dedicated and hardworking group of people who understand your problems.

This group at the moment who work with me are:
Julia Forrester, Treasurer
Helen Rhodes, Secretary
Rachel Hatfield of Shoo Media, Communications Officer
Ian White of Bluehoop who helps with the website
David Lowe of Utility Warehouse and Alan Strachan who have been on the committee since we started
Liz Scott who helps with the membership arrangements
Paula Connor a new member from The Green Hut

I would like to thank everyone who is helping us and especially the long-suffering committee members who give their time and put up with me.

Steve Butler
Chairman, Ilkley Business Forum
11 May 2016