First-ever Small Business Big Heart winners announced!
Sir Michael Fallon, MP for Sevenoaks and Secretary of State for Defence today visited Chevening Financial, the first ever recipient of the BusinessesForSale.com Small Business Big Heart Award to congratulate them on their success. Chevening Financial, which is based in Sundridge near Sevenoaks, secured the title after stiff competition from small businesses across the UK.
Chevening Financial was selected as the overall winner for its eight-year long programme of community support taking housebound pensioners out for shopping and socialising, which has now become the highlight of many of the beneficiaries’ weeks. To date Chevening Financial’s MD David Hawes-Gatt has clocked up 4,000 miles taking care of his group of lovely, lively ladies and gone on to arrange additional outings like Christmas lunches, cream teas and trips to the seaside.
Rufus Bazley, Director of Marketing at BusinessesForSale.com comments, “When we launched the Small Business Big Heart campaign we were confident the small business community would provide plenty of examples of how they help worthy causes, but even we were overwhelmed with the volume and exceptional quality of entries. Chevening is without doubt a worthy first winner of what proved to be a hotly-contested award.”
Sir Michael Fallon MP adds, ““I was delighted to be able to congratulate David and his team at Chevening Financial in person for receiving this award. Becoming a regional finalist was impressive; winning the national competition is a quite remarkable achievement. I am proud that a business in my constituency is playing such an active role in the community and I look forward to hearing more about its work in the future.”
David Hawes-Gatt began using his own car to ensure the ladies that couldn’t manage to get on the minibus did not miss out on their shopping and the all-important socialisation that goes with it. He says, “It seemed like the obvious thing to do and now it’s one of the best parts of my week. The time since I started has really flown by and the ladies are fantastic company. Getting an award is great, and even more so since we can pass on the prize money to another great cause.”
The ladies comment; “ I wouldn’t be able to get here without him.”, “We were all strangers and now we’re all friends.”, “It’s lovely to get together for a natter each week.”, “It makes such a difference to me as David picks me up from my door and carries all my shopping into the house.”, “David goes out of his way to be helpful and puts smiles on our faces.”, “The cream tea he organised was fantastic” and “Some weeks, if I didn’t get picked up, I wouldn’t see another soul.”
Chevening Financial’s £1,000 prize money is being donated to DEBRA, a charity the business actively supports year-round.
Chevening Financial’s submission to Judges, Sundridge, South East Region
Chevening Financial Ltd near Sevenoaks has been helping local people with their finances for eight years. Like many small businesses they wanted to do their bit for the local community. They teamed up with nearby charity Imago and they offered the time of one of their five employees or contractors for one morning a week.
MD David Hawes-Gatt explains, “It was our first footstep in helping others and a great experience too. Initially we did all kinds of things but I gravitated towards taking people out in a minibus they had and built a rapport with the other driver. Together we decided to team up and manage our own service for older folk needing lifts for their shopping for which the minibus wasn’t suitable.”
So, in 2011, David began driving ten local ladies once a week to the supermarket for their shopping and making time for a cuppa and a chinwag in the coffee shop afterwards. David uses his car as some of the ladies struggled with the minibus that was used beforehand. It has now become a regular feature of their week and even on those occasions when they don’t really need to shop, most of the ladies still come along for the outing.
The ladies comment; “ I wouldn’t be able to get here without him.”, “We were all strangers and now we’re all friends.”, “It’s lovely to get together for a natter each week.” , “It makes such a difference to me as David picks me up from my door and carries all my shopping into the house.”, “David goes out of his way to be helpful and puts smiles on our faces.”, “The cream tea he organised was fantastic” and “Some weeks, if I didn’t get picked up, I wouldn’t see another soul.”
In all it’s a round-trip of 18 miles, meaning that over the last five years David has clocked up 4,000 miles.
Chevening Financial also organises additional outings for their ladies throughout the year, including Christmas lunches, seaside trips and cream teas. The ladies love the sense of occasion and feel thoroughly spoilt.
David is also a voluntary member of the events committee for Debra which helps to raise awareness and money for the charity. Debra supports individuals and families affected by Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare and painful genetic skin blistering condition which, in the worst cases, can be fatal.
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