Finalists announced for Cranleigh BIG Awards 2017

Businesses in Cranleigh and surrounding areas have once again responded enthusiastically to the Cranleigh & District Business, Innovation & Growth (BIG) Awards 2017.

The awards, now in their second year, highlight, recognise and celebrate the innovation and growth achievements of local businesses. 

“The number and quality of entries only goes to prove that Cranleigh has a diverse and vibrant local business community providing jobs and delivering economic growth,” said Richard Graham, President of award organisers Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Entrants were attracted by the cash prizes, to be awarded to those businesses that can demonstrate outstanding initiative, boldness and imagination in their enterprise, as well as sound management practices.

There are two categories of business this year – businesses up to five employees in size and businesses with six or more employees. The overall winner in each category will receive a cash prize of £2,000.

In addition, the winner of the small business category will receive a Social Media Consultancy and Makeover session from Philip Calvert, International Social Media Strategist. This prize is worth £2,000 and will help the small business winner transform their social media marketing in 2017.

Entries closed on 19th November and the judges have shortlisted six finalists to go forward to the final stage of judging. 

The prestigious judging panel is made up of HM Lord-Lieutenant Michael More Molyneux, Tim Wates of Wates Construction, Alan Young of Surrey County Council, Andrea Bamford of Informed Choice, Jim McAllister of the Rutland Group, Richard Graham of retailer One Forty, Mark Miseldine of the Surrey Advertiser, Bob Wild of Cranleigh Arts Centre and Rosemary French OBE of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative. 

The judging panel bring with them a wide range and depth of business experience, ideally suited to such a difficult task, with such a high quality of entries which to assess.

The Cranleigh BIG Awards are only made possible by generous sponsorship, the most significant from Alan Young, Surrey County Councillor.

Alan Young said, “I wanted the Cranleigh BIG Awards to highlight and recognise the area’s entrepreneurial businesses, from micro businesses to large, and from newly set up to well established.   Looking at the entries, we definitely achieved that aim”,

Further sponsorship has been provided by Informed Choice, One Forty, Taurus Wines, and Cranleigh Arts Centre.

Although the entrants came from a wide range of business sectors, four of the finalists this year are local retailers, reflecting the importance of High Street retail in Cranleigh.

While last year the winners, Taurus Wines and Firebrid Brewing, came from the food and drinks sector, health and well-being also features strongly this year.

In the category for businesses with five or less employees, the three finalists are The Furniture Emporium, Idyllic, and Moooh! Ice Cream.

The Furniture Emporium incorporating Living in Style are a joint retail company offering furniture, home accessories and lighting to the middle market direct to customer and online.  The judges were impressed that while maintaining a High Street presence in two locations, that their UK wide online business has increased from 15% to 60% of their income.

Idyllic is a beauty and day spa offering a sanctuary of relaxation and well-being, with high quality beauty products in an environment that is friendly, relaxing and calm.  The judges were impressed with the use of professional marketing, interior design and brand consultants and the continuing use of social media experts to become a top beauty salon in only three years.

Moooh! Ice Cream is a mobile van ‘experience’ which tailors ice cream and quality desserts for weddings, events, special occasions and village fetes in a beautifully restored vintage Citroen H van called Mirabelle.  Residents may have first seen the van at the Cranleigh Food & Music Festival in September where families queued to be served their delicious desserts.  The judges were impressed with the renovation of the van, the ‘quirky’ look and feel of the business, and the clear direction of the owners who are still in their first year of trading.

In the category for businesses with six or more employees, the three finalists are Atrainability, Cranfold Physical Therapy and The Hair Company.

Atrainability is a training consultancy which transfers good practice developed over many years in commercial aviation to health and social care.  Its focus is patient safety where Atrainability helps the medical profession to apply behavioural skills to maintain and enhance safety across acute trusts, operating theatres, mental health trusts and social care.  The judges were particularly impressed with the academic papers published under their name, engendering trust and capability to future clients.

Cranfold Physical Therapy Centre offers physiotherapy and complementary therapies privately and under the NHS to patients suffering from pain or dysfunction due to illness operations or injuries.  Their investment in the professional growth of their physios and admin staff impressed the judges.

The Hair Company employees say it is not just about hair, it is also about building a personal relationship and creating an atmosphere in which the clients feel they know them as more than merely a stylist.  The judges were impressed with the determination, enthusiasm and speed that the previous employees of a failed hair salon transformed it into not only an ongoing business but a successful one.

The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on Monday 9th January at Cranleigh Arts Centre.

Local businesses are encouraged to book their tickets now at to enjoy an evening of networking, and celebrating all that is good about doing business in Cranleigh.  Not forgetting the generous buffet and fine wines! 

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Big crowds brave the rain for the Cranleigh Christmas Lights switch-on

14915644_1437671612917492_2760127079453404486_nHundreds of families and spectators turned out to watch Father Christmas and Noddy switch on Cranleigh’s Christmas Lights on Saturday evening.

The event, organised by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, was held in Fountain Square and Stocklund Square, and was preceded by an afternoon of live entertainment and family attractions.

There were superb performances on the main stage in Fountain Square from Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band, Cranleigh Dance & Theatre Arts, The Wey, Lucina, SourKix, and Rev’d Roy Woodhams who led the audience in some festive carol singing.

The Christmas Lights were then switched on by Father Christmas and Noddy, who spent time in the High Street meeting families and having their photos taken, complete with Noddy’s distinctive toy car.

A number of local retailers and cafes stayed open later in the evening so shoppers could begin their festive shopping, accompanied by a performance in Stocklund Square by the Godalming Band, who launched their Christmas album later that evening with a special concert at the Methodist Church.

Visitors to the event enjoyed fairground rides, and craft, food and market stalls.


Organisers Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce thanked all of the volunteers who made the event possible and the large number of business sponsors who contributed this year towards the £10,000 cost of the Christmas Lights and switch-on event.

A Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce spokesperson said:

“A big thank you to everyone who came along and braved the inclement weather to enjoy a fantastic event.

“The rain did its best to spoil our plans, causing a fuse to blow in Fountain Square just as our programme of live entertainment was about to get underway.

“But we don’t let a bit of water ruin our plans in Cranleigh and soldiered on to get the Christmas celebrations off to a fantastic start.”

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce’s selected charity for the event was Jigsaw Trust, which provides education and other services to children and young adults with autism. Jigsaw Trust volunteers raised £360 on the evening.

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Would you like to make a real difference for the people of Cranleigh and surrounding villages?

Rowleys Centre for the Community is entering a new phase of development, and growth, we are heading for the future. We need at least two new trustees to help us, (preferably three) not just to decide our direction but to work positively to achieve it.

Are you the people we need?


We need someone with financial knowledge and experience who can not only help us to keep our Finances in order, (normal input on SAGE is taken care of) and manage our charity’s resources, but can also become the Treasurer on the Board ensuring that this charity acts within its’ own governing document. Perhaps a retired accountant or finance manager, who is willing to act with reasonable care and skill to make our services a success.


In addition, we need someone who has good background knowledge of legal matters, who would be willing to study and understand charity law, and/or property law, as we hoping to acquire the premises next to Rowleys centre giving us a further boost towards growth.

We also hope to be granted a new lease by the Borough Council, which will give us the scope for progressing services which can make a difference to people’s lives. This Trustee’s place on the Board will supplement the HR knowledge held by the current chair.


If you are interested, but don’t fit the criteria above but are willing to spend some time understanding the way a charity works, and getting to know the rules, I would welcome your call.

Trustees are responsible for independent control and have a legal responsibility for their charity. This is an important unpaid role, and you are not expected to be perfect, just to do your best to comply.
Have a look at the Essential Trustee on

If you like the idea of joining our Board, and becoming a Trustee of Rowleys Centre for the Community, please give Brenda Hobson a call on 01483 277155, (Rowleys), or 01730 815623 (Home)to discuss possibilities

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A digital future for Surrey

A new £2.4m business accelerator has been launched by the University of Surrey aimed at supporting the region’s high growth digital entrepreneurs.

The three-year accelerator programme is supported by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and will delivered by the University of Surrey through its award-winning SETsquared Partnership and local private and public partners.

The programme will be run from hubs in Basingstoke, Farnborough, Guildford and Woking and is set to attract talented tech entrepreneurs to and from the Enterprise M3 area with a portfolio of business acceleration support.

This includes entrepreneurship training and access to experienced mentors, venture investors and specialist services connected to the University’s 5G Innovation Centre.

Continue reading this article at

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Cranleigh Christmas Lights 2016

The official switch on of the Cranleigh Christmas Lights takes place at 6pm on Saturday 19th November 2016.

With Christmas rapidly approaching, thoughts are turning to the festive season. Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us for the official switch-on of the Cranleigh Christmas Lights on Saturday 19th November 2016.

This year’s event features an exciting programme of live entertainment, Christmas markets and food stalls, and late night shopping.

Why not make a day of it and do a spot of Christmas shopping with our independent retailers, get a bite to eat in the village restaurants or food market in Stocklund Square, and enjoy performances by some of Cranleigh’s best local talent.

Fountain Square will play host to a range of local musicians, choirs and performers, all hosted by Simon Rose from Eagle Radio.

Please share your photos of the event on Social Media using the hashtag #CranleighChristmas.

At 6pm Noddy and Santa officially switch on the Christmas Lights in Fountain Square.

Timetable of events

10am to 1pm – Christmas Tombola at Cranleigh Library

12pm to 7pm – Craft Markets outside Cranleigh Village Hall

2pm to 8pm – Street food and continental market stalls in Stocklund Square

11am to 7pm – Bensons Fun Fair Rides outside Boots and Cranleigh War Memorial

3.30pm to 7pm – Live entertainment in Fountain Square featuring Stagecoach Godalming, Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band, Cranleigh Dance and Theatre Arts, Cranleigh Churches Together, The Wey, Lucina Pearson and SourKix.

5pm to 6pm – Meet Noddy and Santa in Fountain Square

5pm to 5.50pm – Godalming Brass Band in Stocklund Square

6pm – Lights switch-on in Fountain Square

7pm – Special concert by Godalming Brass Band at Cranleigh Methodist Church

Road closures for the Cranleigh Christmas Lights event

Cranleigh High Street will be closed to all traffic from 5pm to 7pm between Knowle Lane and Stocklund Square. The side roads alongside Fountain Square and Cranleigh War Memorial will be closed to all traffic all day.

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Heathrow third runway and Cranleigh

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce watched with interest the announcement of the government’s preferred option for airport expansion this week.

We are pleased that a recommendation for increased aviation capacity has been made at last because Heathrow is already full and Gatwick will be full by 2020.

However, we are concerned that the M25 disruption at Heathrow will make life difficult for our local businesses and hauliers for many years.

We are also concerned that the Heathrow decision could be open to significant legal challenges and may well never happen.

The UK needs increased aviation capacity in the South East as soon as possible and a further long delay resulting in a failure to expand Heathrow will not help our economy.

Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, an independent business led economic partnership driving economic growth in the corridor south of Croydon and north of Brighton, said:

“A third runway at Heathrow is effectively undeliverable.

“Environmentally, 278,000 additional residents in London will be affected by noise and pollution.  That compares to 3,800 should Gatwick expand.

“Heathrow has never, ever met the EU air quality targets while Gatwick has never broken them.  Heathrow simply pays the fines and carries on, leaving itself open to strong legal challenge.

“The Davies Commission asked for no night flights at Heathrow and no worsening in air quality, both of which Heathrow cannot deliver and is open to legal challenge.

“Financially, Heathrow will cost £23 billion of which around £6 billion will come from the public purse.  On the other hand, Gatwick will cost £8bn with no public money needed. We would do better to spend that Heathrow money on hospitals.

“Economically, the Heathrow as a Hub airport case does not stand up.  The future of aviation is Point-to-Point as we see Hub airport activity rapidly declining.

“Hub airports bring little benefit to the UK economy other than to airport retailers while a point to point airport does benefit the wider economy, as passengers’ land and disperse around the country to spend their money.

“Physically, Heathrow does not have the land to expand without destroying a village, digging up the M25 and causing years and years of traffic mayhem.  It could take until 2030 until the first flights take off from a third runway.

“By contrast Gatwick is ready to build with sufficient land already safeguarded south of the airport, agreed by local councils many years ago.

“The cabinet has made a recommendation for Heathrow which cannot be delivered and indeed the likelihood is that it will be scuppered in the next two or three years just like it was in 2003 and again in 2009.

“MP’s, residents, surrounding councils and climate change organisations will mount legal challenges which will effectively end the project.

“Gatwick is deliverable, affordable, far more environmentally acceptable and is ready to go.”

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Free Christmas parking in Cranleigh

Free Christmas parking in CranleighOn Saturday 3rd December residents and visitors will benefit from free parking in all Waverley car parks from 10am, encouraging everyone to do their Christmas shopping in the borough.

The move is part of Small Business Saturday; a national initiative that celebrates small businesses and their successes, as well as encouraging people to shop locally.

Waverley has teamed up with local chambers of commerce to offer the free parking – which will be available in every Waverley owned car park from 10am until 6.30pm – and to help support the borough’s fantastic businesses.

Councillor Jim Edwards, Portfolio Holder for Environment, including car parks, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the chambers to offer this great initiative, which not only benefits residents, but local businesses too. I hope everyone makes a note of Saturday 3 December in their diaries so they don’t miss out on this merry offer.”

Councillor Andrew Bolton, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said:

“This exciting move by Waverley means residents will be able to go on a Christmas shopping spree in the borough, without having to worry about parking charges and rushing back to their cars. It also means they will have a little bit more change to spend on a stocking filler, mince pie or a warming hot chocolate while they’re shopping.

“We hope this will encourage shoppers to support their local economy and explore the borough’s high streets and fantastic shops for longer, taking advantage of some of the festive deals available.”

Richard Graham, President of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Combining this free car parking with the first weekend in December and Small Business Saturday makes real sense and will encourage residents and visitors to spend time in Cranleigh High Street, where they can enjoy the diverse and exciting shopping experience on offer.”

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Learning to win business awards with Christine Martin

Learning to win business awards with Christine MartinOur networking breakfast for October 2016 took us to Wildwood Golf & Country Club.

26 local business owners enjoyed a morning of breakfast and networking, before hearing from Christine Martin, managing director of Travel Retail Training.

Christine introduced the Cranleigh & District Business, Innovation & Growth (BIG) Awards 2017 before sharing her top five tips for winning prestigious business awards.

Members also heard from Roger Coupe about plans for the Cranleigh Christmas Lights switch-on event on 19th November.

The event costs around £10,000 to stage, and Roger updated us on progress with raising money from sponsors. The Chamber is also looking for volunteers who can help with the road closures on the evening.

Our next meeting, and the final one for 2016, takes place on Wednesday 16th November at Rowleys Daycare Centre in Cranleigh.

The speaker for our November breakfast is Martin Bamford, a Chartered Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager and SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser. He specialises in helping clients live well in retirement and make the most of their money in later life.

In his presentation, Martin will be describing the demographic destiny we all face in life and business, how we can live well in retirement, and what the future might look like for an ageing society.

This is a presentation for all ages, young and old, with plenty of practical actions to take away and use in our own businesses.

Space at our November event is limited. You can book your place online now, at only £12 for members and £15 for non-members.

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Cranleigh Christmas Lights 2016

DSC_3747Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce is busy making plans for the annual Christmas Lights Switch-On Event which takes place this year on Saturday 19th November.

Our goal this year is to create a family event with a festive atmosphere and late night shopping. We are getting in touch with our members today to give you advance notice of the date and invite your business to participate.

The centre piece for the event this year is the programme of live entertainment in Fountain Square, starting at 4pm and finishing at 7pm.

The entertainment will be hosted by DJ Simon Rose from Eagle Radio and will feature a variety of local bands and performers.

The lights will be switched on at 6pm; this is 30 minutes earlier than last year to cater for families with younger children.

Cranleigh High Street will be closed from 5pm to 7pm between the Village Hall roundabout and Stocklund Square roundabout, allowing access to both car parks. The service road alongside the War Memorial and alongside Fountain Square will be closed all day. These road closures are important to ensure the safety of visitors to the event.

In addition to the live entertainment, there will also be a food market in Stocklund Square and a range of craft stalls in the area of the Village Hall, as well as the usual fairground rides by the War Memorial and Boots.

It would be fantastic if your business could take part on the day by decorating your window display with a Festive theme, having late night opening hours, running a special promotion or offer for customers, or taking your trading out onto the street (subject of course to the usual rules and permissions).

For any Social Media mentions about the event, please use the hashtag #CranleighChristmas.

The Christmas Lights are expensive to supply and install, so this event relies on the generosity of Chamber members and other local donors.

It will cost us £10,000 this year to display the Christmas Lights and stage the event itself.  Funds raised by members of the Chamber Christmas 100 Club go some way towards covering the cost, but additional financial support and sponsorship is always needed.

We ask local businesses to consider sponsoring the Cranleigh Christmas Lights for £50 or more. Details of the Christmas 100 Club can be found on our website at, including an application for membership.

If you are not already a Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce member, we encourage you to join today. Membership is only £50 a year for businesses with up to 5 employees, and your membership gives the Chamber a stronger voice to represent local enterprise.

We draw our members from all sectors of the business, industrial and trading community ranging from large companies to sole traders, start-ups and retired individuals. Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce is also an affiliated partner of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce.

A new initiative for this year is the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Christmas Window Competition.  More details about this will be published here soon.

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Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce fights for employment land at Hewitts

Objection to Hewitt’s Industrial Estate - Outline Planning ApplicationAhead of next week’s planning appeal, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce has made the case to retain Hewitts Industrial Estate as a key location for a modern business park, encouraging new business start-ups and providing employment in the village for current and new residents.

The Chamber has submitted comprehensive evidence to Waverley Borough Council and the Planning Inspectorate in line with its objective to promote a ‘live local, work local’ community which they claim is imperative to prevent Cranleigh from becoming a dormitory village.

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce claims the case made by Threadneedle Investments to develop the site for housing is unsound.

Evidence has been submitted by the Chamber that without investment in its infrastructure over many years, Hewitts has effectively been run down making it less attractive to business tenants.

Richard Graham, president of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, said:

“There is a tremendous opportunity to develop Hewitts as a business park providing quality office and light industrial accommodation for start-ups and growing businesses in Cranleigh.

“Replacing this site with housing ignores the needs of a buoyant Cranleigh economy and would only add to pressure on the local road network as employees and businesses are forced to commute outside of the village.”

The evidence submitted by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce includes letters of support from businesses who were forced to move reluctantly out of Hewitts.

It also evidences demand for employment space from established growing businesses.

Graham continued:

“Cranleigh is a hotbed of small enterprise which needs space to grow in the future.

“Additionally, considerable new housing development has already been approved in Cranleigh making an even stronger case to retain a business park at Hewitts for many of the new residents who will be seeking local employment or who plan to start their own business.

“Our Cranleigh & District Business, Innovation & Growth Awards and our International Women’s Day business networking events this year have both demonstrated a large number of micro and home based businesses who need suitable premises as they continue to grow.

“Hewitts is the ideal location for small office space and serviced office accommodation which would allow these businesses to prosper in the future, creating more employment for local people and fostering a live local, work local community.”

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