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News > Alumni News > That's the spirit! Old Stop drives local business through community events hub

That's the spirit! Old Stop drives local business through community events hub

Find out how Joanna Boon (OS 2013) is supporting independents across Manchester
29 Jan 2024
Alumni News

             

We recently caught up with Joanna Boon (OS 2013), Director of Burton Road Events, a community venture that aims to bring people together to network and support local enterprises on Burton Road, located in the heart of Didsbury. Burton Road is known as Manchester's independent business district sporting multiple start-ups and without a chain in sight. The Street has grown rapidly and is home to a huge variety of bars and restaurants, independent boutiques, a chocolatier, games cafe and one mock Tudor pub which used to be an inn for coaches to change horses. 

Joanna shared what she most loves about Burton Road and said “it is entirely made up of independently owned businesses, which makes it a great place to live and attracts people from all over to visit. There's such a community feel to the place, with lots of the business owners working collaboratively. On any given night, there's at least one place with a quiz and another with live music. To be able to stroll out of your front door and have access to so much going on is wonderful”.

Her support for the local community involves working closely with these small businesses and independent entrepreneurs for each event she manages: birthdays, anniversaries, children's parties, business launches, training days or networking events. Furthermore, Joanna sources sustainable materials wherever possible to ensure the event is created in an environmentally conscious way, something we know SGS's Eco Schools Committee is very proud to hear.

When asked what motivates Joanna to support her local neighbourhood, she explained, “I grew up in this area and it's wonderful to be able to give something back. So many businesses struggled through lockdown, and have faced challenging times since. Part of my role is getting to the heart of what small businesses need. Whilst many fill up at weekends, they struggle on weeknight evenings and lunch times. I run creative writing classes on Tuesdays, socials on Thursdays and networking lunches on Fridays to help fill spaces when they most need it. Every business owner is working enormously hard to make it work, so being able to support that vision - even in a small way - is rewarding!”.

                              

All events are hosted at independently owned venues and are designed to develop community connection and wellbeing. These are themed around social connection with the purpose of business networking and more generally, bringing people together to have a great time!                             

A number of Marketing Services are also on offer, aiming to support small businesses and start-ups with website design, advertising, social media content and more.

Burton Road Events will be hosting a “How To Start a Business” event on Thursday 11th April at 7.30pm. A date for the calendar for those with an entrepreneurial spirit! This event will include discussions from a number of expert panellists covering everything you need to know about starting your own business. From finances to goal setting, through to legalities and knowing where to find support in Manchester.

Event: How To Start A Business
Date: Thursday 11th April, 7.30pm
Venue: Wine and Wallop, West Didsbury
Tickets: Free to attend for Old Stops using code 'SGS'.

More details about this event and how to book can be found here.

               

What makes Joanna so passionate about Burton Road Events, she said, is “fundamentally, the business helps me to create social connections. The modern world can be lonely and the reasons people feel isolated vary from relocation through to the pressures of work. I’m proud to have organised events where people have been able to find support and make new friends. One trio met at one of my supper clubs in summer and have since been travelling together. A lot of traditional meeting places: youth centres, working clubs, religious venues etc. are sadly closing - it's time to create something new! The world can often feel polarised, so creating a sense of community connection has never been more important.”

If you are keen to know more about the wonderful work Burton Road Events are involved with, please visit their website or alternatively find them on Instagram @burton_road.

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