Month: May 2017

There’s a New Resident Business Advisor in Town

Are you really ready to start a business? Do you need someone to talk to about your business or business idea? Starting a business isn’t easy, in fact, we know that it can be so difficult that the process actually puts you off going down the business route. Not to worry – we have a solution. Introducing Chris Rayner, South Kilburn’s latest response to the growing thirst for business in South Kilburn and beyond.


Chris speaks to us about who he is, what he is doing at the Trust and how you can get amazing free, yes, FREE business advice.


Hi Chris, tell us about the service?

We have a business advice drop-in service where you can come and discuss your idea with a business advisor on a one-to-one basis. We can go through anything; your pitfalls, risks, queries, rules and the regulations. Anything you want to ask – we’ve got the experience; from starting a business from scratch and of all the problems and pitfalls, so we try to give you a practical and intelligent guide to running a business.


When did the service become available to South Kilburn Residents?

It’s been available for a little while now. We are working with South Kilburn residents especially Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) residents but the service is available Brent-wide as well as in South Kilburn.


What do you do?

We try to introduce a number of rolling programmes, workshops, industry specific networking events and a set of seminars on business basics. We also have the South Kilburn Studios that are subsidised or free to use. The Studios are also a space that people can come and work in and the workspace there is open to the community. We are trying to marry enterprise with the employment initiatives that South Kilburn Trust have and also create a sense of community by bringing everything together without overly defining it. What we are trying to be is approachable and we are very good at listening.


What kind of individuals and businesses do you typically see?

Well, there isn’t really a typical type of individual or business. People usually start off with having an interest or a hobby. They usually start off with an idea – they see a gap in the market. Certain sectors are favoured; there are people in fashion, music, catering and food, tee-shirts, cupcakes and graphic design. It can be absolutely anything at all; service industry, manufacturing…we will work with anything and everything.


What would you say to somebody who just has an idea, has never had a business and is probably still working?

We deal with pre-start people, people who just have an idea and want to ask a few questions. Business isn’t for everyone but at least we can give you a reasonably pragmatic, impartial opinion and advise you on the right direction to go. We can probably save you some money as some advice will tell you to spend on things you probably don’t need to spend money on. That’s what I wish I had when I started.

You can also come if you’ve already started your business or if you’ve been in business for years. We pretty much can deal with absolutely anything.


How long do you support people for?

It’s ongoing. (Yes, that’s correct – unlimited business support).


Can you tell us about the background of BHP contract?

BHP (Brent Housing Partnership) have allocated some resources to the South Kilburn Trust to support their residents to start a business. That support is ongoing. Brent Housing Partnership are looking to engage with people who want to start a business and within reason, they are leaving it up to us.


Julian Hall is also a Business Advisor and so are you, what’s the difference between the two of you?

We’re pretty much the same. Julian is excellent and has been advising for a while and he deals mostly with the South Kilburn Studio tenants and I’m dealing with the new studio tenants. I’m here three days (Brent-wide) and he is here one day a week.

I’m here Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9:30 – 5pm. I’m usually at South Kilburn Studios. Drop-in is tricky as I can be away for meetings but you can still drop-in. The best thing to do is to contact me by email to book a slot and we can meet at South Kilburn Studios.

I will talk to absolutely anybody within our remit and go through everything. I’ve been through it all myself so I understand how it is when you start out or are already in business.


What’s your background, in a nutshell?

I worked for a large organisation for 10 years and then my wife who’s a designer, started a fashion business. We went into business together to sell her collection directly. We started by selling to some shops and only started to make money after about 5 years. After 15 years we were turning over 3 million a year and had 50 employees. We then sold the business in 1999/2000.

Would you like free business advice? You can contact Chris on or call him on 07469 660 883.

Community Come Together to Shape the Future of Granville

Scores of South Kilburn residents, local organisations and businesses flooded the Granville Centre to hear about the plans to develop the facility into an Enterprise Hub and Community Space. The consultation event, which took place at the Granville Centre from 2pm-8pm on the 24th May, successfully captured the opinions of local people about the proposed plans and facilitated the exchange of ideas about how the space will be used, look and feel.


The event held by Brent Council, South Kilburn Trust (The Partnership) and architects RCKa, showcased visuals of the plans, whilst a walk and talk through the proposed business space gave attendees a real sense and feel of the proposals. RCKa architects were on hand to give one-to-one Q & A sessions and engaged attendees in a variety of practical activities that got their creative juices flowing.


Chief Executive of the South Kilburn Trust, Mark Allan said, “The proposed plans for the Enterprise Hub and Community Space were generally met with positivity with many local people expressing excitement about the centre being brought back to life. There was also a lot of enthusiasm about the opportunities that will become available to the wider community as a direct result of the redevelopment.


“We are very pleased that the community took the time out to attend this significant event and contributed so passionately to proposals – we hope that there will be even more excitement once the refurbishment is brought to completion and the community see some of their ideas come to life.”

Richard Barrett, Brent Council’s Head of Estates Regeneration, said, “We are very pleased with the turnout for the consultation event. The transformation of the Granville Centre into an Enterprise Hub and Community Space will create much – needed long term opportunities in the area, which will not only boost the local economy but also highlight the entrepreneurial spirit of South Kilburn.


“Information gathered from the consultation will be presented to the project board to in turn inform various aspects of the Granville Centre design. Local people that didn’t attend the event but still wish to view the plans and have their say can do so by visiting the consultation website up until the 2nd of June. The Partnership would like to thank everyone that attended the event, your support and insights have been invaluable.”


The plans for the Granville Centre come after a successful joint bid by South Kilburn Trust and Brent Council to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for a grant of £749,058 to maximise the workspace and maintain community use. The refurbishment will make the Granville Centre more accessible for disabled people, as well as create new opportunities for training and employment for local people, something at the heart of our objectives to support the long-term positive change in South Kilburn.


The exhibition boards detailing the proposals can be viewed and commented on online at:


For more information about the development of the Enterprise Hub and Community Space visit:

Smart Summer Shoes – Local Entrepreneur Launches Innovative Shoe Collection

The South Kilburn Trust (SKT) proudly champions the growth and support of local business and enterprise, so we are particularly proud to see that one of our very own entrepreneurs is stepping into the spotlight and is on a very promising path to a successful business.


Meet Beach Society, a new luxury footwear brand founded by local entrepreneur and South Kilburn Studios tenant, Michelle Bailey. This year, Michelle has launched a range of unique wedged summer shoes that are not only stylish but practical too. Inside each shoe there is a cleverly designed and beautifully concealed compartment perfect for keeping credit cards, lipsticks and jewellery. What’s more, the straps come with five interchangeable styles that allow you to change your look without having to buy another pair. Very clever.


“I came up with the idea whilst on holiday,” says Michelle, whose personal experience and love of style is the driving force behind her creation; Michelle struggled to find a stylish high-heeled wedge when she was going on holiday and she knows all too well the price of carrying too many shoes when travelling – this was the springboard for the idea of Beach Society.


Michelle has put a lot of thought into her design by not only making the shoes cost-effective but also safe to wear. “When we designed the shoes we wanted to make them safe to wear by the pool and on boats, so we used Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) for maximum comfort and support. This material is also environmentally friendly and is anti-slip,” says Michelle.


The sophisticated design of Michelle’s shoes will add a touch of French Rivera elegance to any outfit but the prize is the ability to add to your height and keep your cards and lipstick secure, making Beach Society wedges a wise purchase for any style enthusiast. The first Beach Society wedges will feature up to fifteen customisable designs and offer the opportunity for fashionista’s to create exclusive custom designs.

“We are the only company that designs wedges with a hidden compartment and interchangeable straps. Our shoes actually save you money as one pair will buy you several different looks. We also custom-make straps upon request. The hidden compartment is an added bonus. It’s all too easy to lose your jewellery in the water and also to thieves’s who target your belongings. Our shoes are not a wall safe but thieves are more likely to target your bag than your shoes,” says Michelle.


Starting a business has never been easy but with the support of the South Kilburn Trust, who provided Michelle with studio space at the Trust run South Kilburn Studios, Michelle has been able to successfully start her own fashion business.


“Without the support of SKT I would have to work from home. Working alongside other creative businesses is also a benefit”, she adds.


Michelle has also worked with the Trust’s resident Enterprise Advisor, Chris Rayner, who has guided her on her venture. When asked what her top tip was for someone with an idea they want to turn into a business, Michelle said: “Go for it. I know it sounds like a cliché, and believe me it is easier said than done, but in the end what’s the worst that can happen?”


Congratulations Michelle!


You can buy the new Beach Society collection at and order now! Follow Beach Society on twitter @BeachSociety for the latest news.


If you are a South Kilburn resident with a business idea, thinking about starting a business or just starting out, get in touch with us to find out about the many ways we can support you on your business journey.


We also have a special programme for Brent Housing Partnership tenants that live in St Raphael’s estate. For more information about this programme call 07469 660 883 or email


Call us Monday to Friday from 9.30am-5pm on 020 7328 1199 or email us anytime at Follow South Kilburn Trust on twitter; @sktrustnw6, Facebook; @southkilburnnw6 and Instagram; @sktrust to stay up to date with programmes, events and news.



Development of the Granville Centre – Have Your Say!

Did you know that Brent Council in partnership with the South Kilburn Trust were recently funded £750,000 by the Greater London Authority (GLA) to transform the Granville Centre into an Enterprise Hub and Community Space?

We are currently planning what this will look like and are inviting South Kilburn residents, local businesses and organisations to come and have their say about the development of the new Enterprise Hub and Community Space. The consultation event will allow local people to come and hear all about the plans, share ideas and help shape proposals.

The event will be taking place at the Granville Centre on the 24th May from 2pm – 8pm. You can book your place here: Food and refreshments will be available.

If you are unable to attend, exhibition boards can be viewed and commented on online at between the 24th May to 2nd June 2017.

What’s happening at the Granville Centre?

Together with Brent Council and the Mayor of London, South Kilburn Trust is excited to start the development of what will be the new Enterprise Hub and Community Space in South Kilburn. The Trust plans to make the new Granville Centre safer and more accessible for disabled people. Most importantly the new centre will create new opportunities for training and employment, something at the heart of our objectives to support the long-term positive change in South Kilburn.

Want more information? There’s more information about the project here or you can email