I was honoured to be shortlisted for a local Business Award this year and I was really shocked to win! Seven local businesses in the Lewisham area were given a Mayor’s Business Awards at a ceremony held at the Civic Suite in Catford on 9 November 2018.
The awards were an opportunity for local businesses to celebrate their successes and to increase their profile in the community. This year prizes were given out for seven categories and the winners were decided by a panel, including professional business advisers.
Best Business Person – Sarah Lucy Yoga
I was really proud to win Best Business Person for the work I do in the local area and the positive feedback received. The panel praised the development of the business over almost 2 years of operating, through growing the number of classes, exposure in the local area and London and work done in other yoga related activities through blogging and social media.
Best Food and Drink – Aga’s Little Deli
Forest Hill-based Aga’s Little Deli was nominated by a customer who has been visiting the deli since it first opened. The panel picked them as their winner after hearing the customer praise that was heaped on the deli for its customer service. As a truly customer-centric business, the deli has been known to deliver food to University Hospital Lewisham, free of charge, when the patron’s husband was admitted after suffering from a stroke.
Best Creative Business – Aldworth James & Bond
Aldworth James & Bond is a specialist fabrication company based in Deptford. They design and build a wide range of quality, modern-looking products from furniture to exhibition installations to temporary structures, and can count Google, Marks and Spencer and the V&A among their clients. As Living Wage employers that draw many of their staff from the borough, they are also a large contributor to the local economy.
Best Independent Business – Ignition Brewery
Operating out of the Sydenham Centre, Ignition Brewery has been producing delicious beer since 2015 and has quickly become a valued and well-embedded part of the local community. The brewery offers training and employment to residents with learning disabilities and pays them at the London Living Wage. As well has selling their products in local pubs and retailers, Ignition has recently opened their own tap room.
Best Environmental Champion – Parlez
Owners of the Brockley-based Parlez have demonstrated that they understand their environmental impact and have integrated environmental matters into the core of their business. The mayor chose them as the winner as they have supported FoodCycle Lewisham as their charity since 2017, and have promoted many other environmental schemes, such as the Lee Greens organic bag scheme.
Best London Living Wage Employer – Bottle Bar and Shop
Bursting onto the Catford Broadway scene just last year, Bottle Bar and Shop provides bottled cocktails, a selection of wines and craft beers as well as hosting tastings and meet-the-brewer events. Importantly, they decided to become an accredited London Living Wage employer, paying all their staff at least £10.55 an hour. This is especially impressive in a sector that has an extremely tight bottom line and is notorious for low pay.
Best New Business – Rodney’s Cake House
Rodney’s Cake House was praised by the panel for their growth in notoriously difficult field to break into. The Cake House's 19-year-old owner, Mia Rodney, has provided a great example of how a strong social media presence can really help your business thrive. As well as catching the attention of local residents, Rodney’s has also received attention from celebrities including grime artist Big Narstie.
Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said, ‘It was a really difficult process to decide who won and each nominated business should be immensely proud for being shortlisted in what was our strongest year for nominations.
‘Lewisham has the highest number of small/micro businesses within London and one of the largest groups of employees within the borough are those listed as self-employed. Our community relies on these thriving and innovative local businesses.’
I had a lovely afternoon at the award ceremony and it was great to meet local business owners from the area who are so passionate about what they do.
This has been a really proud moment for Sarah Lucy Yoga. I have loved building up the business over the last few years so it is great to be recognised and see things are going well.