Why are you #ProudtobeFSB?
With the 2022 FSB Volunteers conference happening on Tuesday 8th February, we asked Merewyn Sayers, owner of Sayers Solutions, why she is #ProudtobeFSB (Federation of Small Business).
As a long time member, advocate and volunteer of the FSB, and an elected Area Lead in West Yorkshire, Merewyn believes that they represent the voice of small business to Government and offer the opportunity for people (who run small businesses) to get involved to really make a difference.
Many businesses suffered during the pandemic, but the response from the FSB and our members were instrumental in the Government offering support packages to the self employed.
Merewyn (and home-schooled daughter at the time) took part in the #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign, after the Government announced a raft of measures to support small businesses and their employees through the furlough scheme, but with no mention of support for the self employed.
In West Yorkshire we moved our networking events online immediately, providing a weekly lifeline to those now made to work from home. As well as being a great opportunity to meet other like-minded business people, they also, especially during the early months of the lockdown, provided reassurance that people were not alone, but sharing the experience, preventing isolation from social connection.
Since taking the networking events online, Merewyn has hosted over 75 events, supported by the West Yorkshire Development Manager Barney Mynott, with well over 1000 attendees attending at 10am each Tuesday morning. Being able to do this, connecting with and assisting other small businesses to also do so, makes Merewyn very #ProudtobeFSB.
In addition to the business networking events that Merewyn has been involved with organising since becoming a Volunteer in 2015, Merewyn has been humbled as well as #ProudtobeFSB as a result of the #FSBpants events that have been held over the past few years. These events were in support of the Huddersfield Mission, where attendees were asked to bring new underwear to be donated to the charity who look after the homeless and the most vulnerable in society.
Being an FSB member, volunteer and elected Area Lead in West Yorkshire has also given Merewyn the opportunity to meet and talk with people she wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to, including MPs and Chief Executives of Councils, as well as sit in round table meetings – one of which for example discussed the replacing scheme for the Shared Prosperity fund, feeding back to LEP and other authorities and decision makers.
In the early years of her volunteer activity, a highlight of being branch secretary was the invitation to attend the Annual conference and has journeyed to Glasgow in 2016 and Torquay 2017, where she heard from Government ministers and figureheads within the Federation of Small Business, as well as network with FSB members and volunteers from across the country.
In 2019 and 2020 Merewyn attended the Volunteer Members Conference in London, which were both great opportunities to network and build relationships with fellow members across the country, as well as become informed and motivated to carry out our volunteering duties. Unfortunately because of Covid, this has now become an online event.
In 2021 Merewyn was recognised as a FSB Volunteer Champion for going above and beyond in support of the FSB and its members, and we’re looking forward to this year’s online volunteer conference and delighted to have received our gifts in the post in preparation.
Merewyn also had the great honour of attending the FSB Chairman’s reception drinks at the Houses of Commons in October of last year, as well as appearing on national BBC News, being interviewed about the impact on small businesses following the proposed scaling back of Northern Powerhouse rail and HS2. Alongside other interviews on radio and in newspapers in the past.
Of course, there are also a whole spectrum of benefits included as part of the membership, the FSB is incredible value for the small annual fee.
These include the Legal Helpline for telephone advice and the Legal Hub; on which you will find all the templates and fact sheets that could possibly be needed, and whilst they aren’t tailored to the specific business, they are incredibly useful starting point for anyone running a business.
During the pandemic there were also a variety of hubs created on the FSB website, pulling together supportive and informative material that small businesses needed to survive. This made Sayers Solutions incredibly proud to be associated with the Federation of Small Business and #ProudtobeFSB members.
So its a big thumbs up for the FSB from our end, making us extremely #ProudtobeFSB.
If you would like to know a little more, feel free to take a look at the blog Merewyn wrote back in 2018 when she was first appointed as Area Lead in West Yorkshire, book yourself on to our weekly online networking event on a Tuesday morning, or get in touch for a chat.
Merewyn is not a Membership Advisor, and has no interest in ‘selling’ you membership (in her opinion is sells itself), however if you are interested in becoming a member or at least finding out more about the benefits and how much it might cost, she will be able to put you in touch with someone who can.
If you are already a member (particularly in the West Yorkshire area) and would like to get more involved, please don’t hesitate to get it touch!