Today I had the pleasure of showing Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, the investment he made in Hornchurch High Street when he was Mayor of London. Arriving in Hornchurch just a day before Small Business Saturday, I took the chance to show Boris some of the wonderful shops and businesses that give life to the town centre. Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.
We were joined by Havering Leader, Cllr Roger Ramsey, and local Conservative council candidates, Dominic Swan, Richard Rimkus and Chris Sutton, who talked to Boris about how the grant from the Mayor's Outer London Fund six years ago had been put to good use. Havering Council received £217,000 through the first round of the Mayor’s Outer London Fund to speed up a long-term plan of improvements to Hornchurch town centre being funded by the borough. The Mayor’s investment supported a package of physical improvements to streets and local businesses to boost trade which has slowed due to the economic downturn.
First stop on Boris' tour was well-known family bakery, Godrey's of Hornchurch, which supplies its delicious cakes, pastries and pies to local shops from its big bakery in Ardleigh Green.
We then chatted to Hornchurch's PCSO and policing team before heading into Final Checks, a fantastic young business run by local businesswoman and professional make-up artist, Danielle Everitt. Final Checks provides hair and make-up services to customers of every age, as well as professional training and masterclasses to those who want to perfect their own make-up skills. Danielle talked to Boris about how she tries to tackle online bullying and help customers get back on their feet after periods of ill health by giving them renewed confidence in how they look and feel.
Finally, we popped into Fleur Couture, the Dog Shop and by local estate agent, Beresfords, before Boris had to head off. Amidst a flurry of selfie requests from shoppers, Boris was delighted to have been able to see such a thriving hub of shops and businesses, and welcomed the chance to promote the high street in time for tomorrow's Small Business Saturday celebrations.