Over a 5 year period a young aspiring filmmaker having just graduated from Met Film School London, travelled to Belarus with Debra Brunner and a small cohort of youth workers, long before The Together Plan was ever an entity. He brilliantly captured, frame by frame, our first steps into the world of Jewish Belarus and returned to film with us year on year.
A founder member of the Together Plan’s Youth for Youth project and loyal ambassador, Ben went on to develop his own independent film company Ben Burman Films and joined an established business network called BNI Chipping.
In 2014, Ben invited Debra Brunner to a BNI networking meeting. The Together Plan was only a year old. That meeting was a turning point in the growth of the charity. A 45-second pitch sparked interest from Michael Anvoner of Michael Anvoner & Company Solicitors (wills and probate) who went on to sponsor Debra for a year’s membership to the Chipping Chapter. The following year, David Jacobs of SRJ Accounting Services supported the membership and has helped to bring sponsorship for events year on year. Over the years the Chapter members have helped The Together Plan to grow. In turn, Debra Brunner has developed close connections to the members to enable her to advocate for their businesses and recommend them with confidence. Members have fundraised and attended events. Warren Lipman of Storm IT trekked through Cambodia and scaled the Three Peaks for us, and last year members jumped from 10,000 feet in support. Had it not been for the pandemic lockdown – the second round of skydiving would have taken place in May!! To be continued…(contact us if you would like to jump for us when it is safe to do so)!
With the arrival of Coronavirus, BNI took all of its global Chapters online within the space of a week and have supported members throughout the lockdown with webinars and training. Members of the BNI Chipping Chapter rallied to support the wider community even though their own work had come to a halt.
Hak Huseyin of Absolute Print in Archway along with his business partner Engin Mehmet started to produce masks for care homes and hospitals. But production was slow. So Hak along with Mario Theodorou of APNM Web Design set up a donations page and all the members of BNI Chipping quite literally chipped in so that a new fast cutting machine could be bought. It was a group effort and everyone pulled together to collate and deliver full facial shields, PPE made to WHO specification. Mitchell Harris of Aquasmith Bathroom Installations, Marc Weizman of Village Fabrics Soft Furnishings, Michael Hudson of Hudson Interiors (Decorator) and Fred Ciccone of AA Ciccone (Carpenter, Joiner and Cabinet Maker) led the way in collating the masks into packs and in ensuring they were safely delivered to care homes and hospitals all over London and beyond. Every delivery was made as a donation. Mario meanwhile manned the social media to ensure posts came thick and fast and The Together Plan supported from the wings with guidance on how to drive the campaign. It really was a sterling and selfless effort on the part of the north London business community and I for one (Debra Brunner) was proud to be a part of it. While full-face masks were under production, chapter member Josh Leitner of Evertex Linens adapted his output from banqueting linens to the production of scrubs. As we move into the next phase and we start to take small steps towards coming out of lockdown, Evertex has moved production to branded and unbranded face masks (email us for more information).
As the virus reached its peak and the curve started to take a downward trend, it was decided to cease production and bring the masks campaign to a close. With 6500 masks produced and delivered, it didn’t stop there. Hak Huseyin sold the cutting machine (as new) for £2200 and donated the proceeds to The Together Plan. Job done!
But that’s not all!! The wonderful Lindsey Jacobs of Creative Cuisine cooked continuously day after day to help support the You Donate, We Deliver Campaign which ensured around 2000 freshly cooked meals reached the NHS staff at the height of the pandemic.
During the lockdown, every Friday at 6.30am the members of the BNI Chipping Chapter have met for their regular networking slot. The show went on in the face of adversity and the support for one another abounded.
The full list of the members of the Chipping BNI Chapter can be found here. If indeed you would like an introduction to anyone in the Chapter – please let us know. We would be delighted to broker a connection with pride. Thank you to everyone in the Chipping BNI Chapter for being so cohesive and resilient. Thank you for the fantastic donation, but also for being so outward-looking and supportive of the wider community. Now that’s what we call a GREAT TOGETHER PLAN!