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Ilkley Business Network marks coming of age

Mike Davies MBE (centre) with members of Enterprise BNI Ilkley

An Ilkley business network is marking its 21st anniversary with a five-figure fundraising challenge for a Yorkshire children’s charity.


Enterprise BNI Ilkley has pledged to raise £15,000 in the next 12 months for The Principle Trust Children’s Charity, which provides free respite breaks for children who are underprivileged, disadvantaged, disabled, have life-limiting conditions, or who have experienced poverty, trauma or abuse.


Founded in June 2003, BNI Ilkley meets weekly online and once per month at Ilkley’s Craiglands Hotel; all members trade within and around the LS29 postcode area.


Over the past six years the group has raised over £76,000 for the Skipton-based charity, funding respite breaks for more than 150 disadvantaged, disabled and poorly children across the Yorkshire region.


On 14 July, group members Megan Hall of FB Mortgages and Graham Carney of Ilkley Properties, will kick start the five-figure fundraising challenge when they take part in Ilkley Half Marathon.


Founding member of BNI Ilkley Rich Hayden, who runs digital agency Made By 7, is a patron and long-standing supporter of the charity; other BNI businesses and patrons of the charity are Bathe of Wharfedale, Tax Assist Accountants Print Crew, and Knight Engineers.


Since the group’s first meeting in 2003, members have generated over £39m in business through targeted referrals. The largest known single piece of work secured through the group was €500,000 contract.


To avoid conflict, membership is limited just one industry specialist in each business category. Members are drawn from all sectors including accountancy, legal services, printing, retail, marketing and event hire.


During the pandemic the group continued to meet online, supporting member businesses through their toughest ever trading period.


Speaking at the group’s 21st anniversary meeting Rich Hayden commented: “We’re delighted to be celebrating 21 years of Ilkley BNI by renewing our longstanding commitment to The Principle Trust; our members are proud to support their work with disadvantaged children across Yorkshire.”


Founder of The Principle Trust, Mike Davies, MBE added: “We continue to be indebted to members of BNI Ilkley; thanks to them The Trust has been able to help scores of disadvantaged, disabled and poorly children to escape their everyday troubles and create valuable, happy memories.


“Since 2011 the Trust has raised over £1.7m and provided free respite breaks to more than 5000 children. In 2024 we will provide over 200 families with a week-long respite holiday”.


BNI Ilkley meets every Thursday from 6:30am to 8:30am; on the first Thursday of each month meetings are face-to-face at the Craiglands Hotel (another Patron of the charity); other weekly meetings are online.


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