Glamorous Gatsby-themed weekend

The annual Independent Network Members’ Weekend is a hotly anticipated event for installer and fabricator members; a once-a-year calendar highlight where members get together, catch up, talk shop, and have some fun.

This year’s Great Gatsby theme provided the perfect backdrop for the action-packed occasion, and just like any literary or cinematic masterpiece, the weekend had a perfectly thought-out beginning, middle, and end.

On location at the Queen’s Hotel, Leeds, the event started as with the Affiliates Business Centre, where delegates could explore products and services of 25 Independent Network affiliate partners and discuss all the advantages available for Network members when it comes to compliance, websites, qualifications, sales training, workwear, recycling, business coaching, conservatory roofs, hardware, installer products, and more.

Karen Lund, head of partner programmes, said: “One of the major perks of being a part of Independent Network is the ability for companies to retain their individuality within their own regions, while having the backing of a national organisation, and the buying power that comes with that. As such, the Affiliates Business Centre is unsurprisingly a major attraction of the event, with so many partners all in one place to offer deals, discounts, and development hints and tips for the year ahead.”

Next, Veka UK Group MD Dave Jones welcomed members to the official AGM: Graham Fitton, finance director outlined the accounts for the past 12 months; marketing director Dawn Stockell gave the latest Independent Network branding information and marketing news; sales director Neil Evans gave his industry insight into fenestration and environmental sustainability; and new for 2019 was an interactive Q&A with members to share ideas and information.

After a short interval, and a costume change, the Awards Evening and Gala Dinner were next on the agenda. This year, the host was film and television star Warwick Davis, with movie credits that include Willow, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, plus television roles in Life’s Too Short, Extras, and his current Tenable quiz show.

“The awards are based on customer satisfaction surveys that must be completed by every consumer that chooses an Independent Network Member for an installation throughout the year, no matter the size of the project,” Karen said. “Value of sales, quantity and quality of projects completed, and also the outstanding achievements of individual members staff, are all taken into consideration by the judges.

“The presentation is a highly anticipated part of the weekend, with winners genuinely unaware of their success until their names are called out by the host. As this year’s theme was Great Gatsby, we were thrilled to have a real-life movie star take to the stage and lead the proceedings.”

National Award winners were: Mews Windows; Mister Window Company; Eddisbury Construction Co; Rugby Double Glazing; Goliath Homeworld Limited and Hallmark Windows (Harrogate); Heavers of Bridport; Frames Conservatories Direct.

The 100% Customer Satisfaction Award went to Cowen Windows.

Sales Representative of the Year was Adam Hammill of BH Solutions (t/a The Home Design Group).

And Fitter of the Year was Nick Burtin-Legge from J&P Home Improvements.

On handing out the awards, Warwick Davis said: “It’s impressive to be nominated among such professional company, so being named a winner is an achievement indeed. Congratulations to all. I’ve been really impressed with everything I’ve seen, and have enjoyed celebrating and being a part of the Network for the evening.”

The weekend wouldn’t be complete without cutting some shapes on the dance floor, raising a glass (or two) with friends, and drumming up some money for charity. With generous donations to the table collections – plus proceeds from a raffle and auction – £5,500 was raised for this year’s nominated charities: From Russia with Hope, and We Mind and Kelly Matters.

Independent Network would like to thank the weekend’s main sponsor Fensa, and Chick Plastics, Dugdale, ERA, EWS Manufacturing, Glazerite, GQA, Prefix, and Renolit.