Essex business leaders dress down for alternative networking event ‘I Roll Up My Sleeves’

From left, Trish Bradwell of Cat In The Box Media Management, Darren Bradwell, co-founder of I Roll

From left, Trish Bradwell of Cat In The Box Media Management, Darren Bradwell, co-founder of I Roll Up My Sleeves, Martin Collins from Highview Drones and Abi Barrett from the Samaritans - Credit: Archant

Sharp suits were out and jeans, wellies and gardening gloves in as businessmen and women took part in “I Roll Up My Sleeves”, a new community networking event in Colchester.

Ellie Goff of the Wellies-On Community Interest Company

Ellie Goff of the Wellies-On Community Interest Company - Credit: Archant

The alternative approach to networking combines an opportunity to meet up with other business leaders with voluntary work to help the Wellies-On Comunity Interest Company’s care farm at Abberton.

The farm provides animal- and nature-based therapeutic sessions people with mental-health problems and learning issues.

Darren Bradwell, co-founder for I Roll Up My Sleeves in Essex, said: “We have been successfully running events in Suffolk for a year now and have attracted a significant sponsor in the shape of financial services firm Scrutton Bland.

“We decided the time was ripe for spreading into Essex and have started to hold meetings in Colchester. There are also plans to open in Southend so businesses in the south of the county can get involved.

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“The feedback we have had is tremendous. Doing a bit of manual work elbow to elbow with other professionals more used to sitting in an office is a great icebreaker.”

Wellies-On CIC is located at Butterfly Lodge on the Mersea Road. Ellie Goff, who runs the farm with husband Warren, said: “I think the networking events are a great idea for business professionals and our service users get to benefit. It’s win win!

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“Types of tasks business people get involved in often include a bit of manual labour, if the weather is good, but we offer plenty of other indoor tasks that help us – and yes, that could include mucking out animals but it could just as easily be repairing horse blankets.

“When you run a care business that relies a lot on the good will of the public you are always grateful to those who are game enough give up their time to help out. Thank you.”

If you want to get your hands dirty too, visit or call Darren Bradwell on 07956 856571.

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