2021 goals: West Essex entrepreneurs share their new year ambitions

Avril Mill with Lydia Lucy at a previous Dream Factory fundraiser (photo courtesy of The Dream Facto

Avril Mill with Lydia Lucy at a previous Dream Factory fundraiser (photo courtesy of The Dream Factory) - Credit: Archant

After a difficult year it’s time to view the future with hope and optimism, and these three local people, hit hard by the pandemic, share their aspirations for the coming months

Julian has found it really positive to hear that most clients will be booking with Abbotts Travel as

Julian has found it really positive to hear that most clients will be booking with Abbotts Travel as soon as it’s possible (photo courtesy of Julian Abbott) - Credit: Archant

Avril Mill, founder of The Dream Factory

For my personal New Year Honours list I would like to acknowledge my volunteer friend Anabel Lawrenson. We’ve known each other for more than 25 years and she was my rock when my son Oliver fought Leukaemia for six years and sadly died aged only nine years old. The Dream Factory was founded in his memory.

The pandemic has meant that all of our fundraising events in 2020 were cancelled – golf days, a garden party, a ladies lunch, marathons and the children’s Christmas party. A big loss for us, possibly £70k or even more, which makes a difference to what we can do. Quite simply we are not bringing in the funds we need to sustain the amount of ‘dreams’ we want to grant. There are hundreds of children and young adults with life-threatening illnesses and severe disabilities who need The Dream Factory.

One thing we were able to do was grant doorstep dreams where we can socially distance at the door. In fact we did our 500th dream this way just before Christmas!

My hope for 2021 is that we will be able to get back to being able to work as we did before, to bring in the funds we need to grant all the dreams we’ve had to put on hold or postpone – we currently have 40 outstanding dreams we need to fulfil.

If we want to carry on the good work and grant many more dreams we need some large donations, along with more community fundraising. But people have been so kind and generous to us in the past, I am confident it will be forthcoming.

Julian Abbott of Abbotts Travel in South Woodford

The Repose team (photo courtesy of Repose)

The Repose team (photo courtesy of Repose) - Credit: Archant

Although the travel restrictions around Covid have had a huge impact on the travel industry, with virtually no holidays being completed since March 2020, a personal positive in all this has been being able to spend huge amounts of time with my eldest daughter who has been assisting me in the agency while she searches for a job post-degree.

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Also, the support, well-wishes and appreciation from our clients has provided an enormous boost to morale. It’s been really positive to hear that most clients will be booking with us just as soon as it’s possible.

Obviously, with the vaccine being rolled out before the end of last year I am hoping that by this Easter business, and life, will have returned to some kind of normality. I’m sure the vaccine will be a game changer for most businesses. I’m certainly looking forward to taking an overseas holiday – winter sports beckon!

For my New Year Honours list I would like to start by paying tribute to my staff, four of whom have worked for me for more than 20 years, and in particular to my manageress, Sharron Roat, and my PA Rosemary Derham, who have both worked tirelessly unravelling thousands of cancelled holidays, assisting with the repatriation of stranded customers and obtaining refunds from all of our suppliers. They really have been super stars.

Glenys Reynolds of fitness studio Repose in Buckhurst Hill

I am so thankful to every single member of Repose who lifted us up with kindness, support and love during lockdown, even when we couldn’t see them. We had a continual stream of messages giving us heartfelt feedback on what Repose means to them and how it has helped them in some way.

The Repose team – Rachel, Kelly, Nadine, Jackie and Lisa – also had a very difficult time and, between them, pulled together to create an even better magic than we had before. I need to acknowledge that.

For me, 2021 will be a mindset change. I want to bring a more natural, holistic approach to my own life, and to feed that through to our members. I’ll be exploring the ground-breaking results published in medical journals explaining about how we see ourselves and how this has a direct impact on our health and wellbeing. The reports also observe that we have incredible potential for healing and an abundance of energy that we don’t utilise, simply because we have not been told how. My aspiration for 2021 is to translate this science into our everyday lives.

Quite simply, I am very much looking forward, and that’s it. I hope we change every conversation about fear, illness or what’s right or wrong and bring joy back into our lives. Science tells us that stress shuts off our immune response, and happiness elevates it to its optimum, so understanding what causes stress in our environment needs to be the most essential change in 2021.