As a classically trained chef coming from the world of product development (creating food and drink products for start-up brands and supermarket retailers), I live and breathe food, creativity, and the joy of bringing people together by eating fabulous food.
The transition to this new role at Patch was driven by a wish to foster local connections and support fellow Essex-based entrepreneurs.
Leaning into my Greek-Cypriot heritage, I wanted to build a space which would exemplify the Mediterranean tradition of hospitality, offering an open seat and welcoming meal to anyone who crosses our path. Mediterranean culture is known for its warm hospitality and strong sense of community, something I hoped to bring to the first Patch location.
Building a Better Future
My decision to join Patch was driven by a desire for change, with my heart set on a local community-facing role that would allow me to be surrounded by people on a daily basis. Having spent years in the hospitality industry, I thrived on the energy of making people's days brighter.
The journey from London commuter to a Patch team member was a step towards building a better future in this new city I now call home. Patch's ambitious plans and commitment to redefining work, supporting local businesses, and creating vibrant high streets echoed my own beliefs. It was a place where the idea of a balanced life filled with purpose and meaningful work wasn't just a dream - it was a reality we would collectively try to create.
A New Lifestyle
Leaving the hustle and bustle of London behind, I set out to find a life with a more balanced rhythm. Life shouldn’t stop when you move outside of a huge city like London, commuter towns have so much to offer and so Chelmsford became my new home, offering the best of both worlds - a city's convenience and the tranquillity of the countryside. In conjunction with my role at Patch, I dreamed of starting "Eat by Elle," a boutique product-based business inspired by my Greek-Cypriot heritage.
My vision was to offer artisan handcrafted products, including award-winning marmalade, jam, chutneys, and small batch granola, using the fantastic home-grown fruits and vegetables Essex has to offer, as a celebration of local produce.
Living in Chelmsford gives me access to fantastic local farm shops with fresh, quality products, cutting out huge retailers and supporting the small producer - a step towards a more sustainable, mindful way of living that Patch inherently values. Patch not only supported my entrepreneurial journey but encouraged it, stocking my award-winning Seville Orange marmalade in our pop-up market, our retail offering celebrating locally made products.
A Seat at the Chef's Table
The term "community" is a versatile and often loosely used word that carries different meanings for different individuals. It can encompass a wide range of concepts, from geographical neighbourhoods and shared interests to workplace connections and online networks. For me, what makes a community meaningful is the shared sense of belonging, purpose, and mutual support, regardless of its specific context.
The heart of my vision was to return to customer interaction - a place where I thrived. Patch shared this vision, emphasising the importance of community and face-to-face engagement. For me, it wasn't just about another job; it was an opportunity for a new start, contributing to both the foundations and growth for the future Community & Event Executives at Patch.
Shared Values and a Sense of Purpose
I'm a strong advocate for the evolving world of work, supporting local businesses, embracing small-scale makers, and reinvigorating our high streets. Patch not only shares these values but encourages a balanced life, where each day is filled with purpose, reflecting the belief that improving people's lives should go hand in hand with your working rhythm. In Chelmsford, I found a community that shared these values and a space where I could bring them to life, having the privilege of supporting local businesses and emerging entrepreneurs, not just with our members but the wider local Chelmsford community.
Our collective vision was always to create and host events that foster meaningful connections, emphasising the significance of face-to-face interaction. We’ve created a vibrant, connected community where individuals with diverse backgrounds and aspirations find common ground in our high street hub, the former Grays Yard Brewery. These events forge new connections, sparking collaborations and relationships that might not have otherwise occurred.
We recognise the changing landscape of work, encouraging communities to support local businesses, with a focus on breathing life back into our high streets. Facilitating the growth of local knitter Natalie Selles’ knitting group and the increasing attendance at Rosemary Cunningham’s monthly Winning Women networking group through our accessible profit share event space hire offering has just been brilliant. We’re here to make an impact and I hope we’re doing just that. Working alongside Site Director Naomi, who is well-versed in all things co-working, we’re on a journey to create meaningful connections, host events and nurture a Chelmsford community. If you’ve got an idea, we’d love to work with you to bring it to life!