The Blackdown Hills Business Association (BHBA) is a not-for-profit membership based organisation supporting the fantastic array of businesses that operate within the Blackdown Hills and the surrounding market towns and villages of East Devon, Mid Devon, West Dorset, South Somerset and Taunton Deane.
The Blackdown Hills has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for over 25 years and is proud to celebrate the diversity of local services and skills provided, from micro business to small, medium and larger enterprises.
The vision of the BHBA has always been to help achieve a vital, vibrant, successful and sustainable economy within the Blackdown Hills, with the purpose to provide a relaxed and supportive environment in which businesses serving the Blackdown Hills can learn, connect and grow together.
The Blackdown Hills Business Association aims to:
- Promote the skills and expertise of all businesses in the Blackdown Hills
- Support the development and needs of businesses that contribute so much to the prosperity of the area
- Engage with the local communities and visitors in the area
- Connect and build partnerships with organisations outside the Blackdown Hills
- Members to have exclusive access to networking and social events, industry news, funding and growth support, member-to-member offers, access to local training workshops and an array of marketing opportunities.
Meet the board members
Heather Stallard MBE
Chairman & Founder
Heather has lived...
Heather is currently Chairman and founder of the BHBA, as well as Chairman of the Dunkeswell Eco Park, the Hemyock Parish Council, the Blackdown Hills Parish Network, the Upper Culm Community Land Trust, the Garages Youth Centre and a member of the A.O.N.B. Management Group. She was co-founder and remains a Trustee of the Blackdown Support Group. Heather was made an M.B.E. in 2006.
Prior to Twistgates...
David has lived...
This followed a career in the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and responsibility for developing the SW Region’s Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food in 2004. During that career he undertook a secondment for three years (1995 -1998) as Chief Executive of the UK’s Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group with 130 staff and 300 volunteers. In 2001 he was seconded to run the foot and mouth operation in Somerset from Culmhead.
David brings recruitment, staff management and organisational skills to the BHBA as well as copy editing and proof reading capability. His practical skills were put to good use in preparing some of the workshop and office space for letting at Dunkeswell Eco-Business Park
Steve is a...
Rebecca and her family...
Seven years ago Rebecca set up a small diversification business on her parents dairy farm, to help stabilise the volatile milk price; Otter Valley Dairy was born – it has been hugely successful and they attract both local customers and holiday customers from all over the world. These holiday customers are always in awe of the beautiful surroundings and they do their best to inform them about the Blackdown Hills and the wonderful businesses within it.
Before setting up the company 7 years ago – Rebecca worked for 6 years in Marketing, gaining her qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Marketing -she is pleased to bring these skills to the BHBA. You can follow her on Twitter @ottervalleydairy.
Emma grew up...
The BHBA has been incredibly supportive to Emma and her business since 2013 and in 2016, she volunteered to become a BHBA Board Member. Knowing how challenging and isolating self‑employment can be at times, as a ‘peoples person’ she hopes to bring a heart and soul element to the table encouraging entrepreneurs not to lose sight of their overall well-being, and also encourage inter-business connectedness and support.
Gemma moved to
Gemma moved to the Blackdown Hills in 2012, to live on her husband’s family farm. Having successfully run her own businesses in events and as an agricultural advisor since moving to the Blackdown Hills, Gemma took on the role of Blackdown Hills Business Association Coordinator in March 2018, having been a member since 2013. Gemma organises the BHBA events, meetings, workshops and directory and of course the flagship event, the Blackdown Hills Marquee at the Honiton Show.