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Durham Business Group unveils rebrand and expansion plans to celebrate 40 years

Networking-to-virtual-office organisation Durham Business Group has celebrated its 40th anniversary with a rebrand launch event at The Riverside in Chester-le-Street – at the same time as unveiling a major expansion of its Portland House HQ in Belmont.

Founded in 1981 as Durham Small Business Club, the present-day Durham Business Group brings together three areas of activity: its virtual office company Durham Office Services; senior directors’ network The Executive Group; and Durham Business Club, the popular region-wide networking organisation that continues to be the group’s main reason for being.

Alison Gittins, Durham Business Group CEO, said:

“Our 40th anniversary year has certainly been more challenging than it might have been, but as 2021 draws to a close we do, like many of our members, have plenty of reasons to be excited and optimistic about the future.

“After 18 months of wholly virtual events it has been a delight to welcome back Durham Business Club and Executive Group members to some of our favourite venues across the county, including enjoying fish and chips at Beamish Museum, networking under the Moon at Durham Cathedral, and having the wonderful team at Durham Cricket host the unveiling of our rebrand.

“Meanwhile, first-time venues like Raby Castle, Durham Wildlife Trust’s Rainton Meadows reserve, and the gorgeous Stirk’s Italian Steakhouse at The Belmont are new favourites that we will surely return to in the future!

“Portland House is the hub of all our Club and wider Durham Business Group activity, and we are delighted to have now taken over the whole of the building. This would not have been possible without a Business Recovery Grant from Durham County Council and Business Durham, and the support of our landlord and biggest champion, Gurpreet Jagpal of Durham Group Estates.

“The ground floor of Portland House will continue to house our reception, phone answering service, meeting rooms, and a suite of tenanted managed offices. In the new upstairs space, we have created further offices for rent, as well as a series of hot desks that can be hired by the day or for longer periods, and that are already proving popular as more and more North East businesses embrace flexible working practices.”

Graham Soult, Durham Business Group vice-chair, added:

“Like any business, we’ve had to work hard to navigate all that Covid has thrown at us, but we end 2021 in high spirits as we celebrate the landmark of our 40th birthday, a brilliant return to in-person events, an exciting future for Portland House, and a rebrand that reflects not just where we’ve come from but also our positivity about the future.

“Inspired by Durham Cathedral’s rose window, our new logo symbolises where we’re rooted, and the community that we’re proud to bring together through Durham Business Club, but at the same time it can also be interpreted as showing people sat around a table. Certainly, our events – which bring people together to connect, chat, make friends, and do business – are why we exist as an organisation, so it makes perfect sense to have embedded that in our brand too.

“Durham Business Club member Sarah Greenwell from Stick Marketing has done a wonderful job of creating a modern and flexible brand that captures all our values, and it was such a pleasure to be able to unveil it in front of members and guests at Durham Cricket, one of our most longstanding members.

“We look forward to celebrating 40 years properly, if belatedly, in 2022, with a black-tie dinner and awards ceremony that will be a celebration of our fantastic Durham Business Group community!”

For more information about Durham Business Group’s work, and to sign up for the latest events, head over to the website at durhambusinessgroup.co.uk.


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