Patrick Masheder combines a career running a health and wellbeing venture with a marketing role that ensures businesses are in the best shape to prosper. He is also chairman of the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Darlington committee. Here, he tells Steven Hugill about the latter role’s rewarding nature and why Darlington’s business environment can be successful in the post- COVID-19 period by channelling the town’s famed ingenuity

Patrick Masheder has to dash.

With his electronic diary impatiently signalling a second reminder, he surrenders to its klaxon call, says his goodbyes and leaves for another appointment.

For a man whose portfolio includes the ever-growing Corporate Personal Fitness (CPF), it’s perhaps no surprise his contacts book is in good shape.

Providing work-based health, fitness and wellbeing programmes, the business has experienced a sharp uptick in demand as firms and individuals flex to combat the mental and physical challenges caused by COVID-19.

Patrick’s energy, though, isn’t limited to workforce welfare.

As founder of Darlington-based Real Results Marketing, he also ensures organisations remain equipped with the necessary tools to succeed in an ever-fluctuating commercial environment.

Furthermore, as the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Darlington committee chairman, Patrick’s dynamism feeds into the town’s business landscape.

With its railway heritage and powerful heavy industrial past – an era preserved in the present by venerable operators such as Cleveland Bridge and engine maker Cummins – Darlington is an important cog driving forward the wheels of domestic and international markets.

Prior to the UK’s COVID-19-enforced lockdown, online retailer Amazon’s headline-grabbing giant delivery centre opening was complemented by the conclusion of work on Feethams House, an £8.5 million, Darlington Borough Council-led venture that offers Grade A office space in the town’s heart.

Elsewhere, where railway sidings once served industries of yesteryear, the Central Park development looked to the future, with the Business Central office complex nurturing start-
up ventures, and Teesside University’s £22 million National Horizons Centre and CPI’s National Biologics Manufacturing Centre shaping the bioscience developments of tomorrow.

Add in further plans to revamp the neighbouring Bank Top railway station and the return of a London link at nearby Teesside International Airport and the landscape appeared particularly fecund.

But, with COVID-19 dramatically altering the environment, particularly in the short-term, as companies wrestle with
the financial and practical challenges affected by the virus, Darlington’s business sector has taken on a new look.

However, despite organisations readdressing their outlooks and many re-evaluating their business models, Patrick says the optimism of early 2020 is still in evidence.

While COVID-19 may have slowed the momentum, he says the town’s underlying positivity and ingenuity – a legacy of its industrial past – leave it well placed to thrive.

“It’s a measure of the region as a whole, but Darlington’s businesses and its people have always had an amazing ability to adjust to circumstances and remain successful,” says Patrick.

“The situation with COVID-19 is no different.

“Darlington has always been an ingenious town,” continues Patrick, who emphasises the point by revealing his CPF venture

launched a wellbeing video programme for employees that now has thousands of subscribers, adding its traditional seminars have been converted into webinars to adapt to the COVID-19 landscape.

“The town is home to the world’s first passenger railway, we had the sprawling sites of the great industrial players like Whessoe, and now we’ve built a reputation as a renowned subsea hub.

“Darlington couples historical inventive spirit with modern- day innovation so well.

“Ingenuity has come to the fore time and again in Darlington and I’m confident it will once more,” adds Patrick, whose CPF endeavour also offers training, a micro-spa, a personal training studio and NVQ courses in areas such as personal training and mental health first-aid.

Patrick, who combines his committee chairmanship with time as a member of the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Council, believes connectivity will be key to ensuring Darlington and its commercial environment flourishes going forward.

“There are two levels of connections; the physical infrastructure and the personal aspect,” says Patrick, whose Real Results Marketing company supports firms such as globally recognised aluminium slatwall and shop fitting manufacturer MicroSlat International Limited.

“Infrastructure is a key element for Darlington, with the redevelopment of Bank Top railway station and the airport’s new London flights both major examples of that,” he continues.

“But the town is also very good at making connections because it is incredibly welcoming of business, people and ideas,” adds Patrick, who took on the role of Darlington committee chairman from Denis Pinnegar in late 2015.
says he is confident Darlington will continue playing a major role in the future successes of the wider North East.

Furthermore, he says he is relishing the prospect of supporting organisations on their respective growth journeys, with his marketing experience providing vital understanding to catalyse their progress.

“Darlington is not a provincial entity; we connect with the rest of the Tees Valley and North East,” says Patrick.

“I love my role with the Chamber – it enables other small and mid-sized businesses to speak out with a powerful voice.

“I am a megaphone for everyone else,” he smiles.

“With Real Results, I’ve worked with big companies right down to small firms, which means I’ve got experience of understanding their needs.

“If you understand businesses, it puts you in an ideal position to help deliver what they want and need,” he continues.

“All businesses want to succeed, whether that is growing profits, or a surplus if you’re a community interest company.

“As a firm, you want to realise your vision and seed that for future success, but you can’t do that in isolation.

“You can only do it by making connections.”

Real Results Marketing

Corporate Personal Fitness