Interview Series: Pascale Gravell, Families South West London


Families South West is a family business, ran by husband and wife James and Pascale Gravell together with their team of account managers, designer, writers and a team of roving mums, who scour the area for stories.   30 years ago there were no free magazines like there are now: with no internet or email then, there was a clear need for local information for local mums. The magazine grew from a black and white newsletter packed full of information to what it is now.  Unsurprisingly, the contents haven’t changed dramatically:  they still report on education, local shops, parties, after school activities, holiday activities and of course their most popular What’s on column.

You can find a printed copy in many locations in the SW postcodes, baby shops, nurseries, libraries etc but if you can’t find a copy you can request a FREE digital copy that is designed to be read on a mobile phone.  Simply click here:

We recently collaborated with Families magazine for a column to support the high streets in their September issue. To celebrate their 30th anniversary issue, we had a chat with Pascale:

You have run Families for 30 years, what keeps you going?

We love being part of our community!  We love being able to do our small bit to help mums navigate their busy lives and help local businesses be in touch with them.  We are constantly amazed to see how generous people are with their time and energy to help out in their local communities. The likes of the much loved Trinity Hospice comes to mind first but there are hundreds of charities and causes that benefit. The lockdown was an absolute proof of this, what a show of colours it has been!

What is the focus on Families? Which areas do you cover?

We cover ALL areas of family life: from birth to education, health, parenting, activities, things to do, days out, parties etc.  We have regular features matching the various times of the year, for example half term and holidays or school open days and after school classes in the autumn.

What do you love most about your job?

I have worked in my own time, in my own space for 30 years, I have been able to be present at the school gates morning and evening, everyday of my children’ young lives and that has been a privilege and a joy.

We enjoy being in touch with the local businesses and knowing what’s going on!  We love going on outings and review things on behalf of our readers.

We recently collaborated with you. What do you like about working with us?

Although we cover similar areas and markets we are always happy to collaborate with local groups or businesses as it makes sense to help each other.

How has the recent lockdown affected your business?

We went digital-only from April to August!  While we enjoyed tackling a new way of publishing we all think that print is best;)    No app can replace a hard copy where mums can circle the events they want to go to or stick a sheet of the magazine on their fridge!  Mums tell us they spend too long on their phones and enjoy their printed magazine.

Where do you see your business in 10 years?

Families has survived several recessions in 30 years; it will survive a pandemic, long live Families!

How you manage work life balance- any tips?

We work from home and as everyone has discovered by now, it is a wonderful way to be totally available for our children, during sickness or inset days!  We had to sometimes work into the night to make up for lost time, but it was most definitely worth it.  My tip?  If you can afford it work part time or not too long hours.  Life is for living.

What do you love about the Clapham area?

I love Northcote Road—it was particularly enjoyable when it was closed for traffic, I hope this will happen again!

To subscribe to the FREE digital version of Families South West click here:

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