Local businesses working
BBQ a great success
July 27th 2013
We would like to extend our thanks to both Lara and Oliver Madge from Park Mill Farm and also to Mark Hazel from Mark Hazel's Gunroom for a fine evening of food, drink and shooting on Thursday 25th. Twenty members and guests filled up on some gorgeous home-produced rare-breed sausages and burgers, salads (which were even popular with the men!) and then most people had a go on the clay pigeon shooting stand so ably run by Mark Hazel.
In fact if my calculations are correct more ladies than men tried the shooting! Says something, but I'm not sure what. The air rifle shooting was also very popular and quite tricky as most people discovered.
This event follows hard on the heels of the lovely wine and food tasting at Cicada Deli which was also a great success.
The next chamber event is a breakfast at the Tortworth Farm shop (bookable here) which as well as being a very fine breakfast and networking event, is also well worth attending for anyone who even remotely uses the internet to sell, market or advertise products or services. Should be a good one. Please bring guests if you like.
July 24th 2013
This week I had a very good meeting with Carole Garfield (whom some of you met last week) from Stroud Chamber of Commerce. Her team along with representatives from the council here in Wotton are putting ideas and resources together to give free publicity and promotion for products and services in Wotton-under-Edge under the In Our Towns campaign. From what I can see the publicity will include press, print and various tourist and local websites. There is money being thrown at this so I suggest any local business wanting to promote itself to use it.
This includes promoting events such as (for example) The Swan Blues Nights, The Falcon Steakhouse Special Offers, Cicada Deli Wine Tastings, various Chamber of Trade events, offers and new products for our local shops, the new 'Piggery' Cafe at the Farm Shop, weddings at Park Mill Farm, you name it, they will promote it.
This initiative is designed to prompt tourists to both visit local towns but also for local people to use their high street!
So any business or organisation, pool, cinema, arts, shop, service, dentist....et al, contact Carole to promote any event and try to give it a local flavour.
This is not in any way restricted to the Chamber of Trade, so GO FOT IT!
Carole's contact details are on the In Our Towns link here and above.
Chamber Update & Christmas Trees
July 12th 2013
As many of you you know, for some years now the Wotton Chamber of Trade has administered and facilitated the putting up and taking down of Christmas Trees on the shop premises in Wotton. Recently the cost of these trees has been borne by you the traders, and commercial firms on the main streets, with additional costs, such as paying for them to be installed, being subsidised by the Chamber. This additional cost can run into many hundreds of pounds.
The decision has been taken by the committee that the Chamber is no longer in the position to continue this. We don't feel that it is - or indeed ever has been - the actual responsibility of the Chamber to decorate the streets to the benefit of all. The membership demographic of the Chamber has also changed, with the majority of the membership not now being traders. As such the committee is now made up of fewer traders than before which reflects this changing demographic.
Membership institutions like the Chamber are driven by one thing and one thing only, their membership. I would urge traders that if they wish for a more collective voice to join the chamber, or if already a member, seek to join the committee. This way we will achieve the right balance. The Chamber exists for the furtherance and promotion of businesses interests in the town, and therefore the good of the town as a whole.
However in recent years the Chamber has become bogged down with managing things like the Christmas trees, and whilst this is done in good faith, it detracts us from what we need to be doing collectively as a business community to survive.
However, the Chamber is not inactive in these matters and has recently donated £750 to Wotton in Bloom, which is something we can all enjoy. In addition to this, the Chamber is running a series of events throughout 2013 including business breakfasts with useful free business advice, evening events such as skittles and wine tasting, and the Chamber is planning a large Christmas event for members this year too. On July 25th a BBQ and 'have a go' clay pigeon shoot is being held at Park Mill Farm.
In 2014 we are looking to introduce a Bursary provisionally entitled 'Chamber of Dragons' named after the TV show of a similar name. This will be to encourage young entrepreneurs in the town to come up with business ideas, which a panel will judge. Details of all this can be found in the directory.
The chamber has also this year donated money to the Scouts, and to the Jason Moir foundation.
Happy trading and on behalf of the committee I wish you a prosperous summer.
Duncan Elliott - President
Gas works in Long Street Wotton - delay agreed
May 30th 2013
Thanks to our County Councillor Dr John Cordwell for the following information:
At a meeting last month, Wotton Town Council had received an e-mail from Dafydd Bowen of Wales and West Utilities. It said that they had re-planned their gas mains replacement works for Long Street with a proposed start date of 2nd September; suggesting a meeting the following week to discuss these “up and coming works”.
Bearing in mind the previous local view that the best time to start the works was early January 2014 and that on previous estimates a closure starting in September could well last into December, the Town Council responded to Wales and West reminding them of the required start date and declining the offer of the meeting. Previously it had also been agreed not to carry out the work whilst there are other road closures in the town. John is not yet aware of an end date for the Old London Road closure.
The council were also enquiring of Wales and West what the trial holes discovered.
John is now able to report that the comments have been noted and that the work is indeed to be postponed until January 2014. A meeting will be arranged in due course to discuss the proposed works and the road closure which will be necessary due to the location of the gas main and the requirement for a safe and secure working environment..
Wotton High Street is bucking the trend
February 25th 2013
See the pdf below for a report in the Gazette about how some of Wotton's businesses are reporting good trading for Christmas 2012
More Information : Click to view PDF
Report on the Annual General Meeting held on 29 October 2012
November 6th 2012
Annual General Meeting 29 October 2012
There follows a report on the meeting held in the Swan for the benefit of those members who were unable to attend:
Report from the acting President
Jacqui Moore welcomed those present and reported on the year gone by. She described how the past year has been difficult for the Chamber due to the resignation of the president & shortage of committee members. Nevertheless the Chamber attracted or maintained a membership of almost 100 local businesses. There have been several breakfast networking meetings and supper clubs, members have been represented at the town council and there has been liaison with other agencies over plans that may affect local businesses such as the development of the Old Town site to a supermarket. The Chamber supported the Portas Pilot bid made by Stroud which included raising the tourist profile of Wotton and the regeneration of key areas. Although Stroud was unsuccessful it established more of a link between Wotton and Stroud’s Chamber.
She also described how the Chamber had sponsored the highly successful Christmas event last year which succeeded down to the hard work of a small organizing group and fantastic weather. Christmas trees for traders were also organized which made the town look much more festive.
Some local charities have been supported through small donations; these include the Silver band, the Jason Moir Foundation and KLB PTA. The Chamber tries to offer small donations to other local groups that approach it wherever possible.
The Chamber has seen a shift in membership from the original membership of mainly traders and businesses based in the town centre to many members working in surrounding villages in small or home offices. The shift has been reflected in those that attend meetings who are looking for more of a chance to develop contacts and create business. There is not one member of the committee who is based in the street or in a retail environment which will make representing the views of traders more problematic in the future.
On a personal note, Jacqui stated that she had been involved in the Chamber since it was restarted 7 years ago. The aim then was to give a voice to those trading in the town and a chance for business owners to share their experiences and concerns. She pointed out that all of the members work, all have demanding lives but too often she hears members asking what the Chamber has done for them. However, she suggested that they should be asking what they can do for the Chamber. It exists to be whatever its members want it to be- it is not meant to be just about Christmas trees & free adverts. She hoped that new members and committee members will support other members to develop the Chamber in to a dynamic group representing the needs and desires of its membership. It is a chance with such a large membership to create something unique, useful and forceful within the community.
Being on the committee or being an active member takes just a few hours a month but it does give one the chance to shape the direction the group takes. If members choose to take a passive role, that is fine but they must expect to get less out of chamber than if they use its members’ skills, resources and knowledge.
Jacqui finished by saying that she had enjoyed her time with the Chamber but life moves on and she now looks forward to being a professional “ Lady who lunches”. She truly hoped that the Chamber goes from strength to strength and if anyone needs an ex shop keeper with a huge range of transferable skills- you know where to find her.
Martin Roberts shares the role with his wife Jo.
Martin reported how it had been another good year with membership standing at 97. Once again there was a surplus and a healthy bank balance.
He detailed how increased donations had been made to local organisations including the youth centre, Wotton in Bloom, the jubilee celebrations and the town cinema’s calendar.
The Christmas under the Edge event made a surplus of £932. It was organised with more involvement from the high street shop keepers and will be again for Christmas 2012. The introduction of the event programme raised a significant amount of money. Unfortunately the Chamber had not had the manpower to run the usual Chamber drinks stall - with free drinks for members.
Once again the Chamber organised the Christmas trees and lights with the town council providing £812 towards the costs. A loss of £24 was recorded.
The Chamber had hosted a number of free buffets this year, including the AGM and Christmas gathering.
Martin concluded by describing how general expenditure had been considerably reduced over the year. Notable items were the printing of the new membership cards and sponsorship of the Wotton video by James Walshe.
Accounts for the16 month period ended 30 September 2012 are attached at the end of this note.
Voting and nominations for roles
Existing Committee members were introduced to the members and then their roles on the Committee were outlined. Some were happy to continue in their roles and they were accepted back onto the Committee without voting.
Local HR consultant and owner of Wave Human Resources, Duncan Elliott, was nominated for the position of President. Duncan lives in Wotton, and works with businesses of any size with all aspects of employing staff. Since moving to Wotton with his family in 2010, Duncan has been an active member of the Chamber and has connections with many local businesses.
Duncan said, "I would like to thank the outgoing acting President, Jacqui Moore, and the committee members past and present for making the Chamber what it is today. It is my intention that all members can enjoy increased business development opportunities which will benefit the town as a whole. Due to the great success of our business breakfasts we have plans to increase the networking opportunities beyond our current membership, so I would therefore encourage all businesses in the area that are not members to join up, and add your voice to our already 100-strong team. There are huge opportunities and benefits of membership for everyone, from one-person businesses to large corporations."
Duncan was accepted without opposition.
Following a call for volunteers to the Committee the following were accepted:
Jill Tebb (who also agreed to continue as the Chamber’s representative on the town’s Regeneration Group), Jo and Martin Roberts (who will continue to share the role of Treasurer), Andrew Cope, Trevor Mason (who will continue as the Chamber’s publicity Officer), Lara Madge, Alex and Claire Wilkinson, Jamie McCuaig and Moira Buist.
It was agreed that election for the posts of Vice President, Secretary and Membership Secretary would be held over until the first meeting of the new Committee when they could be discussed in more detail.
Update on future events
Christmas under the Edge (Saturday 1 December, 4pm – 7pm) – is being organised under the auspices of the Chamber but with a separate committee.
Janet Walshe described how arrangements are progressing well with a lot of help and support from the town’s traders. It has been advertised locally and there are already over 40 stalls booked and paid for.
A shed has been purchased so that it can be decorated and used as a ‘Santa’s Grotto’ for this and future years. The Edge coffee shop has agreed for it to be placed in their garden for the entire Christmas period. As a consequence they are now looking volunteer Santas to man the grotto for the period (Hopefully from 11am – 2pm, Saturday and Sunday throughout December.
The overall plan is to develop an ‘events committee’ and have a rolling fund where any surplus cash from an event goes towards the costs of the next one – which is almost certain to be next summer.
There followed some discussion about how some felt that the original aim of the Christmas events had been lost (an opportunity for the traders to thank the townsfolk for their custom over the last year.
Christmas Trees – there was discussion about whether and how the Chamber should provide trees to its members in the town and how it was hoped that the town council might be able to mitigate the impact of spaces due to the non-members’ shops by providing some funding to fill them in.
A letter had been sent to the council requesting a grant but no reply had yet been received. It was agreed that a reply would be chased.
Any other business
Alex Wilkinson requested that the Chamber’s thanks go on record to Jacqui Moore who, as Vice president, had stood in for him after circumstances dictated that he was no longer able to remain as President. This was met with approval from all of those present.
More Information : Click to view PDF
Find us on Facebook
February 10th 2012
We've added a Facebook page for the Chamber of Trade, so it's easy to keep up with Chamber news if you're also on Facebook yourself.
Please take the time to visit the page and "like" it! Thanks.
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