In comparison to last year 2014 has been relatively quiet for the Chamber but busy behind the scenes.
So a big thank you to the people who give up their time and put so much energy into keeping the business related issues in Hadleigh and Suffolk under control. The Flowers in the High Street, the fight against Tesco, liaison with Babergh and Suffolk Councils and Police just don't happen without effort.
However, this group of people has been dwindling over the last few years and the time commitment for a small team is becoming too much. The big issue now is that all the members need to engage to make the Chamber a success and ensure the business viewpoint is represented in all matters. Some key subjects are now not being addressed.
Town Team – failed to get off the ground twice now through lack of interest. Even though we had almost 100 people attend the initial "ideas" meeting.
Business Rates – when given the opportunity to put our views forward we had just one. Even though this was considered a major issue by all High Street businesses. The Government has now deferred the review.
Public Sector – The Chamber has always been engaged with Babergh and Suffolk Councils, close contact with other Town Chambers and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Recently we have been unable to get a member along to all the meetings so matters such as local government procurement, planning etc. are being shelved.
In relation to the number of businesses in Hadleigh, the Chamber has one of the highest penetrations in the country. But being a member of a Chamber of Commerce is not just a matter of paying annual fees. That money just covers the bare essentials. It is your time and activity that keeps the Chamber going.
If we leave things to go on as they are it is likely that the Committee will actually not have a quorum at meetings as the apparent apathy of members is leaving the Committee members wondering why they give up their time. If we lose the Committee, we lose the Chamber. And losing the Chamber will mean there is no body for others, such as the Council, to connect and communicate with.
Public sector funding comes from either the businesses direct or from the earnings of the staff we employ but we don't, as companies, get the vote. So lobbying through business associations is our principle route to affect beneficial change. We must maintain that channel.
So, over to you, the members and businesses in Hadleigh and district. If the Chamber is to survive we need a full committee of people who will attend and work together. We then need all businesses to engage with the Committee and help out wherever they can and where they may have expertise. It doesn't take much time and the more people involved the less each person has to do. It gives you the opportunity to influence issues that benefit can your business whilst not demanding a lot of your time.
If you can stand for the Committee and help guide the Chamber for the next couple of years, please put your nomination forward for President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer or any of up to eight committee members. If we are short on Committee numbers we are happy to co-opt people for specific projects – the major one for 2015 being the retail, tourism and community campaign being planned through Jane Haylock.
Either email Tony Addison (firstname.lastname@example.org) or download a nomination form from the Chamber website www.hadleighchamber.co.uk/agm. Tell us which post, or posts, you would like to be considered for and any special area of interest you have.
It is important to keep the Chamber, our business voice, alive. Without it I have absolutely no doubt we would, for an example, have both Morrisons and Tesco in Hadleigh and a dying High Street. Support your Chamber in any way you can.
To put your name forward for the Committee and a vote at the AGM please complete the form below and send in to the Chamber