AGM – Chairman’s Address

This has been an interesting year. We decided to make the Chamber more visible in the local community with a view to increasing the membership and aiming for more interaction. To this end, we were involved in a number of community events and Young Enterprise and we also initiated our first breakfast meeting and revamped our website.

Community Events.

The Chamber actively backed and sponsored Taste of Berkhamsted, Berkofest and the Festival of Light.

Taste of Berkhamsted – Many of the committee and a number of staff from chamber member Haines Watts, were stewards at the Taste of Berkhamsted held in September 2016 at Ashlyn’s Hall. The chamber also received a number of tickets, which it distributed to the membership on a first come first served basis. Taste of Berkhamsted, a Chamber member, organises a festival celebrating food and drink in the Berkhamsted area.

Berkofest – This is a local music festival held at the Berkhamsted Cricket Club, and is another member of the Chamber. We sponsored the event and again distributed tickets to our members, and now are assisting the organisers in planning for the 2017 event.

Festival of Light – Our committee member, John Gerry, represents the Chamber on the Festival of Light committee. This year we also helped sponsor the new town lights, on a request from Berkhamsted Council, and we will be involved in the plans for 2017.

Young Enterprise.

The Chamber has been active with Young Enterprise for three years. This year, we again sponsored the Young Enterprise stalls at the Festival of Light and ran a competition with prizes for business acumen and stall presentation for the Young Enterprise competitors. We also worked with Young Enterprise on the “Fiver” challenge for primary schools in the Berkhamsted area. We applied for, and received, grants from Hertfordshire and Berkhamsted Council and also donated some money to this challenge. The challenge is to give each pupil a “Fiver” and over 30 days ask him or her to increase it, as individuals or in groups. There was a presentation held in the Old Town Hall with the Town Mayor awarding the prizes. Eighty 10 to 11-year-olds were present and one group of five children managed to increase their £25 to £230 over 30 days.

Breakfast Meeting.

The organisers of BBL asked if we would run breakfast meetings, as they had decided to discontinue the organisation. We held our first on 5th April at Berkhamsted Cricket Club. We had places for 50 attendees: this was sold out and we even had a small waiting list. We will be holding our next one on 21st June again at the cricket club and we plan to hold these every two months.

Website.

Our committee member Alex Thackray of Leadfreak, with immense help from Louise Towler’s team at Indigo Tree, has revamped our website. We would like members to try it and make suggestions for enhancements so that it will be a useful business tool for everyone. We hope to see you all put your logos onto the website and to develop ways of using it to help you within your own business.

Educational events

In October, the Chamber ran a short seminar on Digital Marketing led by Alex Thackray. The event was well-attended and we hope to run more such seminars over the course of the year. If you have suggestions for subjects we could cover, please let us know.

Membership.

We hoped that these activities would get the Chamber better known in the community, and they have had the effect of increasing our membership by 25% over the year. Currently, enquires regarding membership are running at 3 to 4 per month.

Final Word

Finally, as I stated last year, your membership covers your company or organisation and is not restricted to one person, so all your staff are members and will receive members’ prices for our events. For a sole trader, we extend this to your partners so please bring them to any of our events.

We have a number of events booked for 2017, which include evening Pop Ups, breakfast meetings, a barbecue, an evening at Windsor races, and a wine tasting.

If you want to know more, please contact Peter Elsworth, email pete.elsworth@berkhamsted-chamber.co.uk

Pete Elsworth – Chairman

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