Chamber Matters: Strength and Success in 2015
Published 23 Oct 2015Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, celebrates a strong and successful year following the Chamber’s Eighth AGM.
This week saw the Chamber host its eighth Annual General Meeting at The Castle of Mey, representing its largest membership to date – 23% rise on 2014. With members drawn from a vast range of industry sectors, from energy and tourism to the arts and agriculture, the Chamber has truly become a united business voice for the region, and it was hugely gratifying to see so many of our members come together to celebrate each other’s success and another strong year for the Chamber.
A full calendar of events, from workshops and seminars to networking opportunities and open debates, has been a key contributor to our growth over the past twelve months. Working under our 3 themes: Stronger Business, Stronger Economy, Stronger Chamber, we have fortified the bonds between our network, while adding weight to the united voice of the region.
Over the years, the Chamber has developed and refined this voice to represent the needs and aspirations of local stakeholders. Activities such as lobbying Government, hosting referendum and general election debates, mediating procurement discussions, audiences with key industry players alongside events which promote and celebrate local businesses provide our members with a platform to speak to relevant influencers, stakeholders, and other businesspeople in order to grow and reach new markets. It’s vital not to contain the voice within the region, and we regularly act on our members’ behalf to take their concerns, needs and ideas beyond the borders, meeting with MPs and Government Ministers and taking our local talent to potential new clients and buyers through trade shows like All Energy and marketing opportunities such as MFR radio ads.
The highlight of developments, for me, has been the funding which we have secured for Caithness, which amounts to around £3m over the last six years. This much-needed investment has taken the form of several projects: Make the Right Connections, Town Centre Development, Caithness Transport Forum, Invest Caithness and the newly launched DtYW initiative to name just a few, always with the emphasis on building a stronger future for our region, and ensuring our youth have a reason to stay and make a life here.
As well as supporting businesses, we’ve worked hard to help our community too. In July, we raised over £1700 for MFR’s Cash for Kids Appeal, in addition to continued support of the Food Bank. We also facilitate the Caithness Bus users Group, connecting local commuters with Stagecoach to air comments and concerns over vital community services.
Going forward, we will continue to support the local community and businesses to encourage and strengthen bonds, ensuring we all move forward towards a brighter future together. The AGM laid our plans to pursue new avenues for investment, while protecting our assets, and I’m confident that our members and local stakeholders will continue to support us in this challenge.