When you read this we will have held our last meeting of 2017. So owing to the vagaries of copy deadlines we are unable to give you the usual post-match report. Suffice to say I am sure the generosity of Chamber members, Park Holidays, will help ensure we tick off another successfull event, with a valuable update from Sea Change on their important programme of developments, which of course includes Glovers House, where Park Holidays HQ is now based.
We started the year by checking what our members priorities were for membership which they reconfirmed as:
So this is what we have endeavoured to deliver, we leave you to judge.
Networking is crucial for all our businesses, so with an average attendance of 61 members, guests and visitors our monthly meetings have provided plenty of opportunity to network with likeminded people.
Our September meeting alone attracted 100 people and where there’s networking there’s a chance to promote your business.
Many of our members have showcased their businesses by hosting meetings which for the first time included The Hastings Pier Trust, The Welcome and Park Holidays.
Our September meeting also helped kick off another fantastic Hastings Expo with even more promotion and networking to be had.
Plus members, such as Astec Computing, took full advantage of promotional opportunities within the ACESussex magazine which all members of East Sussex Chambers receive.
Having your say and being heard is important for any business. In time honoured fashion we started the year with the leader of the Council, Peter Chowney, addressing members as part of their consultation with the business community on their draft budget and corporate plans.
Additionally, our work on local strategic partnerships, the Hastings and Rother Task Force and the HS1 working group also gives you a voice to influence local decision makers.
All of which has helped keep you informed on key infrastructure developments including the potentially transformational HS1 and Hastings Harbour Quarter plans, the troublesome Southeastern rail franchise and Sea Change developments.
We’ve also heard from South East Business Boost and LOCASE on their valuable grant funding opportunities, which many members have already taken advantage of to grow their business.
But even our best laid plans are sometimes thwarted. The snap election caught most of us out and sadly the horrific terrorist action in London meant we were unable to hold a full ‘Hustings’.
The election also put paid to our Network Rail update due to the mysterious purdah rules which meant they were unable to attend in April.
But as ever through flexible quick thinking and accommodating presenters we were able to turn these challenges around to still deliver valuable and informative sessions. Thank you to Kevin Boorman for stepping in and we suspect delivering a far more interesting and entertaining update than Network Rail!
And finally as is our recent practice we have supported another excellent local cause; this year one that we suspect has helped many of us over the years, the Conquest Hospital and specifically the Hospital Friends MRI Scanner Appeal, which we were able to donate £500 towards.
So as another successful year for the Chamber draws to a close we take this opportunity to thank all current and future members for their tremendous engagement, contributions and support, without whom we would be nothing.
Of particular thanks the members who generously offer their venues and support to ensure we put on professional meetings; in addition to those already mentioned our thanks to The Jerwood Gallery, the Hastings Centre, and Sussex Coast College.
As ever we look forward and despite the uncertainty and unknown of BREXIT there will be good opportunities and we will endeavour to deliver another year of engaging, stimulating and lively interaction for members, visitors and stakeholders alike.
So we start 2018’s programme on Thursday 25th January when Peter Chowney will again address members and you can directly engage with, challenge and influence the leader’s plans.
We wish you all a very restful Christmas break and a highly successful 2018.