Crunch talks to discuss future of Bourton Chamber of Commerce

Crunch talks to discuss future of Bourton Chamber of Commerce

Crunch talks to discuss future of Bourton Chamber of Commerce

First published in News by

CRUNCH talks are taking place next week to decide if the Bourton Chamber of Commerce will carry on in its current format.

An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is being held on Monday in the Victoria Hall at 6pm for members and residents after nobody came forward as chairman at last month's Annual General Meeting.

There are fears the chamber could fold if no one steps up to the helm, and services such as arranging the town’s hanging baskets, the iconic Christmas tree in the river and the Victorian shopping evening, which they help to run, could all have been lost.

The chamber was brought back from the brink of closure last year, after Phil Ralph agreed to become chairman initially for one year.

But Mr Ralph, who owns Bourton News, in the High Street, said he is taking a step back from the chairmanship role, due to the pressure of running his own business, and feels the chamber needs to "radically" change if it is to continue.

"At the AGM we didn't have any volunteers to put themselves forward as chairman," he said. "But there are some like-minded individuals who want to continue and there are people prepared to do some things if they can get more visibility.

"It might be at the EGM it will fold because of lack of support. It's clear in this area, it comes across as quite old fashioned. It does well in big cities but in Bourton it needs to go in another direction.

"I would like to think there are enough people to take things forward. It would be a shame for it to go."

Discussing the chamber at Bourton Parish Council earlier this month, vice-chairman Tim Falkner said: "Members in the chamber have been diminishing terribly. They are handing on to last year's membership by the skin of their teeth."

Councillor Helen Macklin added: "It would be a shame if the chamber closed."

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9:12am Thu 1 May 14

Kit Havelock-Davies says...

I hope Bourton Chamber can survive, I know how difficult it is to encourage membership. We re-started the Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association last year, united by a common cause, fighting a large Supermarket's planning application. Keeping things going does tend to fall on a small minority of heads and this can be difficult when the business climate is challenging. I can only suggest that you look for the common cause whether it is High Street vitality, parking or planning, something should draw people back together. Moreton's Association is now part of the wider Gloucestershire Association of Chambers and Business Groups and whilst this is yet another group that you occasionally have to attend it does draw people from all over the County together to advise each other on shared problems and opens up a wider range of facilities to your members. It helps to make your offer to local businesses more attractive. Most Business Groups do things slightly differently and I was pleased to attend the Campden Business Groups Breakfast meeting yesterday and see how they do things.
Good luck with it Phil, I hope that your group which has a history of achieving good things can continue and prosper.

Kit Havelock-Davies
Chairman, Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association
I hope Bourton Chamber can survive, I know how difficult it is to encourage membership. We re-started the Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association last year, united by a common cause, fighting a large Supermarket's planning application. Keeping things going does tend to fall on a small minority of heads and this can be difficult when the business climate is challenging. I can only suggest that you look for the common cause whether it is High Street vitality, parking or planning, something should draw people back together. Moreton's Association is now part of the wider Gloucestershire Association of Chambers and Business Groups and whilst this is yet another group that you occasionally have to attend it does draw people from all over the County together to advise each other on shared problems and opens up a wider range of facilities to your members. It helps to make your offer to local businesses more attractive. Most Business Groups do things slightly differently and I was pleased to attend the Campden Business Groups Breakfast meeting yesterday and see how they do things. Good luck with it Phil, I hope that your group which has a history of achieving good things can continue and prosper. Kit Havelock-Davies Chairman, Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association Kit Havelock-Davies
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