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2017 was an interesting year for Melksham Chamber.
The Chamber finished 2016 hosting a meeting of all the event and community groups in Melksham, to put together a diary of events for 2017 and encourage the various groups to work together to share expertise and resources.
The start of the year saw the announcement of the closure of HSBC Bank and the reduction in opening hours of the NatWest Bank which would appear at odds the with new businesses coming to Melksham:
Opening in the town were, Henry’s Café, the Five Rivers Employment Agency and Greggs.
Hampton Park West: Jaguar/Land Rover dealership, Travelodge, Starbucks and Greggs.
Our President, Graham Ellis, continued to push forward the expansion of Melksham’s train and transport services with a trial train service becoming permanent, passenger figures rising to around 75,000, a ministerial visit planned for the summer and an extended platform by January 2018.
Graham has also been asked by Wiltshire Council to look at ways of improving bus services in Melksham.
Site visit to Gompels’ mail order facility on Bowerhill. The Chamber sets up these visits to increase awareness of what Melksham’s businesses actually do. We were joined by local councillors for this visit and our thanks to Gompels who hosted a guided tour and explanation of their fascinating business, followed pizza and refreshments.
Networking breakfast in the Kings Arms Hotel.
The Railways Minister, Paul Maynard, visits Melksham by train.
We held our AGM in May. The committee were re-elected but President, Graham Ellis, decided to stand down after eight years due to changes in personal and business commitments. Thank you Graham for your hard work and commitment to the Chamber. He will continue to be a member and be involved with transport issues. The post of President is currently vacant. We also noted a drop in our membership that needs attention.
Moved our meetings from Wellhouse Manor to The Kings Arms Hotel. We decided to completely rework the Chamber due to a falling membership and competition from other groups and organisations.
We decided to change the name to “Melksham Chamber”, rebrand, relaunch in October and adopt the following statement:
“Melksham Chamber exists to provide a forum for local business to talk, work with each other and share information and advice. It represents their views on issues affecting the commercial life of Melksham and connects business and the community for the benefit of the town. The more voices we have the more effective we can be!”
New representatives onto the committee from local businesses and Melksham Carnival.
Planning new events, advertising and marketing the launch in October.
We now have a representative on the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
We received the sad news that our Town Council representative Andy Hinchcliffe had died. Andy was an enthusiastic and valued member of the committee and will be greatly missed.
Quiz Night in aid of Dorothy House Hospice to launch Melksham Chamber. Well attended including our MP Michelle Donelan, Melksham’s Mayor and Carnival Queen. Raised £375.00 for Dorothy House.
Launched the “Melksham Chamber Forum” on Facebook. A place for Melksham area businesses to discuss relevant topics and issues that affect them, seek advice, advertise and share local knowledge. A free closed group with all posts being moderated.
Launched the Melksham Chamber website www. melkshamchamber.co.uk.
First of our new events – seminar on the new “General Data Protection Regulations” coming into force next May by Kieren Thomas of Priority IT, who outlined the regulations and how the attending businesses would be affected. We are considering running an update early next year.
Received the disappointing news that NatWest bank is to close its branch in Melksham.
We are planning seminars on: Quarterly Tax Returns for SME’s and the Self Employed, VAT, Disaster Recovery and a revisit to GDPR.
Site Visits: Knorr Bremse, the new Air Ambulance facility, with more to follow.
Contact: Phil McMullen, Secretary on melksham@ mail.com Tel: 01225 707659 Facebook: Search for Melksham Chamber Forum • www.melksham chamber .co.uk