Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce
Minutes of AGM held on 9 February 2017
at Weymouth College
The meeting was opened by the incoming President, Andrew Knowles, at 6.30pm who welcomed all present..
1. Minutes 2016
The minutes of the 2016 AGM were presented and accepted by those members present at the meeting, with no matters arising from the previous year. The minutes were signed off by incoming President Andrew Knowles.
2. Treasurer’s report – Mike House
Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
2016 was my third year as the Chamber Treasurer, so I’m getting used to delivering an annual report. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to matter how many reports I deliver I can’t seem to make the numbers interesting.
2016 was a challenging year for the Chamber for many reasons, the finances being one of them.
Annual membership fees remained unchanged for a fourth successive year at £99. We once again offered the half year membership from 1 July at £50, and maintained the £50 annual membership fee for new businesses, i.e. any business less than 12 months old.
Unfortunately membership numbers dropped significantly from 114 in 2015, to 90 in 2016. This resulted in a reduction in subscription income of approximately £1,600 as reflected on the general fund statement in the attached accounts.
As a result the monthly business breakfasts also saw a drop in numbers although we continued to raise additional funds through the sponsorship of the monthly business breakfasts at a rate of £100 per breakfast. Even with falling numbers the business breakfasts still proved valuable generating a profit of almost £1,200.
A number of social events were held during the year comprising the AGM Dinner, a BBQ at The Nothe Fort, a carnival buffet, Parliament trip, and the Christmas Lunch which were supported by both members and non members. In total a very small profit was made on the social events.
We incurred a full years cost for our membership and admin coordinator Guy Bridge, who continues to work in excess of his contracted hours at no extra cost.
The Chamber continued to support local events through sponsorship, including the Bank holiday fireworks, Dorset Echo Industry Awards, and the Budmouth CEIL scholarship programme. In total £1,600 was contributed to these events.
Administrative costs were some £1400 less than the previous year at £2,418, although the 2016 costs were back in line with costs incurred in 2014 and previous years. You may recall the 2015 costs included a one off expense of £1,472 for the refurbishment of the Presidents Badge.
We continue to incur costs in respect of the maintenance and hosting of the website which is a benefit to the Chamber and its members, and is a good way for members to promote their businesses.
For 2016 we recognised the importance of continuing to invest in our members and as a result we were forecasting a break even position for the year. Unfortunately due to the reduction in membership numbers, and subsequent drop in subscriptions income of £1,600, we made a deficit for the year of £1,359.
The silver lining is that there is once again no tax to pay!
With regards to the Chambers Balance sheet position, you will note the Chamber had in excess of £19,000 Cash at Bank at 31 December 2016, although this includes £4,271 in respect of 2017 Membership subscription monies received in advance.
The Chamber had reserves of £13,396 at 31 December 2016 and so overall the Chambers finances and cash position remain strong.
We recognise the importance of working closely with our members and both Guy and our incoming president Andrew will continue to liaise with current, past and potential new members, with a view to the Chamber providing an offering that appeals to all businesses, which in turn will hopefully increase our membership numbers.
The recent revamp of the business breakfasts, including different host venues will hopefully see a rise in breakfast numbers throughout the year, in fact at our first breakfast of 2017 held at The Hix Academy earlier this week, we had in excess of 60 people.
We have increased the monthly business breakfast sponsorship fee for 2017 from £100 to £150 which will generate additional funds of £500. We have also had to increase the cost of the monthly business breakfasts to cover the increase in costs of changing host venues. 2017 Membership subscription fees remain unchanged at £99.
May I take this opportunity to thank Alex Goracy our Independent examiner at Albert Goodman.
If there are any questions regarding the annual accounts please raise your hand now so I can field these.
Subject to their being no questions, can I please request a proposer and seconder from the floor to formally approve the 2016 accounts.
The report was proposed by Anna-Maria Geare. Seconded by Cherise Luke-Bennett
3. Incoming President Andrew Knowles is presented with the WPCC Chain of Office by Past President Julie Cleaver and presents his report:
Welcome to the AGM that marks the beginning of the 99th year of the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce.
Unusually for an incoming President, it is my duty to talk about last year as well as my vision for the future. Most of us would agree that 2016 was a tumultuous year in so many different ways: internationally, nationally and locally.
This is summed up in the Brexit debate and referendum, the outcome of which is starting to redefine our nation’s place in the world. The Chamber played a part in this, by giving both the Remainers and the Leavers an opportunity to speak directly to local people and local businesses.
In the autumn, the Chamber organised a trip to visit the Houses of Parliament in London. This successful visit was organised in conjunction with Weymouth College.
I would like to thank all the members of the Chamber who gave their time to volunteer at Chamber events during 2016.
There would be no Chamber if local people weren’t motivated to give their time and skill to help support local businesses and the local community.
The Chamber Committee is made up of volunteers.
I would like to thank the following people who are stepping down this year for their valuable service on the Chamber Executive Committee in 2016: David Morphew of David Morphew Photography, Maria Greenwood of Wessex FM, Nigel Reed of Weymouth BID, Shenis Cant of Silver Surfing Ltd and Steve Davies.
In particular, I’d like to thank Nigel Reed, a former President of the Chamber and a long serving member of the Executive Committee. We will miss the insight that he brings, based on his long experience of Weymouth and Portland.
I would also like to thank Albert Goodman, our honorary accountants, Pengillys, our honorary solicitors, and Guy Bridge, our valued Administrator.
Finally, I also want to thank Michelle Hind for her service to the Chamber. In 2015 Michelle took on the role of President when no one else would. She embarked on a second year in the post when again, no one else stepped forward to do so.
None of us on the Committee doubted her commitment to the businesses and community of Weymouth and Portland. She invested hours of her time organising events and encouraging others to get involved, all because of her genuine desire to see the Chamber better serve both its members, and the wider community of which we are a part.
This same spirit of service has been a hallmark of all the Chamber Presidents that I have observed since joining the Chamber in 2011, and it’s in that spirit that I seek to continue.
The Chamber’s role is to support local businesses. Businesses help to bring jobs, income and prosperity to Weymouth and Portland. Whether a sole trader, a family firm or an ambitious entrepreneurial adventure, the Chamber is here to help in any way it can.
The Chamber has a long history of helping businesses learn about one another, discovering how they can work together for mutual benefit. Today we call it networking and a mainstay of our calendar is our monthly networking breakfast.
In 2016 we began taking this popular event to different venues around the town. It’s been held at the St Aldhelm’s Centre, the Pavilion Theatre, Nothe Fort and here at the Hix Academy. In 2017 we plan to visit more venues, allowing more of our members to showcase the fantastic facilities they have to offer.
Also in 2016 we began to give our members the opportunity to give a tour of their premises. The St Aldhelm’s Centre and the Osprey Leisure Centre on Portland have already taken advantage of this.
Our next business tour is a visit to the studio of Air 107.2 community radio on 13 March. Later this year we intend to organise tours of Nothe Fort and Portland Port, along with a number of other businesses and venues.
These tours are more than another networking opportunity. They allow us to see how other businesses work, and that can be a powerful creative spark. Businesses need to learn from one another, to inspire one another.
Creative thinking is essential to running a successful business. It’s too easy for us to get stuck in the routine of the day to day, to do what we’ve always done. Businesses simply can’t afford to do that today, not if they want to remain successful.
The digital revolution is changing how we all work, and live, and think.
When I came to Weymouth in 2010, the market for smartphones was only just taking off. Many businesses were still wary of social media. Cloud computing was still a relatively new idea for many. Back then we weren’t talking about self-driving cars, the Internet of Things and drones.
It’s not just technology that’s changed. Today’s consumers demand a more personalised experience and outstanding levels of customer service, and they’re increasingly concerned about the ethics behind the products that they buy.
If the businesses in Weymouth and Portland are to survive and prosper, they need to keep up with change.
The Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce exists to support and encourage businesses. We want to do all we can to help our members prosper in today’s demanding commercial environment. The prosperity of our members feeds directly into the prosperity of our community.
During 2017 we will be looking at other ways in which we can support both local businesses and people who want to start their own business. Our members will be able to benefit from workshops and other forms of support.
I am also looking to build relationships with other networking and community groups in the area. It’s in all our interests to work together where we can, for the good of Weymouth and Portland.
Every year the President nominates a charity that will benefit from the fundraising we carry out at our events. I have selected a West Dorset charity, Butterflies, that provides specialist equipment and toys for children with disabilities. I’m pleased to say that the Chamber is immediately able to give Butterflies a donation of £100.
Our Treasurer has referred to the falling membership of the Chamber. My aim, as President, is not to focus on recruiting new members to the Chamber. I want the Chamber to improve the value it offers to its existing members, and by doing so, I want to make membership increasingly attractive to other businesses.
My vision is that by the time it reaches its centenary year, Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce is ready to embark on a second century of helping bring prosperity to local businesses, and by doing so, to improve the prosperity of the wider community across Weymouth and Portland.
4. Election of Officers and Executive Committee for 2017-18
President Andrew Knowles conducted the election of Officers and the Executive Committee for 2017.
Mike House of Albert Goodman Proposed: Cherise Luke-Bennet of Nantes
Seconded: Andrew Knowles
Cherise Luke-Bennet of Nantes Proposed: Clive Garman
Seconded: Trevor Matthews
Committee members: (in no particular order)
Alan Cheesman of WR Cockings Proposed: Trevor Matthews Seconded: Rob Goodwin
Areas of speciality: Networking and social events; Business event management
Craig Oakes of Coversure Insurance Proposed: Cindy James Seconded: Jeremy Weekes
Areas of speciality: Local Liason
Julia Cohen of Weymouth College Proposed: Craig Oakes Seconded: Andrew Knowles
Areas of speciality: Skills, Education and Training
Nigel Reeve of Marketing West SW Ltd Proposed: Trevor Matthews Seconded: Alan Cheeseman
Areas of speciality: Graphic Design; Business Event management
Clive Garman of Sherrens Proposed: Cherise Luke-Bennett Seconded: Trevor Matthews
Areas of speciality: Graphic design and printing.
Trevor Matthews of Wessex Films Proposed: Clive Garman Seconded: Craig Oakes
Areas of speciality: Networking and social events
Rob Goodwin of Champagne Film Proposed: Trevor Matthews Seconded: Alan Cheesman
Areas of speciality: Graphic Design; Networking and social events
The role of the Executive Committee in 2017-18 is to continue the support of the President in achieving the aims of the Chamber and building upon its reputation.
Albert Goodman will remain honorary Auditors, Accountants, and Advisors with special thanks to Alex Goracy for conducting an independent examination of the Chamber’s accounts.
Pengillys to remain Honorary Solicitors.
Thanks were given to both of these for agreeing to continue for a further year.”
Andrew Knowles now the President of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce as already mentioned has chosen Butterflies to support in his year in office and took the opportunity to present Cath Irving the Chairman of the local charity with a cheque for £100.
Cath expressed her gratitude and explained to all members present what Butterflies is and does.
“Butterflies is a local charity which has been in existence since 1975. Our remit is to help children (up to the age of 18) who are disabled and who live in West Dorset and/or use the support of the DCHFT Children’s Centre in Dorchester.”
Cath pointed out that some may remember the charity was previously known as “Earlybirds”.
“Since our formation, we have helped many children and young people with a disability by funding items such as specialised tricycles, beds, mattresses, weighted blankets, buggies, car seats, harnesses and a range of leisure equipment. We have also helped to provide specialised communication aids and sensory toys.”
“The children we help have a wide range of disabilities and the specialised equipment is so often desperately needed and used to enhance and support the children’s development needs”.
The President thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 7.05pm. Followed by networking and an excellent dinner in the HIX Academy at Weymouth College, where all the students and staff were thanked for all their commendable work.