WPCC AGM 2020 Minutes
Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce
Minutes of AGM held on 27th February at Dorset Burger Company
The meeting was opened at 6.30pm by President Craig Oakes who welcomed all present.

1. Minutes of previous year 2019 
The minutes of the 2019 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 President Craig Oakes.
2. Treasurer’s report – Mike House
Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
2019 was my 6th and final year as Treasurer, I am pleased to report you won’t have to listen to me anymore as I pass over the baton to the next generation, my colleague Brodie. The chambers finances will be in safe hands.

The Chambers finances for 2019 were much improved following a challenging 2018.
The recent trend of reduced membership numbers ended with the membership rising from 81 in 2018 to 88, back to 2017 levels. Membership fees remained unchanged at £99 per annum, £50 for new businesses.
Although there was an increase in membership numbers, income from membership was slightly down on 2018 due to the 6 STAR award winners from 2018 receiving free membership, and a number of new businesses taking advantage of the reduced membership fee.

The business breakfasts continued to be profitable. Breakfast costs were increased to £75 for 10 prepaid breakfasts and to £10 for guests. Breakfast sponsorship remained at £150. In total the breakfasts generated a profit of in excess of £2,000.
A number of social events were held during the year comprising the AGM Dinner, Bournemouth Air Show VIP and the Christmas lunch. In total these events broke even.
Costs reduced significantly on the previous year, a year in which we committed to giving back to our members and the community to celebrate our 100th anniversary.
We continued to incur costs for our membership and admin coordinator Guy Bridge, who continues to work in excess of his contracted hours.
The Chamber continued to support local events through sponsoring a Weymouth college student, beach volleyball and the Christmas day harbour swim.
We also made donations to local charities including The British Legion and The Mayors Christmas Fund, and of course Craig has been fundraising throughout the year for his chosen charity Weldmar.

Administrative costs were £1,600 down on last year primarily due to new website costs incurred last year.
I am pleased to report that a net profit of £2,399 was made during the year.
Although a profit was made there is no corporation tax payable as a result of the losses brought forward from last year.
With regards to the Balance sheet position; this has improved on the previous year due to the profit made during 2019.
You will note the Chamber had Cash at Bank at 31 December 2019 of £11,400.
The Chambers reserves have increased to £7,442 and remain strong.
For 2020 there has been no increase in membership subscription fees which remain unchanged at £99 for another year. The monthly breakfast fees are also unchanged.
Further more the breakfast sponsorship fees are unchanged at £150.

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 2019 accounts.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who I have worked with on the exec committee over the past 6 years, I wish you all the very best of luck and look forward to bumping in to some of you as a member in the coming months.

Proposed: Paul Appleby, Seconder: Clive Garman

3. President Craig thanked Mike House for all his hard work and presented him with a special gift in the form of a Food and Drink Hamper.

4. President Craig Oakes presents his report:
Lords, Ladies, Gentleman, Fellow Chamber members or however you would wish to be addressed. First of all I would like to welcome and thank you all for coming to the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting tonight. Here in this great venue that is the home of our Hosts ‘The Dorset Burger Company’. I am told that everybody came for the AGM and not the food of course…Wink
Specifically, over the last year my self and other members of the Chamber have been involved with many different local projects that are key to the overall regeneration of our area. Initiatives such as the Quay Regeneration Project working with the Weymouth Area Development Trust and Dorset Council to ignite business within the area and sitting regularly on the Town Centre Managers board. We have been keeping our fingers very much on the pulse, although because of the mergers of the councils last year and the forming of Weymouth Town Council we have needed to be patient due to settlement of the new model.
We have been involved with many worthwhile events for good causes. Along with the help of donations from Chamber Members and others and through the physical challenges I set myself last year we have raised a sizeable amount for Weldmar Hospicecare and the official amount will be revealed at a breakfast soon probably this Tuesday morning at the pavilion I am told.
You will see in the minutes from last year’s AGM that I had a weigh in, which was different, and technically I was to lose a certain amount in weight. I lost a lot but found it increasingly difficult to keep to the nutrition side due to my busy schedule. I did punish myself and was punished by the trainers of Zone Fitness most days last year in the gym though. The reason I could not keep to diet was not that I ate too much junk but during the day I often forget to eat at all. I am told that this isn’t helpful either.
Even so I made sure that I did over and above the challenges that I set out to do adding in Fire Walking, Zip Wires, 5k runs and a 10k run over a very muddy, Bovington tank testing area as well as swimming across the harbour in around 2minutes on Christmas Day which was so warm….. So I am happy with my achievements and my conscience is completely clear. This year I am not choosing to have a specific President’s Charity but if there are opportunities where money can be raised for local causes the Chamber will look to support and assess on a case by case basis.
My last few years working within the chamber of commerce whether as an executive member, a vice president or in the last year being in the position of president is not particularly my normal place in life. It is not natural for me to lead.
Many people have asked me, if this is how you feel, why is it that I put myself in such a position? I have always given the same answer. I am very simple in how I live my life, my ideals are not materialistic or ambitious and I am not the most diplomatic person. I’m very down to earth and feel much more comfortable being dressed down, spending quiet time at home with my family than I do being in a room full of people wearing ceremonial chains and representing the Chamber of Commerce.
I can see a much more important bigger picture and though I don’t particularly see myself as being a leader it is something that has become part and parcel of what I believe is essential to preserve at this point, so that certainly in Weymouth & Portland every resident can live & work and have as comfortable lives as they possibly can.

The most important part of a Chamber of Commerce is in fact the word Commerce. One of the simplest definitions of this is “social dealings between people” It’s the glue that holds all parts together. Often other Chamber organisations take the commerce part out of their name and put in Trade, Business or industry or a combination. These words are specific, and they do define business in general and help explain to others what an organisation such as WPCC is involved with. Commerce is the simplest and most traditional of terms though and I believe this part is the key to business, it is one my most personal beliefs.
Business involves competition but it is not necessarily a competition for people to be better than others but to better your self as a business owner. Your life will become easier when you work with others whether you are in the same type of industry or not. Ultimately if you ask most people, their end result is to obtain a happy healthy, life for them and their family. I do not step into this role for the second year lightly. I do it because I know that I definitely have the ability to inspire many others to be social with each other and deal socially which will in turn create a better working and living environment for all.
If you are in a situation where you are trying to achieve something, whether it is to put food on your families table, mould your personal dreams or completely set the world around you alight. Spending time socially and connecting with those around you can and will make all these things happen.

You could be J K Rowling Scribbling Harry Potter on your own in a small back street café and as genius as we all know those scribblings eventually became, she would have had to of got opinions from others which means dealing socially with your colleagues, friends or peers.
Last year’s presidency was very much about the realisation of not how hard it is to fix the local economy and the complications and hardships we face but it was about how the various factors that face us could be converted into much simpler obstacles to get over or around. I can guarantee that moving forward if businesses, organisations and local authority only worked more closely together much more would become simpler. That means more communication and of course being more social in their dealings.
“SO” ordinarily the incumbent President would get a speech and the President Elect would get a speech, but I have the luxury of being both this year. So, I now get to tell you how I and a quite fantastic executive committee are going to inspire you to make your particular part of the very much needed glue become simpler but so much more effective and efficient this year.
First of all, there are the givens. Age old tradition is that we meet at least once a month over breakfast with each other so that we can deal socially and connect more and get ourselves in the position to help each other. This isn’t changing and we will continue to use members as host venues. In the last year we have held some great and diverse events with informative speakers in some really fantastic member’s venues.

Secondly, we are launching this year very soon, The exclusive Chamber Club Card. This will inspire businesses and organisations who are members of the chamber of commerce to enhance the help they already extend to one another and not just that, to encourage each other to fortify an exchanging of goods and services whether it be through time or monetary value. This is of course another definition of Commerce. It will be up to you to decide as a member of this great institution how you use this new facility and what you will offer from your business to other members. It does of course have the ability to create a whole lot of social dealing within our area as it is embraced, and the opportunity is grasped.
It has been noted for a while now that although the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce has a healthy networking reputation at our monthly breakfasts, we still need to be offering tangible benefits to our members. Our membership is growing month on month and as it should be our members are diverse from one-man bands to large firms and organisations which have many employees.
The Chamber Club Card is something that every chamber member can carry and when they need goods or services, they can go to another chamber member and either gain a discount only available to Chamber of Commerce members or perhaps some free advice. If you are a Chamber member and you are offering something for nothing no matter how inconsequential you think it is, it will open doors of communication, for one chamber member’s standard offer is another member’s treasure. Even I as president will have to offer something from my small business for nothing. In return for that one thing I offer to the Chamber of Commerce I will in turn get access to almost 100 other types of offers.
This is a big change this is how we will work moving forward the inspiration of creating more social dealings outside of Networking Breakfasts and encouraging members to interact with each other at all times rather than just once a month is all within making life and work simpler for everyone. Better relationships will be formed more business will be done. Firms will grow, Education and employment will benefit and ultimately the area we live and operate in will stand on its own two feet once again and in all areas not just through the most prosperous ones but the ones that deserve to prosper and are being held back at the moment.
Remember the ethos now is not to complicate anything but to simplify over the next year and beyond and allow each of us the opportunity to deal more socially.
The last two Presidents, my self and Andrew Knowles have served and will serve for a 2 year period and moving forwards this is a model which will now be adopted. Anyone who takes the role on must realise they are in it for that period of time. Julia Cohen Incumbent Vice- President will step up this time next year and new Junior Vice-President Rick Simmonds will be Julia’s Successor. This means 5 years of Chamber of Commerce Leadership consistency. It is the Executive Committee’s wish that the Chamber of Commerce members have a clearer communication and we are hoping very soon to be able to offer you an annual calendar of events so that you can become a real part of something you subscribe to and put those dates in your diary early. Again, this is about building further stronger more concrete relationships to enhance both business and social aspects.

We have a fantastic Chamber of Commerce here in Weymouth & Portland to build upon. As I have mentioned our Executive committee has a wealth of knowledge and experience and our members are some of the brightest and most innovative businesses and organisations spanning so many different areas from Local Heritage to the Legal System. If we all communicate and work as one so much can truly be achieved, and I am really looking forward to making my final year one to remember. Thank you for listening

5. Election of Officers and Executive Committee for 2020
President Craig Oakes conducted the election of Officers and the Executive Committee for 2020.
Senior Vice-President: Julia Cohen of Weymouth College
Junior Vice President: Rick Simmonds of Wessex FM
Treasurer: Brodie Cook of Albert Goodman Accountants and Advisors

Chamber Executive Committee (in no order):

Cherise Luke-Bennett of Nantes Solicitors
Alan Cheesman of WR Cockings Electrical
Clive Garman of Sherrens the Printers
Paul Appleby of Appleby Technical Services
Trevor Matthews of Wessex Film Productions
Nicholas Spence of Vaspba Remote Piloted Systems Ltd
Fiona Hansford of Weldmar
Meggie Crane of Blanchards Bailey
Julie Cleaver of Popcorn Marketing
Laura Bell f Dream Cottages
Josephine Parker of Frontline Recruitment

Honorary roles to the Chamber
Honorary Auditors & Accountants – Albert Goodman
Honorary Solicitors – Pengillys
Administration, Communication and Membership – Guy Bridge, info@wpchamber.co.uk
Thanks were given to these for agreeing to continue for a further year.
6. AOB:
The President thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 7.25pm. Followed by networking and an excellent meal in the Dorset Burger Company.