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Since the relaunch of the 'new look' Chamber of Commerce in February 2020, with an energetic and passionate committee representing a diverse range of businesses in town, the Chamber has begun to create its own new identity and voice.
Clearly, we are in unprecedented waters with a critical economic impact upon us and a huge pressure on all types of businesses to stay afloat, but there has been tremendous support in the form of government assistance for businesses and the self-employed. Any businesses that have not yet received information on the support and grants available are strongly advised to check the Government website and also to contact Arun District Council.
On another positive note, the Chamber is looking forward to the appointment of a new Town Manager who will fulfil a liaison role between the Council and all types of different groups in town. They will support the planning, development and communication of events and new initiatives and as a result, help to revitalise and rejuvenate our towns economy and offer, driving greater footfall, experience and spend. Arundel will be marketed as a top destination for the benefit of both residents and businesses alike.
The Chamber of Commerce has also been pushing ahead with an initiative to explore different concepts and marketing opportunities for Arundel businesses in the run up to Christmas. A key issue is that the current Chamber organised Christmas event (Arundel by Candlelight) is time consuming to organise, expensive and potentially unsustainable in its current format. To start the initiative, an online brainstorming session was kindly facilitated by Jane Mote from local company beechtobeach, with input from other experts from the Akin group (Arundel’s creative collective). It resulted in several new ideas around the theme of 'Arundel is Christmas’, with themed weekends throughout November. Feast - Food and drink, Create - Community and arts, Remember - History and Heritage; and then December - Light up the Town/Arundel by Candlelight.
There is a greater need now more than ever, to drive footfall and revenue, generate social media and press interest, and create ‘smart’ events and marketing opportunities that are spread over time and do not require huge amounts of resources or the closing down of the town.
Due to the ongoing crisis, we have continued to communicate by email to around 190 of the 350+ businesses in Arundel (please let us know if you are not receiving Chamber communications and would like to); albeit not everyone is yet a member, but we felt it was most important to include as many businesses in town as we could. We hope that businesses are finding our regular and detailed communications effective and supportive and thank our link counsellor Michelle Scott, Arundel Town Council, Arun DC and all other organisations and partners for their updates and support.
As soon as social distancing is relaxed, we will reinstate our full year programme of Evening Network Events and Breakfast Meetings in a new safe way which we hope will continue to be hosted in numerous businesses around the town including the Castle.
There is also a new Chamber Facebook page and a great number of excellent social media platforms with which we continue to connect. We have created a new Chamber listing on the relaunched Visit Arundel Website and a discount is being offered to all Chamber members should they wish to have their own listing. Due to the crisis, the committee have agreed to extend all membership fees for the rest of the year at the reduced fee of £25.
Chamber members are also eligible for a 20% discount, worth £60, on the annual parking permit (currently £300 in 2020) for the Fitzalan Pool car park at the Lido. Please contact The Arundel & Downland Community Leisure Trust at the Lido to organise a qualifying letter before approaching Arun District Council to purchase the permit - https://www.visitarundel.co.uk/listing/arundel-lido/
During the months to follow, as the phased exit plan continues, we look forward to returning to a greater degree of normality. We are committed to growing the Chamber's reputation into one of transparency, diversity and effective communication. There is an urgency to be proactive and seize the potential opportunity for change and success in the coming months and years, championing our approach together to achieve our goals.
We thank our local businesses who have remained open and on the front line as well as all those businesses who have continued to offer complimentary advice, online presentations, tours, videos, good news stories and new ways of working to diversify ones business. One of the Chambers missions is ‘to promote, encourage and support a vibrant and sustainable local economy’. We, as a Chamber committee, are dedicated to supporting our members, encouraging new businesses to locate in our beautiful town and will support one another wholeheartedly on the road to recovery. We recognise that in order for Commerce to survive in the short term, the town needs to be an attractive and safe place to enjoy with a steady flow of people, every day.
If your business would like to join the Arundel Chamber of Commerce please email our Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a membership form or make contact via our Facebook page (facebook.com/ArundelChamberofCommerce).