Community header template
Since the relaunch of the 'new look' Chamber of Commerce in February, 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. We have also become affiliated to the Sussex Chamber of Commerce to fully benefit, tapping into a broad spectrum of business sectors for expertise, sharing good practice and collaborating with other successful Chambers.
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, who have been been busy collating, understanding and publishing invaluable advice on useful subjects.(There are a variety of package schemes as well as webinar series where organisations are bringing industry leaders and business experts together and creating platforms for businesses to collaborate, innovate, repurpose and discuss what the future landscape could look like in Sussex).
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 business 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 Town Council are formulating their views conceptually with a plan on how to get the best results for Arundel during this most challenging time. They have reaffirmed the fact that local businesses and members of the Chamber are vital to Arundel remaining a thriving town and have offered us every support to come out of this set back successfully. Their working group are considering the practical steps that it can take to support the revival of Arundel’s businesses, community groups and attractions and economic regeneration safely.
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, drive footfall, 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. At the time of going to print, we are unable to confirm what will or can be created for this year re ABC, but we already have our sights on 2021.
We need to create safe, stretched out spaces in which to shop, eat outside, enjoy Arundel’s History, create some magic.
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. The team of representatives from the Arundel Project will also be repeating the insightful and inspiring delivery phase presentation on Events and Town Council Initiatives, to include the farmers market and ADC/ATC events grant.
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.
During the months to follow, as the phased exit plan continues, we look forward to returning to a greater degree of normality and have to look at catering for all eventualities. We are committed to growing the Chambers 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. We need to optimise and stretch out spaces in which to shop, eat outside, take in Arundel’s history and enjoy some magic.
We welcome new members to the committee and if your business would like to join the Arundel Chamber of Commerce please email Chair firstname.lastname@example.org for a membership form or make contact via our Facebook page (facebook.com/ArundelChamberofCommerce).