Somerset Chamber of Commerce continues to provide a strong link between local businesses and key policymakers, investors and economic leaders, both across the county and further afield.
Graeme Crosbie, the outgoing Chair of the Chamber’s board of directors, said it was vital the Chamber acted as the voice of Somerset businesses and used its influence and reach to support its members in the ever-changing business environment.
Speaking at the Chamber’s annual general meeting, Mr Crosbie said: “We maintain some fantastic relationships right across the Somerset business landscape and we are seen as that vital cog, the conduit between the policymakers and the investors in Somerset on one hand and the Somerset business community that we represent on the other.
“The important thing is being at the table and representing the voice of Somerset businesses to try and influence any decisions which are being made. And we are sat at the table. We have the voice and are representing your views that is the critically important part.”
Outgoing Chair Graeme Crosbie and new Chair Emma Warren.
Somerset Chamber Chief Executive, Emma Rawlings, echoed his comments and said she was working both locally and nationally with key economic experts.
“I speak every week to the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce and I feed back all the conversations you as members have with the team. I tell them what is happening on the ground in Somerset so they are able to go into Number 10 and tell them what policies are needed and what needs to be changed,” Mrs Rawlings said.
She said the Chamber continued to work hard to represent the business community and to reach all corners of the county with business-specific events.
The organisation was also bringing together all the county’s town chambers for regular meetings to ensure there was a true collective voice for local businesses.
“We have set up a programme of events with Somerset Council’s economic team so we can hear about the issues in the local towns and the issues they are facing. It might be planning, it might be the High Street – we will bring the right people to the town chambers and ensure we have a collective voice to represent the county as a whole,” she said.
In addition, the Chamber was continuing to work with EDF to lead the Hinkley Supply Chain for the Hinkley Point C project and had also launched the Somerset Supply Chain to provide a similar service for the Glastonbury Town Deal.
The team was also working with the Department for Education to ensure school and college leavers had the skills needed by employers through a scheme known as the Local Skills Improvement Plan.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Crosbie officially handed over to new board of directors Chair Emma Warren, and welcomed two new member board directors, Karen Morledge and Joe Routledge. Dave Crew was appointed as the new Vice-Chair.