‘Very good feeling’ for city’s chamber

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DESPITE some ‘scary’ signs, things are looking healthier for the Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as it presented a positive vibe for the future at its annual meeting on Monday night (November 10).

Chairman Louise Hopkins addressed members after a networking session and spoke of the leaps and bounds made by the chamber in the past year.

“There are some scary things, but it’s the fact that we know where we are now and we’re managing it and that’s a very good feeling,” she said.

“We believe we’re doing the stuff for you and we believe we’re doing the stuff you want us to.”

In the past year, the chamber has changed from a membership organisation to a limited company, with a board of directors.

The move gave the chamber ‘improved financial control’ and enabled it to flourish, according to Ms Hopkins.

“There are the changes you’ve seen, but we’re proud that we’ve been recognised externally as being willing and able as a company to deliver sources of that funding but also the time and support that goes with it,” she told the assembled members of the chamber.

The chamber is now in its 23rd year and she said it was important to make sure it had an established position on many key issues that affected business.

“It’s taken that long to establish ourselves as a voice of business and that’s why it’s so important to us that we retain that,” she said.

She went on: “We’re more than just a networking company. It’s about the influence we have as a chamber of commerce. I hope that’s something that continues to be appreciated and continues to grow.”

The chamber is independent of any other national bodies and so she said it was capable of listening to its members to hear what they had to say and acting upon it.

There were also positive signs for membership over the past year, with 57 new members joining between March, 2013, and February, 2014, plus an additional 35 members up to October.

Fellow director Farid Ahmed praised Ms Hopkins for the work she had done since she assumed the role of chairman, saying she had done ‘fantastically well’.

The annual meeting was held at Fontwell Racecourse, one of the members of the chamber. Visit www.chichestercci.org.uk.