Axbridge Chamber of Commerce
Wednesday 12th October 2022
Attendees: Chairman Richard Helps (RH); Treasurer Mike Sartain (MS); Race Night and Membership Secretary Pat Filer (PF); Nigel Scott (NS); Neil Barnes (NB); Nicky Frewin (NF); Barry Hamblin (BH); Jules Peel (JP); Louise Cooling (LC);
Apologies – Liz Scott
- ‘Rotating’ Chairman’s report – RH
1.1 Nothing to report, other than the Pageant being a huge success! Need to thank Harry for doing such an amazing job and going above and beyond.
1.2 Nigel is happy to be Secretary but not to update Facebook page or the Website. All agreed to ask Harry if he would be happy to continue with this before appointing anyone else, also to continue to share news from SCC
ACTION – Nigel appointed as Secretary
ACTION – Ask Harry re the FB and Website (Update – Harry said yes!!! Yippeee!)
- Treasurers Report – Mike Sartain
- Balances. MS gave the bank balances of the two accounts for the Chamber.
Chamber Balance: £2328.29
After payments of:
£1000 Trust – Race night
£110 – missed this one?
£100 – Ukraine Appeal
£300 – Blue Plaque Donation
Showcase balance – £1551.26
After payments of:
£48 Drinks – AGM
- Membership report – Pat Filer
- – Currently 45 members
- – Pat will be collecting outstanding fees
- – Nicky offered to help with this while Pat is unable to drive
- – Discussion around the fact that there are 45 members but it is only the same 6/8 members who actively attend
- Raise the profile of the Chamber of Commerce
- Regenerate ourselves as an Organisation
- Questionnaire to find out what will make people attend
- Pat to encourage members to attend while collecting fees
- RH Prompted a discussion around the success of the Pageant and other events in Axbridge this Summer.
4.1 The Pageant, Axbridge Day, the Fair and the Carnival, the Sound of the Streets, outdoor tables, chairs and benches, The Heritage Trail – all a great success in bringing people out and together again.
Many businesses, and Sports and Social Club have noticed a big increase in footfall this year.
NB noted that this is an opportunity for building on this, maintaining momentum and taking things forward.
- RH asked everyone to suggest a way to do so and raise the profile of Axbridge
- NF – go back to Visit Somerset in order to raise the profile of the Town as a whole rather than highlighting individual businesses. Noted that visitors often refer to Axbridge as ‘hidden Gem’.
NF to contact John Turner re a return visit/presentation and to find out where Visit Somerset are now in terms of their profile and statistics
- BH – An information point for people who arrive in the Town. What would this look like?
Information points in the businesses on the Square
QR code – which then links to and from Visit Somerset with all events, activities, photos etc. NB said that Enable could help with this if needed.
Maps of the Town with businesses listed. Non-one seemed to know where they are despite paying to advertise on them (p.s. We (Ripleys) normally take out and Ad but we haven’t been approached or asked)?
PF said she has given out approximately 30 Heritage Trail maps this month alone.
- PF – A Christmas Festive Night – all businesses open – a Xmas Market in the Square – stalls in the Town Hall etc
RH talked about the fact that Cheddar are struggling to keep Festive night going and Wedmore Festive night is also struggling. Maybe shopping isn’t enough, people want to be entertained.
It was agreed that it is too late to organise this for this year. MS suggested capitalising on Santa in the Square night
- LC – Informal Networking events/evenings/talks/breakfasts to attract more active members
- JP – Make better use of the Square – making more of events/opportunities/seating to bring people out, bring them together, and keep them there longer
NS suggested making one side of the Square Pedestrian only. But to get the events booked in first and then look to make this happen.
- NB – Use the Square better – use a questionnaire to understand what will help to do this – will help to focus the aim, generate ideas and provide more direction
- NF – the younger people in Axbridge are under-represented – there is so much talent.
Annual Talent show! Maybe in the Square or the Town Hall
- NS – Pedestrianising part of the Square, seems to be a general consensus that everyone wants the same so how to go about it?
5.0 MS – Race Night – always successful
5.1 RH – will contact Pete Harding and see where this got to in the past. Maybe talk to SCC re the use of the Square.
Discussion around parking for Axbridge:
Carpark spaces reinstated outside the Pennings?
Utilise the Furlong carpark more
General feeling of wanting to move this forward.
BH spoke about a movement who is determined to get Bristol Airport closed. Everyone agreed this would be a terrible thing for the area in terms of visitors and employment. Axbridge Chamber pledged to do whatever it can to support the cause. BH will inform as necessary.
Just a little thought re the pedestrianising of the Square – just a few doors away we have a rather large company called Ginko………if you google them, they tender out projects to develop pedestrianised areas/towns……….and then project manage them. I don’t think they are or have ever been Chamber members……I don’t even know who they are……but I might go and meet them and try to tempt them with some bacon butties one day???
We really do have everything right on our doorstep – all the potential is here!
Wednesday 16th November – 7pm – venue to be confirmed