Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Lisa and Graham served on the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2017

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Melksham Chamber of Commerce - my final Presidents report

From last night ...

Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry. President's report to AGM 9.5.2017

Written by Graham Ellis

I'm stepping down this evening from the position of President of the Melksham Chamber of Commerce. Traditionally, this role is held for a year or two; I had the honour of being elected to the position in 2009 and thank members for re-appointing me at each of the subsequent seven Annual General Meetings. It has been an honour to serve The Chamber and to look out for the wider Melksham business and resident's community for all this time.

Time passes. My wife Lisa retired from working day to day for Well House in January this year, and it's time for me too to wind down. As noted last month at the regular meeting, Lisa and I are reducing the plethora of commitments that we have built up since we moved to Melksham at the tail end of 1999. We still remember our very first Chamber meeting in 2000, where we were made so welcome - and although a lot has changed in Melksham, it remains a beacon of welcome to newcomers, and thrives on that welcoming attitude.

Our reduced commitments mean we're consolidating to one property - our home on The Spa.

We have more space than we need just to live, and the Well House Collection - our Museum for Melksham - will probably be moving there. This will allow it to expand, and will allow visitors to see inside one of the historic Spa Houses which are a motif for Melksham. My IT training courses have taken me away more and more in recent years; occasional small classes will be held in Melksham - either in my office / conference room at The Spa, or in a room rented elsewhere - perhaps even here at Well House Manor, though we'll no longer be the proprietor.

I'll continue in my role as a director of TravelWatch SouthWest, and with TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. Moving on from developing commuter and local residential traffic on the local railway to attracting visitors from outside the area and indeed from overseas, it's logical for TransWilts to rebase itself at one of our stations - with the historic station at Chippenham, gateway to our line, being the logical choice. There will still be a lot of activity in Melksham too - the Melksham Rail User Group holds its AGM this Friday, for example.

In eight years, I have met three MPs for Melksham, worked with a three layer local government arrangement and seen it become a two layer system, and bed in. I have seen an increase in regulation and paperwork on small businesses, in spite of election pledges to the contrary. Much of it for the good of staff, but things good businesses have looked to provide anyway. I have seen promotion of both charity and local government business in direct or consequential competition with startups of commercial companies, with local government professing not to compete yet doing so.

And yet with all of those political and commercial pressures, I've seen Melksham thriving and growing. The likes of Herman Miller and Knorr Bremse have chosen to base their UK operators here. Companies like Copper Tires continue to be major employers, the likes of Gompels and Superior Graphics grow. Lisa and I never cease to marvel as to how - with even the most obscure requirement - you can find a source on Bowerhill. And our town has seen a flurry of new supermarkets, yet continues to have very few vacant shops.

But although I talk about local sourcing, the modern information era has changed the world out of all recognition over the past 8 years. 8 years ago, the Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce provided centralised secretarial, phone, fax and support services to aboy 20 chambers across Wiltshire; that's changed - with tools now being available for support within the towns where central pooling of resource was previously the only sensible way, and the Wessex Association has re-invented itself into "Inspire" - a significant business in its own right, contacting work for Wiltshire Council and others from whom it was previously fiercely independent, and competing with the likes of the Federation of Small Businesses (and local chambers sometimes) for membership offering consolidated support services such as legal advise. Links remain between the Melksham Chamber and Inspire, but Inspire is a child that was born of six local chambers and has now grown up and left home.

Modern businesses operators have little time for trade association meetings. They join (if it's made cheap or free, and easy) so that they have the backup of the association if they have problems, but rarley attend meetings. And indeed with local government having moved from being lightweight to employing tens of thousands of staff in the county, all of whom interact in some form or another with local residents and businesses, the Chambers have moved very much more towards concerns between local businesses and the infrastructure and service providers.

This issue of attracting member isn't limited to chambers. FSB membership has dropped by 40% in the last 4 years, and the Melksham Independent Traders association formed and wound up. Council lead initiative such as the Town Centre and Bowerhill groups rely on council support rather than being independent, and even then may just splutter along.

But businesses are used to change, to experimenting with ideas and to moving forward with the times.

Melksham is a very different town to it was 8 years ago - but a thriving one. Not all aspirations have been achieved, but some have, some are underway and (alas) some have been still-borne. It's a better town - not (frankly) due much if at all to my activities as president, but I've thoroughly enjoyed being here to support the progress   [82][ac] •Ü much of it being oiled by the most local level   [82][ac] •Ü town and parish   [82][ac] •Ü councils not only Melksham, but also Melksham Community Area.

A big   [82][ac][c5][93]thank you  [82][ac][c2][9d] too to Chamber of Commerce committee members and officers   [82][ac] •Ü in recent times Colin and Phil   [82][ac] •Ü for their hard work which is so much part of Chamber   [82][ac] •Ü but also to others before them. I wish you well for the future; Well House Consultants will remain as Chamber members if we may, but I'll stand down from The Committee too in order to give free reign for the future.

Looking forward ... what do I see on the agenda? I will leave these as subject areas for the incoming President, officers and committee to develop.

* Neighbourhood Plan

* Road and public transport - e.g. new bypass and bridge

* Elections

* Campus and Skate Park

* Brexit (with international companies HQ'd in Melksham)

* Canal

* Healthcare Provision

* Housing and hotels

* Looking after an ageing population

... Graham Ellis
9th May 2017




About the Chamber

The MELKSHAM Chamber of Commerce and Industry represents its members, then Melksham's general business interest. Any business is welcome to join; as well as Chamber representation, membership benefits include access to training, information, the ability to input to local political process the effects businesses, and a variety of local and wider discounts. Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a member of the Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce (Inspire), with local and association memberships available.

Committee elected last night includes:

Secretary - Phil McMullen - melksham@mail.com
Chair - Colin Harrison - colinh@chdesign.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/melkshamchamber/

Next meeting: 20th June, early evening. Contact chair or secretary for details.
(written 2017-05-10)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z402 - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  [717] A customer service company - (2006-05-11)
  [1223] Asda opening large new store in Melksham - (2007-06-08)
  [1250] Business speed networking - a place tonight! - (2007-06-28)
  [1429] Remembrance day - inside a church and inside the day - (2007-11-11)
  [1432] Wiltshire County Council - Budget Consultation - (2007-11-15)
  [1476] Shopping for Christmas and looking forward - (2007-12-17)
  [1504] Flooding by Asda-s proposed new supermarket - (2008-01-12)
  [1507] Comments on proposed Asda Superstore for Melksham - (2008-01-14)
  [1633] Changing a screen saver from a web page (PHP, Perl, OSX) - (2008-05-06)
  [1642] Summer! - (2008-05-15)
  [1748] Hotel room prices - Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-08-11)
  [1792] All the pieces fall into place - hotel and courses - (2008-09-10)
  [1880] Melksham Chamber of Commerce, or the FSB - (2008-11-12)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1892] Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry - (2008-11-17)
  [1904] Ruby, Perl, Linux, MySQL - some training notes - (2008-11-23)
  [1934] Lidl opens in Melksham - (2008-12-11)
  [1979] Looking forward, in Melksham, in 2009 - (2009-01-05)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [2043] Confidence, Customer Service and Tourism in Melksham - (2009-02-15)
  [2095] Blue Ridge and Melksham Chambers of Commerce - (2009-03-21)
  [2111] Business Networking for Melksham - 23rd April - (2009-04-01)
  [2119] Make your business a DESTINATION business - (2009-04-05)
  [2181] You cannot please all of the people all of the time - (2009-05-14)
  [2194] Melksham Business Map - Chamber of Commerce, Tourist Information and Town Council - (2009-05-21)
  [2220] Melksham Traders - where do we go? - (2009-06-05)
  [2260] Important - the future of Melksham / Chamber of Commerce - (2009-06-28)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2289] pre-Inaugural briefing - Melksham Community Area Partnership - (2009-07-15)
  [2328] Melksham - no trains, no southbound buses through the town - (2009-08-08)
  [2437] Wiltshire Unitary News - Chamber of Commerce Intelligence - (2009-10-04)
  [2459] New Web Site for Melksham Chamber of Commerce - (2009-10-18)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2487] Melksham Forum - (2009-11-01)
  [2495] Planning the future of Wiltshire - (2009-11-07)
  [2508] Community Area Partnership - inaugural AGM - (2009-11-20)
  [2514] The road show has been - where now? - (2009-11-27)
  [2521] Melksham Market - Tuesdays, 09:00 to 14:00 - (2009-12-01)
  [2531] Melksham - new Tuesday Market - (2009-12-09)
  [2540] Rock and hard place .. and the relaxing right one won - (2009-12-18)
  [2544] Vision for Wiltshire - (2009-12-20)
  [2546] How well do you know Melksham - a quiz for Christmas - (2009-12-21)
  [2568] Forums for your Melksham and open source discussions - (2010-01-09)
  [2594] Melksham Area - your community view is sought - (2010-01-23)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2666] Random thoughts on Melksham Town Planning and development - (2010-03-08)
  [2683] Car Parking in Melksham - (2010-03-18)
  [2725] How do our tactics help us meet the strategy, for the greater good? - (2010-04-16)
  [2770] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Presidents report to AGM - (2010-05-19)
  [2779] The history and future of Melksham Chamber of Commerce - (2010-05-25)
  [2782] Tell the Melksham Chamber or you only have yourself to blame - (2010-05-26)
  [2827] Melksham - a gem in Wiltshire - (2010-06-26)
  [2837] Lorry Parking in Melksham - (2010-06-29)
  [2853] Transport in Wessex - today and into the future - (2010-07-04)
  [2867] Cycling in Melksham, and looking forward - (2010-07-11)
  [2872] Moved - Melksham Lorry Park - (2010-07-15)
  [2883] Melksham Oak - photos of the new community school - (2010-07-22)
  [2891] Wiltshire Council ask how they can help businesses - (2010-07-27)
  [2932] Getting into and out of Wiltshire towns .. a.k.a. Car Parking? - (2010-08-23)
  [2957] Welcome to Countrywides new Melksham store - (2010-09-15)
  [2959] A Melksham news roundup - (2010-09-18)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [2995] A river in Melksham is not just for boaters. - (2010-10-11)
  [3088] Melksham - two many councils? - (2010-12-16)
  [3113] Trowbridge and Melksham to Chippenham - more roadworks, even slower journey over the winter - (2010-12-30)
  [3117] Opportunities for Melksham - new businesses in the town - (2011-01-01)
  [3141] Wiltshire Rail services - a golden opportunity - (2011-01-21)
  [3162] Keep your business customer-friendly! - (2011-02-09)
  [3172] On consultations, car parking, and Melksham town centre - (2011-02-17)
  [3173] What is the Melksham Chamber of Commerce? - (2011-02-18)
  [3188] What proportion of the British Workforce still works a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, week? - (2011-03-01)
  [3193] Melksham Campus - what, why, questions, concerns and how you can input - (2011-03-04)
  [3214] Melksham Campus - any last minute inputs from Melksham businesses? - (2011-03-26)
  [3217] Vandalism and riot from the minority - the effect - (2011-03-28)
  [3246] Melksham - the way forward. 26th April, Well House Manor - (2011-04-13)
  [3249] Events - Spring and Early Summer 2011 in Melksham - (2011-04-17)
  [3272] Melksham Car Parking - current charges and limits - (2011-05-01)
  [3275] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - grows to appoint new Press Officer. Welcome. Sam - (2011-05-02)
  [3279] Letter to The Editor - (2011-05-06)
  [3299] Presidents Report to Melksham Chamber of Commerce, 24.5.2011 - (2011-05-24)
  [3307] Melksham Community Radio launches - (2011-05-28)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3334] A lesson from the sporran market? - (2011-06-25)
  [3340] Summer Sunday Timetable - TransWilts Trains - (2011-06-30)
  [3343] Summer Sunday Train Service Starts - Swindon Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - (2011-07-03)
  [3380] Melksham Jelly - An Occasional Office for Home Workers - (2011-08-06)
  [3383] Are people who walk into Melksham being asked to subsidise parking? - (2011-08-09)
  [3420] Making best use of the new enthusiasm for Melksham - (2011-09-05)
  [3423] 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 12? - (2011-09-07)
  [3427] What is on the Melksham Agenda? - (2011-09-09)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3470] Currently pictured in Melksham - (2011-10-09)
  [3475] Havant - Shop Frontages. - (2011-10-12)
  [3481] Some thoughts in answer to some Melksham Campus questions - (2011-10-14)
  [3492] Upcoming events in and about Melksham - more dates for your diary - (2011-10-22)
  [3495] Looking forward - Chamber of Commerce has 2012 and beyond on the agenda - (2011-10-26)
  [3496] Melksham - Business to Business Speed Networking - build ahead for 2012 - (2011-10-26)
  [3527] Melksham - changing times, an opportunity for the future - (2011-11-23)
  [3560] Melksham, Month by month through 2011 - (2011-12-23)
  [3598] Melksham Civic Awards - report and pictures - (2012-01-29)
  [3627] Meeting Report - Tuesday 21st Feb - to Melksham Chamber of Commerce from Shadow Community Operations Board - (2012-02-27)
  [3663] Changing shops and organisations - Melksham, the last and next five years - (2012-03-21)
  [3672] Melksham Train Service - please support the TransWilts case for regular trains - (2012-03-25)
  [3677] Some advise for guest speakers at meetings - (2012-03-31)
  [3682] Melksham Business Newsreel - (2012-04-03)
  [3693] Wiltshire Business Support Service - (2012-04-11)
  [3696] Melksham government and business organisations - (2012-04-14)
  [3697] Events in Melksham - read all about them, and tell us about yours - (2012-04-15)
  [3700] Why do people use chains rather than independent traders? - (2012-04-18)
  [3706] An exciting Chamber of Commerce AGM - sound like an Oxymoron? - (2012-04-25)
  [3710] Encouraging business in Melksham and its neighbourhood - keep business local?? - (2012-04-27)
  [3714] Just 12 winners? Or 371 or more? Town Centres. - (2012-04-30)
  [3732] Ten more visitors to your premises every day? - (2012-05-14)
  [3739] Go green - business seminar in Melksham - (2012-05-21)
  [3748] Not everyone has a computer - 9 more ways to learn about the Melksham Campus - (2012-06-03)
  [3751] Public transport for international arrivals into Melksham - (2012-06-04)
  [3752] Melksham Visitors Map - Bus routes and train lines to and from the town - (2012-06-04)
  [3767] How well do you know Melksham? - (2012-06-17)
  [3768] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - looking to our future shape. Pivotal meeting next Tuesday - (2012-06-19)
  [3787] Melksham Pride - the Chamber of Commerce, and the future - (2012-06-29)
  [3812] The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 1, Campus and Chamber of Commerce - (2012-07-22)
  [3818] Making things happen - litter and ASB and lost dogs in Melksham - (2012-07-25)
  [3850] Bus times - Chippenham Station to Melksham, with London connections - (2012-08-25)
  [3867] The difficult interface between the business, council and voluntary sectors - (2012-09-19)
  [3880] Chamber of Commerce - looking forward in Melksham and in Wessex - (2012-10-04)
  [3889] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - whence in 2013 and beyond? - (2012-10-12)
  [3948] Quiet little town? Advanced Technology Centre? - (2012-12-08)
  [3987] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - join us in our future - (2013-01-21)
  [4002] Images of Melksham you havent seen before - (2013-02-13)
  [4014] Costa Coffee in Melksham - is it a good idea? - (2013-02-22)
  [4041] Report on the last year - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Melksham Without Parish Council - (2013-03-11)
  [4046] Over a hundred welcoming businesses - Melksham Town Centre - (2013-03-17)
  [4097] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Report for AGM, 21st May 2013 - (2013-05-21)
  [4103] Questions from children about Melksham Campus - (2013-05-26)
  [4151] Tell me a bit about Melksham - (2013-08-10)
  [4164] Melksham Market - every Tuesday - (2013-09-03)
  [4170] Herman Miller coming to Melksham - the Chamber of Commerce is briefed - (2013-09-10)
  [4278] Future Swindon - Westbury train services. At current level into the future? - (2014-05-25)
  [4399] The Campus in Melksham - name, logo, and livery choice - (2015-01-18)
  [4672] Annual review of Melksham Matters for Chamber of Commerce AGM - (2016-05-15)


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A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House
Some other Articles
Third and final set of older picture for today
Catching up on labelling more images
Labelling images
A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House
Melksham Chamber of Commerce - my final Presidents report
Why you should vote for Lisa in Melksham Central
Our changing world
Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May?
Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish
Python examples - updates under way
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