The following is the speech given by Rosemary French OBE, new President of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, at our annual dinner on Tuesday evening.
I am delighted to be working with Martin and the rest of the committee to continue to strengthen Cranleigh & District Chamber of Commerce.
Our aim is simply to ensure that Cranleigh remains one of the best places to live and work, not only in Waverley but also in Surrey. We want to add value to our businesses whatever their size or stage of growth.
To some extent the position of President is an honorary position. It is the whole committee that pulls together to take on different responsibilities. We work as a team and it is delivering results. So what have we planned for this year?
Our networking breakfasts are always popular. This year we are varying this to be breakfasts, lunches and even pub networking events in the evening. Our members told us that the timing of breakfasts did not suit everyone so we hope to reach more members at these different times.
In fact our first lunch is on Monday 14th May at Elmbridge Village. They will be offering us a drink, a hot carvery, dessert, cheese and even coffee in their fabulous restaurant. All for only £15. We will also hear about the history of Elmbridge which was one of, if not the first retirement village in the UK. We hope to see you there. Just book on the website.
As I said we always want to add value to members and we are delighted that two of our committee members, Julie Alexanderson and John Wright are developing short subsidised training courses for members. Wherever possible we will use members to delver the training.
We are still working on costs but we do have a super venue at Santafir on the Guildford Road. If you have any ideas for training topics do let us know. Watch out for more information.
Waverley BIG Awards
We are working as Waverley Joint Chambers of Commerce to deliver a larger BIG Awards competition led by committee member Christine Martin. It is very much a case of bigger, better and more sparkly with the Waverley BIG Awards. This time there will be eight award categories so plenty of opportunity to enter.
The launch is on 4th June, the applications need to be in by the end of August and the Gala dinner will be held on Friday 19th October at Lythe Hill Hotel. More to follow.
We have also been working with the other Chambers to explore a proposal to develop Business Improvement Districts across Waverley. These have proved very successful across the UK in regenerating High Streets in particular but not exclusively. It is up to businesses themselves to decide what areas should be included. It is early days but an open meeting for any business to attend is being held on the 12th June in Farnham. More details on the website or speak to me.
Firstly on the 28th April we are resurrecting the Spring into Cranleigh Saturday, with an Italian market in Stocklund Square, and our members Moooh Ice Cream and the Tiger Lily Vintage bus in Fountain Square. And there will be other attractions.
There is a significant change to our Xmas event this year. We have dropped our switch on night in November in favour of a Living Xmas Advent Calendar. We have picked this up from the Henley Living Advent programme which lengthens the opportunities for local retailers.
This will start with an all day xmas lights switch on and street market event on Saturday 1st December.
Then every day, there will be a calendar of very small events every day which can be sponsored and held at a retail or other premise such as the Arts Centre, Rowlys, Elmbridge Village or churches.
We are still making up the calendar but it will include a best decorated House competition, the St Nicholas Xmas trees event, the Santa Dash, Carol singing, Santa on his sleigh, maybe a xmas play and so on. We welcome any new ideas and anyone who would like to join the Xmas committee.
And of course I need to mention the 100 Club. It is the 100 club which helps pay for the refurbishment, replacement and installation every year xmas lights and decorations. The Chamber also contributes from our funds but we are very grateful for those who elect to become 100 Club members. Thank you!
Finally, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce will continue to work in partnership and collaboration. With Cranleigh in Bloom, with the Parish Council, Waverley Council and Surrey County Council, with the Lions, with the Rotary, with the Arts Centre and with Smart Cranleigh on health and well being.
Being a village, Cranleigh does not have access to much funding. However, together we can continue to attract businesses and see them grow, retain our status as a popular weekend destination, as a friendly place to work, as the most florally attractive in the South East, full of interesting events and offering a warm welcome to our new residents.