Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

AGM Report from Sandra Doherty

24 Jul 2020 by Sandra Doherty

Doesn’t it seem a long time since our AGM in May 2019

Much longer than normal I know a due to Covid we decided to postpone this years AGM so although we are over 2 months late, I am looking forward to seeing you all, all be it via the computer!

I thought about listing all the interesting and successful meetings we had during the year but realise that most of you will have been to as many as you could or read about them via our Review newsletter.

We have had a good year for welcoming new members 43 of them and have only lost a handful so that we are just over the 200 strong again. We know that during the crisis we did get people asking to cancel their membership but one they were told that there would be no charge for the next few months most chose to stay with us.

We will be resuming our collection via Xero in September so look out for your new DD form to fill in.

We missed 3 meetings in all, April was to have been a Business Safari at Harrogate Ladies College, May Our AGM and How Green is your Waste at Cedar Court, June was to have been at Harlow Carr for the first time.

We will not be resuming face to face meetings just yet although it seems we are allowed to do so we feel that it is perhaps a bit soon to risk expanding our individual bubbles to contain a full meeting.

Especially the August one which was to have been the Team Games & Puzzles format. Possibly a bit too close for comfort and the Convention Centre is still in Lock down as a Nightingale Hospital.

Just to refresh your memories for the year past

The UCI seemed to be the biggest news in town and left a lasting legacy of mud and damage on the stray and disgruntled retailors.

Out conversations with HBC took on a whole new theme for what seemed like months and as more and more people began to take notice of what Harrogate was offering and the plans for improvement or as some people see it the ruining of the town. More and more groups seem to have sprung up. Thinking Places and Independent Harrogate to name but two.

As a Chamber we have engaged with these and quite a few Council initiatives to collect information and share ideas. There seems to be no central ground at the present but hopefully moving forward after Covid and seeing what an injection of both cash and zeal from Harrogate BID has done to clean up the town a plan seems all that nearer.

For the last few months, it seems life has taken place via Zoom or Teams and many of us have changed the way we work, and often changing office for the kitchen table. It is lovely to see those businesses who could take up the challenge of working this way.

For others notably retail, hospitality, restaurants and entertainment it has been a hard few months.

We are only now limping back into something we are now calling the new normal.

Normal, is the strange word that means nothing and everything depending who is asking and changes from person to person when answering the question.

Today as I write this I shopped with my mask for myself and friends and noticed where as usually Harrogate is a friendly place where a shared Good Morning and a smile is the norm. Today I felt once again in my own small space and slightly disconnected from those around me.

I just hope that all our members will pull together, work together, share contacts, and provide that Harrogate smile to keep businesses healthy.

Lastly, I would like to thank the members of the Management Group for the help and advice they have given throughout the year.

A special thank you to those of you who are stepping down at this AGM and a big welcome to those new members joining us.

But most important of all thank you to all members for sticking with us and especially those who I have been in contact via phone, email or zoom. Your questions are always valuable, your thoughts are much appreciated and I have missed seeing you all face to face.