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Chamber Calendar

Find out about all the up-and-coming meetings and events.

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Chairman's Message

2nd March 2011

The past 12 months have been an economic rollercoaster ride for all members of the community including businesses, not just in the Wayland area, but for those nationally.

We all have had to endure two changes in VAT, uncertainty in relation to the outcome of an election, a new coalition government and cuts to business services; affecting grants to local businesses and business support organisations.

However, I am pleased to report that businesses in the Wayland area are taking such changes in their stride and I am proud of the positive press report that a variety of our Wayland entrepreneurs have received over the past 12 months, both locally and nationally.

The High Street has adapted to the change in requirement of the local community and during the past 12 months we have added diverse businesses to our High Street, such as a Lithuanian store, Portuguese-run cafe, tattoo parlour, hair and nails salon, baby clothes and equipment store, nail salon and the expansion of lettings agencies.

The Chamber has also, throughout the past 12 months, sought to be the louder voice of Wayland business. Through our projects we have attracted much positive media attention to the Wayland area.

I would like to take this opportunity to shout loudly about this Wayland Chamber of Commerce new website, about which I know I am somewhat biased; but it is my belief that this website is one of the best Chamber websites nationally. Its purpose is to provide information to the community about local business and services. So if you require a Plumber, Butcher, Solicitor, IT Support, Pharmacy or if you need a Taxi, etc. I urge that you search this website firstly and choose a local business for service.

If there are any services that you cannot find upon this website please do contact the Chamber and we will endeavour to seek out such a service for you and encourage such a business to become a Chamber member.

So what has your Chamber done for you this year, except for revamping its website? We worked in partnership with Pride in Breckland on numerous projects. The Jigsaw Competition for local business: the idea of this Competition was to increase footfall into Wayland businesses. The Jigsaw Competition initially was to take place over a six-week period; however, due to the popularity of this Competition, it was extended further to the end of the school summer holidays to allow families and our young people to take part. Each participating business donated a prize. The Competition entrants were required to collect a jigsaw piece from each business and would only secure the jigsaw piece once they had asked a question set by each business. One lucky Competition winner won the prizes and a TV donated by Pride in Breckland.

We also assisted Pride in Breckland with their first ever Cultural Event, which was held at the Watton Sports Centre. Over 18 nationalities took part in this event and there were food delicacies from Portugal, Brazil, Poland, Lithuania and the British Isles. We were entertained throughout the evening by Caparea, Samba Band, Belly Dancing and Bagpipes. This was an extremely enjoyable evening and it concluded with the Jigsaw Competition winner being announced.

The Chamber joined in partnership with the Co-Op and Pride in Breckland to provide a free hand out of reusable canvas bags. The Chamber initiated this scheme to invoke pride within the community and promote shopping locally and recycling. This was an extremely successful event, where 800 reusable bags were given out at the Farmers Market in February 2011 and this proved so popular that the bags were all gone within 20 minutes. It was also a fabulous opportunity to see how the farmers markets add footfall to the High Street and what a benefit it is to the local community.

The Chamber assisted with the Heroes Welcome in Watton scheme which is a system where local businesses display a sticker in their window which tells the Armed Forces that they are welcome within that business. For 75,000 members of the military service, who come to the Wayland area each year prior to being sent to places such as Afghanistan, this scheme simply reiterates what a friendly area Wayland is to shop local.

The Wayland Chamber of Commerce has reinforced its commitment to local community projects and events. We donated monies towards a parachute jump in aid of the Big C Campaign. We donated £500.00 to the Wayland Partnership in order for them to advertise their services by way of a flag pole outside their offices. We attended the Watton Society Quiz Night and had a wonderful evening getting the brain cells working and we have also supported local sports events held at the Watton Sports Centre.

The Quarterly Business Breakfast Forum initiated to allow Wayland Business to network locally has gone from strength to strength. It is a fabulous opportunity for businesses which supply goods and services to the Wayland Area to come along and meet other like-minded business people and be given information which may be beneficial to their business.

So again I am blowing the trumpet of the Wayland Chamber of Commerce. I would like to thank all the committee members who are volunteers for giving up their time freely in order to help and assist with the projects run by the Chamber. If you are a local business and wish to be a committee member please do contact us. We are always looking for fresh ideas from local business people.

When I initially took over as Chair of the Chamber the outgoing Chairman, Mr. Richard Crabtree, informed me that he “hoped I would enjoy being Chair as much as he has”. My first 12 months as Chair has proved to be an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience and I look forward to our future projects over the next 12 months, including local roadshows into villages to promote Village Businesses. It is my hope that we continue to work in partnership with local Wayland businesses and continue to promote the wonderful businesses we have locally.

Here is hoping for a positive next 12 months.

Salena Dawson

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