AGM 2021/22 Comments from the President

The Chamber’s last AGM was in 2019. A lot has happened since then and still is!

The early period covers a time characterised by storms, floods, high temperatures, plus high-profile campaigns highlighting the climate/ ecological emergency – the ‘Greta effect’ and also racial discrimination with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign. Hear the regeneration plans for Porthcawl and of course Covid19.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continued to unfold, opening times for shops was curtailed, supply chains were disrupted, whilst online sales boomed and there was no rent reduction from landlords. 

However, gratitude and thanks must go to the Small Business Rate Relief fund of £10,000, which came from the Welsh Assembly. Also, over this time, with help from BCBC, our secretary, Bridget and members of the Executive, our traders received ppe, plastic partitions, sanitizers, information and Covid guidance.

Despite being an unpredictable time, 32 million people (half of the UK population) supported small and local businesses during the lockdown and with more people working from home and reconnecting with their communities this trend is likely to continue.

Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.

Public awareness of sustainability – people and planet friendly behaviours is deepening as consumer understanding of our impact on the earth has increased.  We are all in this together and must aim to help and provide people with ways to respond when shopping.

Younger consumers, especially those between 18 and 24, want to know more about what companies and business are doing to be socially and environmentally responsible, and less than half agree companies communicate honestly, implying a steep upward trend for a desire for more transparency. 

Shopping local not only supports the local economy, but reduces pollution, helps towards making the place more convivial, more resilient and more fun.

Ok what have we done.

Bridget Hall has maintain the ship throughout this time and we must all acknowledge and thank her for this.

Y Centre AGM. As acting President I managed to join the Y Centre’s AGM, said something but was struck down with flu the day after! 

Then at the Remembrance Sunday service at ‘All Saints’, I was able to lay a wreath on behalf of the Chamber with the help of my daughter, Lucy and granddaughter Ffion, who laid the wreath with me.

After looking at the Natural Resources Wales 1 in a 100 year flood maps for Porthcawl seafront, which are indeed concerning, we invited Sarah Murphy MA as a guest speaker. She discussed her democratic expectations for a sustainable regeneration strategy for Porthcawl, which responded to the climate and ecological emergencies, but crucially encouraged an informed discussion amongst the Porthcawl residents. 

Later with funding from the Porthcawl town council we were able to continue to run the Christmas Window Competition. Judging was by Councillor Tracy Mills, the Porthcawl mayor, Bridget and myself. We checked shops in Nottage, Newton and Station Hill as well as those in the town centre. The winners were Pantribox in Newton, Vera Lils, in Well Street and Divine in John Street. 

Bridget organised our annual Christmas gathering, at Cosy Corner which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

Porthcawl based ‘Cwtchable Creations’ was commissioned to make handmade, cotton, washable, reusable and repairable, Welsh flag bunting – for the Bandstand and our members to display over the St David Day’s period. Thanks go to Bridgend County Borough Council who contributed to the costs. The aim was to choose a more durable product and reduce the amount of plastic ending up in the environment, whilst supporting a local business.

Porthcawl Springtime Planters

The Chamber has joined forces with SUSSED volunteers to improve what has been, and still is, an unsightly pedestrian access into Porthcawl. The one into the middle of the town centre, via the old Surgery, at Hilsborough Street. 

The planters are being made from recycled wood pallets, there are 6. They will be filled with soil and peat-free compost and planted with the help of donations from Porthcawl’s Guttridge florists at the end of March.  

Maintenance will be assisted by SUSSED volunteers e.g. watering, weeding, replanting with seasonal plants and bulbs etc.

New members include Pantribox, Jenipher’s Coffi, Jon Hurley designs.

Website. Importantly we have commissioned Jon Hurley Design to create a new website and logo for the Chamber.

  • The new look to be styled in keeping with our seaside town and to illustrate the wide variety of shops within the whole town. 
  • Aiming to help maintain a vibrant, prosperous town for future generations and for us all to enjoy today, whether we are shopping or socialising.
  • Overall emphasis is to be on shopping locally. 
  • That the Chamber is engaged in the current issues of the time. e.g. now would be aspects of climate change, the health of the high street after Covid, plastic-free and our unique location.
  • Jon will provide content management training to allow more of us to add information about events and activities and make use of social media. etc. 

To conclude:

The Porthcawl Chamber of Trade would like to thank the local community and visitors to Porthcawl for their custom over this period. It is important that our independent shops are supported as they are the backbone of communities and can be at the forefront of change. 

I know the members would also like to thank Bridget for her sterling work keeping us all together.

Finally, might I say on behalf of us all, that our thoughts and deepening concerns are with the people of Ukraine as this dreadful war, perpetrated by Russia unfolds.

Margaret Minhinnick, President.

March 16th 2022.

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Available to order from SUSSED cotton reusable bunting 3m for £14.99 handmade in Porthcawl by Cwtchable Creations. Also there is Welsh Flag Bunting available to local businesses. Please arrange collection and return with SUSSED. SUSSEDJames StreetPorthcawl Tel: 01656 783962 www.sussedwales.com
The Chamber’s last AGM was in 2019. A lot has happened since then and still is! The early period covers a time characterised by storms, floods, high temperatures, plus high-profile campaigns highlighting the climate/ ecological emergency – the ‘Greta effect’ and also
Thank you to those who attended last evening’s AGM. Proceedings went very well with a buffet reception to conclude, enjoyed by all. For those members who were unable to attend, I am pleased to let you know the results of the election