Annual Report 2022

Porthcawl Chamber of Trade (and Commerce) has served the town and business community of Porthcawl for at least one hundred and twenty five years. A town guide was produced by the then Chamber in 1905. Throughout its chequered history the individuals representing the businesses forming the Chamber have contributed in many ways to the life of Porthcawl town, at the same time enhancing and developing the business community of Porthcawl.

Over the years the name has moved around – “and Commerce” was dropped many years ago. “And district” was added then later removed, but ‘Chamber of Trade’ remained as an established and recognised organisation. Although Porthcawl Chamber of Trade is not affiliated to the National Institution and is not itself a charity it, nonetheless, is recognised and respected locally. Interestingly, there are members who have experienced knowledge of the Chamber of Trade when visiting other towns, as it is active throughout the English-speaking world. One member recalls being invited to meet the Officers and committee of the Chamber of Trade for dinner in Bombay! (todays Mumbai).

This may seem a strange way to commence an Annual Report; but as it is covering two unusual years it may be helpful to have some context to what the Chamber is. It can be proudly said the Chamber continued serving the Business and community of Porthcawl throughout the two years of the pandemic with its frequent lockdowns and the inability of holding face-to-face meetings.  It has been a very difficult two years since the last planned AGM, scheduled to take place in March 2020,  but  which  was cancelled at a week’s notice due to  Covid having taken a sudden grip on the world. 

Thanks to our indefatigable secretary large amounts of information was disseminated on almost a daily basis to our members that was  being sent to us by the Welsh Government and BCBC; information regarding grants and funding available to support businesses during Covid; health and safety information; on-line courses that were offered (Instagram, Covid safety, etc.). 

Several of our members were personally helped who were having difficulty in access funding.  Our secretary was also pleased to help the Covid 19 Safety Group that was set up to help residents and businesses in the town and helped to distribute to shops three batches of hand sanitizers, PPE, and Covid safety street/shop stickers, all funded by BCBC and the Welsh Government.  In total, 240 bottles of free sanitizer and PPE were distributed to shops in the town.

Our last AGM was held in 2019  in The Y Centre. Despite low attendance, we were still able to conduct business and form an Executive Committee. The month prior to that AGM we had a Wine and Cheese evening in Y Centre when our invited guest speaker was the leader of BCBC Councillor Huw David.  

Our wreath has continued to be laid on Remembrance Sunday. The Remembrance Service was held again in 2021, which was especially poignant having missed a year; several members were present. 

The Rotary Christmas Tree Festivalwas held once again in All Saints Church in 2021when the Chamber entered a Christmas Tree. 

The Christmas Windows Competition was also held again in 2021 with many shops participating. We are grateful to the Town Council for providing the prize money.
Once again Christmas Trees with lightswere provided for external use to participating shops and we are grateful to BCBC for financial support in enabling this.  

The Chamber Christmas Dinner 2021 was held at Cosy Corner with festive tapas and sauces. This also was well attended with Past Presidents and guests enjoying the evening. 

Despite the lockdown, we gained 3 new members as a result of contacts made distributing our free PPE.  We now have 44 of mostly paid-up members.  

Sarah Murphy MS – Member of the Senedd for Bridgend and Porthcawl was the guest and speaker at a meeting early this year. She remained for the whole meeting and participated in an interesting discussion on the future of Porthcawl. The meeting was encouraged and felt supported from her visit and attitude to Porthcawl. 

As we now move on from the difficulties of Covid, the Chamber of Trade looks to a brighter future.  We have various re-branding initiatives underway, such as the new website and logo, initiated by President, Margaret Minhinnick.
We have a very supportive and positive relationship with BCBC, mainly through Town Manager Andrew Hughway and our secretary has maintained contact with Council Leader Huw David. Our relationship with Porthcawl Town Council also remains positive and we are grateful that Councillor Tracy Hill has found time to attend our meetings as an observer during her year as Town Mayor! 

The economic future following Covid is uncertain, but the Chamber of Trade will be here supporting and enabling the business community for at least the next one hundred and twenty five years!

John Berry (Executive committee) with Bridget Hall (Secretary)

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On Tuesday, June 18th, 2024, the Porthcawl Chamber of Trade met at Gone Solar on John Street, Porthcawl. This meeting featured an online presentation from Marc Clifford of On