Mon 26 / 07 / 21
Brighton Chamber AGM 2021
Here are some of our highlights from this year's Brighton Chamber AGM including what we achieved in 2020, and what we're looking forward to for the rest of 2021.
By Hannah Jackson of Brighton Chamber
In July, we hosted our annual Brighton Chamber AGM, looking back at the achievements and challenges in 2020, and looking forward to our plans for the next few months.
We were joined by 34 Chamber members, plus the Brighton Chamber Board, including President Julie Roff, who kicked us off by taking us through some of the Chamber’s achievements in 2020.
Achievements in 2020
2020 was not the year that anyone had foreseen, and when Covid struck in March the Chamber team had to adapt quickly, moving the full programme of events online and embracing the need to organise more business support, help, and signposting for local businesses.
And although it was a turbulent year for many, with some members having to put their membership on pause last year, we still welcome 150 new members in 2020. We’re also pleased to report that many members who previously paused their membership have been able to re-join in 2021.
With an online events programme, the Chamber team put on over 190 events, attracting 3,488 attendees. This included 37 member-led Bite-sized Learning workshops, 4 Catch the Wave workshops for over 80 businesses, plus new event Brighton Base Camp - the younger sibling of the Brighton Summit, and our largest scale virtual event to date. (Read about Brighton Base Camp: Bananas here.)
The Brighton & Hove Living Wage campaign has now been running for 9 years, and has just reached over 700 employer signups, meaning 3,600+ salaries have been raised across Brighton and Hove.
Moving on to Chamber finances, Board Member Sara Bassett took us through the Chamber’s finances in 2020 and plans for 2021. You can view the 2020 accounts here.
While 2020 was a challenging year with less income from membership and events, costs were well managed and the Chamber utilised the Government support for Covid during the year including furloughing a member of the team, VAT deferment to assist cash-flow, received a business backing grant from Coast to Capital to pivot services online and a Brighton and Hove Discretionary Grant.
The cash position of the Chamber remains steady and looking to 2021 the budget has been set conservatively, taking into consideration the changing times. Sara said “To sum up, 2021 will be an unusual year, but the Chamber is well positioned to respond as we come through this time”.
Members voted to approve the 2020 year-end accounts.
Sarah Springford, Brighton Chamber CEO, took us through a few board changes.
Daniel McNaught, stepped down as Board Member after three years. Thank you to Daniel and we look forward to you helping us behind the scenes at the Summit in April next year. And as well as re-electing Julie Roff, Jill Woolf, Jo Crease, Sam Knowles, Sara Bassett and Andrew Thomas, we also welcomed two new Board Members, Emma Mills-Sheffield and James Dempster.
Emma Mills-Sheffield is Founder of Mindsetup Ltd. When we asked her why she wanted to be on the Chamber Board, she said: “Being part of a thriving network and business community in Brighton is something that I’m passionate about, and I’m actively involved with the Chamber. Running Bite-sized workshops, facilitating events and as a curator for the Summit, I’m standing for election to the Board so I can bring a strategic business focus too. “
When asking the same of James Dempster, Managing Director of Fox&Bear, he said: “This great organisation has been so integral to the growth of my business and me as a person, so I want to be able to help the enthusiastic, intelligent and hard-working team at the Chamber in any way that I can.”
Read more about our newly elected, and re-elected Board Members here.
Membership, and looking forward to 2021
Looking at membership, and forward to 2021, Sarah handed over to Amy Lishman, Head of Member Engagement.
Adjusting to the new normal has continued in 2021. Our virtual events programme has remained popular, and we plan to continue delivering online events, in addition to our in-person events, for the foreseeable.
Together with our partners, we’ve delivered business support programmes including Reset.Restart and From Brighton with Love, and hosted our second Brighton Base Camp (read more about Brighton Base Camp: En Route here).
Over the past 18 months, we’ve also seen a larger percentage of members from outside of Brighton join the Chamber, with a third of our membership now based outside of Brighton and Hove.
We have continued to help the Brighton Chamber business community, sharing news stories, useful business support and introducing new events, like our City event, to help you engage in conversation with business and council leaders about issues affecting Brighton businesses.
Laura Barban, Chamber Events Manager, has been exploring some new venues for us to try, different event formats and new style events such as Netwalking. The Brighton Summit will now be in April 2022, and we’re working on a new HYBRID event for later on this year.
No Chamber event would have been complete without some networking, so we ended the AGM by zooming (pun intended!) attendees into breakout rooms to talk about their own achievements from last year.
We enjoyed hearing about some of the fantastic achievements from Chamber members in the last year. We shared some of our highlights here.
Thank you to our event sponsor, Galloways Accounting for sponsoring the AGM.
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