Remember the old days ?
By Sandy Bell, President of Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Once upon a time, long ago, members used to meet up in places like the Queen’s Arms or the Pelican to have a sociable drink and chat before our regular meetings and afterwards some of us would stay on for a meal - amazing, when you think about it.
Things are very different now of course, but it takes more than a global pandemic to de-rail Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce. We have been keeping members up to date by sending out regular briefings, but it was especially good to hold a virtual meeting using the video conferencing tool that has, virtually overnight, become a mainstay of business.
It wasn’t the same as the convivial atmosphere we enjoyed in our usual meetings. Those get togethers are vitally important because they allow people to get to know one another and forge trusted relationships which helps get business done. But it was still good to “meet” up to share experiences and talk about what the future might look like for the Valley.
The overwhelming feeling I had from the meeting was that people had a real determination to work their way through the current situation. This has meant things like the Gazette temporarily cutting the number of pages, so it was great news to hear that the paper would soon be edging back to normal.
Others, such as Vice President Rod Podger, at Underwood Lamb, had invested heavily in technology which allowed his accountancy business to adapt to remote working, enabling clients to use digital signatures and so keep processes up to date.
The situation has also highlighted the large number of people who have already been working from home or in premises in the Valley, sometimes working with customers around the globe. Ever improving connectivity will surely mean that sector will grow even more.
What is clear is that everyone has had to change the way they do things, for example Chew Valley Arts Trail will be online this year. I know that some people have found the isolation very difficult, but it might just be by reviewing how we all work, we will find better and smarter ways of running our businesses. That will be good for the long term of the Chew Valley economy and for the clients and customers who rely on local suppliers.
If you’d like to join us in Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or have a look at our website – www.chewvalleychamber.co.uk