Now Is The Time To Invest In Weymouth & Portland

WPCC 2015

Published at 11:21am 3rd March 2015.

“Now is the time to invest in Weymouth and Portland.” That was the key message of the first speech given by the new President of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, Michelle Hind.

Michelle Hind of Redferns Solicitors was elected President of the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce at their AGM, held on 27 February. She is joined on the Executive Committee by new Vice President, Scott Aitken of Tecan. Mike House of Albert Goodman was appointed Treasurer for the second year.

Michelle began her year as President with a speech saying she was honoured to be elected. She then called on local businesses to spread the word that now is the time to invest in Weymouth and Portland. She acknowledged that local firms are under tremendous pressure but drew attention to the many new initiatives that could boost prosperity in the area, such as proposals to upgrade the rail link to London and the millions of pounds in funding available to Dorset.

Michelle said: “We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our competitors and we cannot do this if we stand alone, which is why the Chamber of Commerce is your voice, the voice of businesses.”

Michelle thanked outgoing President, Julie Cleaver, for her determination and hard work.

Mike House of Albert Goodman, at the end of his first year as Treasurer, reported that 2014 had been a good year for the Chamber’s finances, and that it had made a surplus after tax of £3,700.

In her final address as retiring President, Julie Cleaver looked back on a year where the Chamber has been involved in some major projects that could significantly affect the future of the borough, including Weymouth Town Centre Master Plan, the launch of the Jurassica Project and the first year of the Weymouth BID.

Julie also noted Chamber achievements, such as the affiliation with the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and the first Apprenticeship Fair in March 2014 where Lord Digby Jones addressed young people and the business community. The Chamber also hosted a visit by MP Priti Patel, organised in conjunction with local MP Richard Drax, who himself hosted a Chamber tour of the Houses of Parliament.

She said: “The Chamber has grown from strength to strength over the past 5 years. The membership numbers have remained pretty much constant during that time at around 150 during the year with businesses joining and leaving along the way but I think it is true to say that we are a ‘constant’ in the town and represent a solid chunk of the local economy including tourism, engineering, marine, service industries and retail to name a few.”

Julie thanked members of the Executive Committee who were stepping down after years of service: two Past Presidents, Andy Cooke of Getaway Digital and Mark Blunden of Futurum. After 25 years of service with the Chamber, Andy Cooke was granted Honorary Membership. Julie also thanked others not standing for re-election after making a significant contribution in 2014: Christine Collins, Linda Parkinson-Hardman, Caroline Brewer and Marcel Ciantar.