It’s been a year now since our organisations felt the first impact of Covid-19. In the last 12 months of the pandemic we have all faced challenges with fears around our health, our livelihoods and the way we socialise.
It’s been a difficult time for us all. No business will have been untouched and many of us will be wondering what the post-Covid world will look like for the way that we work and trade.
The Chamber is no different. Like all businesses we have evolved the way that we work and I think the value of Chamber membership has also evolved to reflect the times. Since the pandemic hit we have been unable to hold our regular networking breakfasts and lunches; we are working towards a September date for our Business Expo and the flagship Business Awards will return in 2022.
However, with virtual meetings and regular updates the Chamber has been a vital voice during these uncertain months. From one-to-one meetings with members in desperate situations, to forums with the Island’s MP, the Isle of Wight Council and Visit Isle of Wight, the Chamber has represented the needs of Island businesses. Through the British Chamber of Commerce network and our productive relationship with Bob Seely MP we have lobbied Westminster on behalf of our business community and we have also helped Island firms to access and unlock funding packages that have kept them afloat.
It’s also worth stressing that, more than ever, your Chamber membership means your business is protected. In these uncertain times your Chamber membership continues to provide the support offered by Chamber HR, Chamber Health & Safety, Chamber Tax and Chamber Legal, with 24-hour advice lines and access to vital documentation via our website.
Your membership includes unlimited 365 day access to our experienced specialist legal advisors via our advice line, as well as Insurance cover to deal with a full HMRC enquiry, aspect enquiries, PAYE disputes and VAT disputes. You have unlimited access to our experienced specialist HR advisors for help and guidance on subjects like disciplinary issues, long term sickness, persistent absence, redundancy and holiday pay.
I know that this has been a difficult time for us all and I hope that we can all start to feel more positive about the future as we slowly exit lockdown. The resilience of the Island’s business community is remarkable and in a community like ours the importance of face-to-face networking cannot be underestimated. Our high value business networking events will return when it is safe to do so and I look forward to being able to meet with you again at our public events when circumstances allow.
This tough year has forced us all to adapt and sometimes to take difficult decisions. It has been a year of learning and great change. I have felt this as a business owner myself, and as the CEO of a Chamber team that has been scattered, working apart from each other and harder than ever to respond to the changing needs of our members. I’d like to take this moment to thank my team and to reiterate that your membership matters to us.
We have all been living through a moment of history, unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. I hope that this one year milestone will mark a moment for us all, from which we can progress and rebuild. I hope we can continue to count on your support as members and I hope we can all move forward together.