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AXMINSTER: Join traders if you have passion for your town

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Lisa Lyman’s Axminster Chamber of Commerce revolution continues with the decision to open up membership to non-business people.
The new criteria for membership is “feeling passionately” about Axminster and more will be explained during an open meeting of the chamber this week.
Mrs Lyman took over as chairman in September from stalwart Shane Morgan, who was in charge for almost five years.
Having worked for a chamber of commerce in the United States, Mrs Lyman introduced major changes based on her Stateside experience.
These include the creation of six teams within the chamber - each with its own leader and specific area of responsibility; Technology (website/social media); Tourism; Ways and Means (events/fundraising); Government Affairs (representing the business community); Economic and Business Development (improving Axminster for all); Membership (creating member benefits).
The monthly meetings are held quarterly instead, the first one scheduled for Thursday November 28th at 6pm in The Senior Citizens’ Centre.
Time to shout about Axminster
Mrs Lyman said: “Do you Feel Passionately about Axminster? We do and we’re doing something about it, and so can you.”
Issuing the meeting invitation, she added: “Now is the time for you to get involved. We all feel passionately about Axminster and it’s time to shout about its heritage, its unique independent businesses, its market and, most of all, its very strong community.
“Everyone is strapped for time and cash, but the more people involved, the more successful we will be at making it happen.
“We strongly believe that the Axminster chamber should also be a community organisation, so we are opening up membership to people who feel passionate about Axminster but don’t have a business.”
Giving a progress report of the chamber’s work since she became its leader, Mrs Lyman said: “These are very exciting times as we have so many ideas for bringing together businesses and the community to improve not only Axminster’s businesses but its community and economy.
“We are investigating a tourist ‘Brown Sign’ on the A35 directing people to our historic market town and new Welcome to Axminster signs.”
A full update will be available at the meeting as part of the chamber’s new Programme of Work.
Members are expected to participate on at least one team and members of the community who would like to be involved, should contact the chamber.
Membership secretary Anne Wells promoted membership by saying: “We encourage all businesses, large and small, in the Axminster area to join us with a special rate of £5 membership to last until April.
“We also welcome non-business individuals who would like to be involved with our new projects.
“Don’t wait to be asked, just contact us - we’d love to hear from you.”
Mrs Lyman concluded: “In 1950 our founding secretary, Mr HR Jeffery, remarked”: ‘There are still a few traders who we should like to see with us but for some reason remain outside.
‘Possibly they say ‘What use is the chamber to me?’ In answer I ask them to consider ‘What does the future hold for the trader who stands alone?’
“Private enterprise is fighting a hard battle, and never more than today was the need for unity greater.
‘Without that unity the struggle for survival will cause many to fall by the way.’
Anyone interested in getting involved, but unable to attend the meeting, should e-mail or pop into the Tourist Information Centre, Apple Tree Galleries or Wells Carpets and pick up a membership brochure.


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