Bicester Chamber and the 21st Century
As the business landscape changes around not just, Bicester and District Chamber but chambers all around the country it is essential to maintain a watchful eye on what exactly a local Chamber of Commerce’s role is.
As with Bicester’s Chamber, a lot has changed since the 1930’s when it first seems to have become, in any shape or form, a formalised group.
During the 1950s and 1960s it was probably more a place for many of the local retailers to ‘come together’. Having said that a look back at the officers tells a story of membership coming from many different aspects of the business community. Over this period Bicester’s Chamber was petitioning all levels of local government on local matters, the post office and British Railways were also in their sights, as was the National Chambers body.
Things have moved on over the intervening decades, locally and nationally, for example:
In many cases, and Bicester is certainly one such case, they are no longer the only ‘game in town’ as far as offering the opportunity for business owners to come together and discuss shared concerns or share information on the goods and/or services that they offer.
Reorganising by National Government has seen the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships who are charged with supporting the business community and Bicester sits within the areas of two such bodies.
Specifically here in Bicester, we also have the creation of Bicester Vision. This is funded such that it can engage a paid manager and other administrative support. The Chamber works well with Bicester Vision however as a result of its coming about and it’s paid resources we have seen the larger businesses in the town turn their focus onto that group as the Chambers unpaid volunteers cannot deliver the same level of support.
As a result of the above and more, Bicester’s Chamber has regularly reviewed its role, even considering if it still has one, and we are now doing so again.
In the past the Chamber has been an influencer locally on:
We are now seeking the opinion and views of the wider business community on how we might continue to best serve the local business community and invite you to complete the short online questionnaire that can be found via links on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
We would welcome enquiries to join and help us in being the consistent and constant voice for businesses in the town.
Peter Cox – Chairman Bicester Chamber