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Doncaster Chamber Reflects on a Year of Landmark Achievements and Looks Ahead to the Future at 2022 AGM

Doncaster Chamber recapped a year of major accomplishments, tentpole events, and continued growth at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) today, while also taking a look at the network’s ambitions for the future.

Held at the Eco Power Stadium, this breakfast event saw Chamber members gather together for a comprehensive overview of the past twelve months. Among other things, they were apprised of the organisation’s finances, reminded of 2022’s biggest campaigns and shown (in real practical terms) how much of an impact the network has had for Doncaster.

Chamber President, Andy Morley, delivered the AGM’s year-in-review portion. Summarising the detail from this afterwards, he said: “As we all know, 2022 was turbulent and fraught with challenges. Across the country, everybody felt the pinch of rising energy costs, skyrocketing inflation, and supply chain disruptions.

“Suffice it to say, it’s been a tough year and the Chamber had to really step up to the plate in order to help businesses weather that storm. Looking back over all we have achieved since January, I am proud to say that we have done just that and have managed to make a real difference in Doncaster.

“The Chamber led our successful City Status bid, put its full weight behind the Great British Rail HQ campaign, and valiantly lobbied to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport, a fight that is still ongoing and will continue long into 2023.

“Outside of this, we also continued to deliver our usual suite of activities and put on a number of hugely popular events. On that note, our flagship awards ceremony was a resounding success, attracting over 900 guests and showcasing the very best that our community has to offer. Meanwhile, our annual business conference staged an incredible comeback after a temporary hiatus and the OD Live careers fair was bigger than ever.”

“All in all, my first year as Chamber President has been an incredibly busy one and I am honoured to have been a part of all this good work. Dan Fell and the  team have done some truly phenomenal things in 2022 and I cannot wait to see where they will take us next.”

Speaking of which, Dan Fell, Chief Exec of the Chamber, then took over to outline his vision for 2023. Reiterating the content of his AGM speech, he said: “There’s no getting around the fact that the past twelve months often felt like an uphill battle, with everybody facing economic pressures that are unlikely to ease in the New Year. That’s why we must continue to fight in the corner of businesses, both on a local level and nationally, via our umbrella body the BCC.

“Just as we pushed for the establishment of the UTC and for City Status, we will continue to play a leading role in campaigns that will have a profound impact on the region, in our continued mission to make Doncaster the UK’s best place for doing businesses.

“In the immediate future, we will be vociferously supporting projects like the upcoming expansions of The Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Unity and iPort, all of which will contribute to increasing Doncaster’s international reputation and to attracting further inward investment. Not to mention, we will persist in lobbying for Doncaster to win the government’s GBR HQ competition, as well as for a new hospital to be built and to save DSA.

“Of course, cultivating the next generation of talent — so that tomorrow’s workforce is the very best that it can be — remains a top priority for the Chamber also. In terms of our focus on education and skills, this will continue at pace in 2023, as we seek to improve the Doncaster Promise and to deliver even more career readiness activities.

“Elsewhere, OD Live will be returning in March and it is our ambition for this to be the career fair’s greatest iteration to date. With an emphasis this year on celebrating Doncaster’s remarkable growth, a line-up of fantastic motivational speakers and a number of major exhibitors from across different industries, it’s already shaping up to be another incredible Chamber event.

“Finally, 2023 will see us commencing work on the South Yorkshire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) in earnest. A great deal of preparation has already gone into this but, in the New Year, we shall begin consulting with businesses and education providers alike, to find out what they want to see from our region’s skills system. The LSIP is a hugely important project for South Yorkshire, and will go on to inform school curriculums and give employers a say in how young people are primed for the world of work.

“While it might sound like we’ve got a lot on our plate for the coming year, we always need more. Whenever we meet with strategic partners or indeed our members, we strive to come away from those conversations with plenty of homework, because we are committed to doing everything we can for the betterment of Doncaster.

“Challenging months are no-doubt ahead for businesses and in such times the Chamber is more relevant than ever. Rest assured that we will rise to the challenge and our door is always open to any businesses looking for support.”

On the subject of the network’s future, the AGM also saw the official re-appointment of Jim Carley, Managing Director of Carley Consult, as a non-executive director (following an election earlier this year). Jim’s firm has been based in Doncaster for over 6 years, and he has been an active member of the Chamber board of directors since 2019. As the founder of a smaller business, Jim brings a valuable perspective to the running of the organisation, ensuring that it properly represents SMEs.

Meanwhile, Steve Bradley’s term on the board came to an end this year as well. Dan Fell took the opportunity at the meeting to thank Steve, who is the Director of Business Banking at Netwest, for his steadfast service.

To find out more about Doncaster Chamber, how it is run and its membership offer, click here.



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