May 2017 Breakfast: Networking, the AGM and exciting plans ahead


May 2017 saw us back at our new venue, the Bistro, Stonham Barns, and the usual excellent breakfast.

As ever, there were some excellent and entertaining 60-second summaries, not least Business Plumber Kate Kelly’s threat of “severe coaching round the back of the bike sheds”, a technique that Pete Stanway of Project HR pledged to adopt.

Alison Withers, of multimedia reputations, gave a “strong and stable” presentation to show why attempted brainwashing is not the way to use words to market a business persuasively, something with which Allan Scott, of Mill House Media, agreed. It’s about telling a story, he said: “who doesn’t remember the OXO mum?”

Shelli Moyes, of MPMIT, had to break the habit of a lifetime with an evening G & T after an “absolutely horrendous” Monday reassuring customers after the weekend’s WannaCry ransomware outbreak.  Fortunately, none of her customers had been affected.

Lovely to see Adi Baldry, of Priority Driver Training, who had been called in by a Northamptonshire company to carry out driver training after it had had to pay £150,000-worth of insurance claims involving their drivers in just one year.


May 2017. The AGM voteAnnual reports on the state of the Chamber

This month was AGM and officers’ report time:

Chairman’s report

Allan Scott explained that we are linked to Suffolk Chamber “at arm’s length” – but still giving us the legal right to use the “Chamber” name, which gives us greater credibility when we need to raise issues affecting small businesses. He recorded our gratitude to Suffolk Chamber for the generous transitional grant they have given us over the last three years. The final instalment will be paid this year.

In response to feedback from members the Chamber now meets for breakfast at two new venues, The Mix, in Stowmarket in the winter, and Stonham Barns in the summer.

Allan said part of the decision to use the Mix was to help raise its profile. Many people are unaware of the superb facilities it offers, or the support it provides to young people looking to start businesses of their own.

The Chamber is also establishing reciprocal links with the neighbouring Chambers at Hadleigh and Sudbury – so all members can attend each other’s meetings at member rates – and opening a similar discussion with ISSBA.

Regrettably, there has been no movement on planning consent for Gateway 14, the proposed Stowmarket business park development next to the A14, he said. Generating more jobs for the town is going to be crucial given the plans already approved for further housing in the town.

Treasurer’s report

Kate Kelly reported on the state of finances. This quarter the balance is a healthy £3,900, partly as a result of banking last year’s grant from Suffolk Chamber, and partly because most membership renewals come at this time of year.  However, we do need to go on attracting new members – so any member who brings a guest to one of our breakfast events will now receive a small discount.

A new scheme allowing membership fees to be paid monthly is intended to offer particular help to startups.

Secretary’s report

Keely organises two monthly meetings, the coffee morning in Needham Market and the Breakfast, currently at Stonham Barns. She is also coordinating the outreach to the other Chambers mentioned in Allan’s report. Members can do a presentation at either coffee or breakfast for free while non-members pay just £10.

The meeting format is different in December when there is a craft fair as part of the coffee morning, and a Christmas lunch rather than a breakfast.


2018 Business Exhibition

As Danny Cuff was unable to attend Allan read out his progress report on the March 2018 Mid Suffolk business exhibition, to be held at The Mix. Ipswich-based Evance is now working with the Chamber team to produce the exhibition website, and logos – created by the young design team at The Mix – have been delivered and approved. Watch out for more information coming soon.

Allan also confirmed that we will be extending support for the Stowmarket Food Bank for a further year as our nominated charity.

Members were then asked to vote on whether to re-elect the committee for another year – a motion which was carried unanimously!


Tell us what you want

Chairman Allan Scott is happy to receive any suggestions for what members want to see the Chamber doing in the future. Please send your ideas (and your want lists) to [email protected].


Dates for your diary:

June Coffee Morning June Breakfast 
Needham Market Community Centre The Bistro, Stonham Barns
Friday, 2 June Friday, 16 June
10am-noon Starting at 6.45am

For more information contact Keely Taylor

phone: 01449 770965

e-mail: [email protected]


Anyone who has a story to publicise should contact marketing officer Alison Withers:

[email protected]

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