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Chamber Chat with Chris Gardner

As we head towards the end of 2023, it is worth looking back on what has been an eventful year for Lancaster and Morecambe Chamber of Commerce. We’ve seen a number of changes and although there have been some sad farewells, we can start 2024 with some optimism.

I was fortunate enough to become President at our AGM in June and my first act as President was to thank the outgoing President Jon Powell who had worked, often behind the scenes, tirelessly to further the interests of Chamber members. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first six months in the role, but it would not have been possible without support from the rest of the board, notably Vice-President Tarnia Elsworth.

Perhaps the most obvious change this year was to our name. In June we replaced ‘and District’ with ‘Morecambe’. The vote to do so was unanimous and I believe that we’re absolutely right to communicate to the world that we are the Chamber for this (mostly) sunny coastal town on the rise!

Another obvious change is to our home. In the summer the Chamber office moved to the Employer Hub at Lancaster and Morecambe College. This is a great location, nicely between Lancaster and Morecambe but ultimately it is a temporary home. We are currently working with the Churches Conservation Trust to turn St John’s Church in Lancaster into a shared workspace and Chamber HQ. This incredibly exciting project is very close to our hearts and we are very keen to hear from members and non-members as it enters an advanced design phase. The following link is to a short summary of the project and a survey which we would urge you to complete so that the project reflects potential users desires as much as possible:

We said goodbye in 2023 to our membership officer Jody and our CEO Vicky and I know that both will be missed by members and colleagues alike. We all wish them all the very best as they take their next steps. We have appointed a new membership officer and are currently advertising for a new Head of Operations. See here for details:

Our events program grew in the year and continues to thrive. We look forward to an extensive program of networking and social events in 2024. The Chamber undertook an EDI review during the year and this is a big part of our drive to make the organisation as welcoming as possible to absolutely anyone who might benefit from our mission, which is to connect, support and represent enterprises in the district.

Finally, as this eventful year draws to a close, I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Lancaster and Morecambe Chamber of Commerce.

Chris Gardner is a Director of Waters and Atkinson Chartered Accountants and President of the Chamber.