Chamber Chat with Chris Gardner
Reasons to be cheerful
It’s almost twelve months since we first locked down and it’s definitely been a year to forget. Most people will know someone who has lost their life to the virus and there have been few events in history which have so universally impacted the global population. As an accountant in general practice and a director of the chamber of commerce, I am mindful of the severe impact that the virus has had on many businesses; some will not recover and many jobs have been lost.
Despite this, I believe we can look ahead and find many reasons to be cheerful. Morecambe’s motto is ‘beauty surrounds, health abounds’. Whilst physical health has demonstrably not abounded of late, many of us have enjoyed walking on the promenade as well as exploring other local areas we may not have, had we not been locked down, with the natural beauty which surrounds us significantly improving our mental health.
I think the beauty of the local area will aid the area’s economic recovery as we exit lockdown. The coming months will see restrictions gradually being lifted whilst international travel will remain limited. What better opportunity for our area to attract day trippers and families taking staycations?
Collapsing business profits in some sectors and growing job losses have created financial crises for many. However, this is not the case for many others. A large proportion of the population has continued to be paid as normal, although not being able to spend money as they usually would. This, combined with a successful vaccination programme, is likely to see the hospitality sector rebounding strongly, with many of us being able to start visiting the cafes, pubs and restaurants we previously would have.
Looking slightly further ahead, I am bullish about the area generally. Lancaster is still emerging as a visitor location and Morecambe’s long post air-travel decline was already gradually being reversed, and can now look forward to many visitors who would have previously been jetting off to Spain getting a taste for the beaches of Morecambe Bay instead. We have a world class university, great transport links and all that surrounding beauty. If we can add an Eden Project to the list, we really can start looking forward to a bright future.