Uckfield Chamber of Commerce enjoyed a really action-packed year in 2018 and finished the year with 220 members.
After the AGM, we had a very well supported members’ meeting in a heated marquee at the Bluebell Vineyard at Furners Green, a barbecue at the Crockstead Farm Hotel at Halland and at Screen 2 at The Picture House, Uckfield, followed by a visit to Hendall Manor Barns, just north of Uckfield.
There was an inaugural breakfast networking meeting at Chamber member The Highlands Inn in Uckfield with guest speakers which was well attended.
The second breakfast took place in October with more than 30 people attending. This was a new event organised by Chamber open to members and other businesses in town. It was very well supported and there are more planned for 2019.
The big event of 2018 was the Uckfield Chamber Business Awards which was an outstanding success held on November 8 at the East Sussex National where more than 330 people attended a gala dinner.
There were 15 sponsored business categories and the sponsors carried out the judging. There were just under 1,900 nominations across all the awards. Each sponsor selected three finalists and the winner. All the finalists and winners attended the Gala dinner.
The big winner of the night was Kevin Markwick of the Uckfield Picture House who picked up the Business Person of the Year, The Outstanding Achievement Award and The Picture House itself winning The Business of The Year category. The charity of the night was Friends of Sussex Hospices whose chairperson, Kathy Gore, attended and picked out three cash prizes. The Chamber raised £1,600 on the night for the charity.
We then moved quickly to organising the late night shopping event when the High Street is closed and a number of stalls and entertainments are spread up and down it, making it a really grand evening for all.
In addition the Chamber produced a glossy colour booklet promoting Christmas in Uckfield delivered to 7,000 households.
The Chamber has been active in campaigning on various issues.
One is the refurbishment of the Uckfield CCTV system where the Chamber paid for an extra camera to be provided to cover part of the industrial estate.
It is also actively involved in re-establishing the Youth Trust with a number of community groups, including the Town Council, and has pledged £5,000 to help re-establish regular meetings of the Youth Trust.
The Chamber also submitted its views on the new Wealden local plan and supported the proposed expansion at Gatwick Airport.
The Chamber website was re-built and improved being launched in the autumn and it revamped its printed business directory. Phew – what a year!
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