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The head of the Chew Valley’s leading business organisation says firms in the area ought to join forces and make a resolution that the New Year will hear them speaking with one voice.

Jim King, Chairman of Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce, made his call for unity as the local group celebrated its first anniversary - now it boasts more than 50 members.

“People outside the area may regard the valley as a sleepy Somerset back water. But the truth is it is a hive of industry and our members reflect a wide variety of businesses, from traditional rural pursuits right the way through to the most modern of high-tech companies,” said Mr King.

The Chamber of Commerce is a forum for businesses to get together and discuss issues of common concern, and there’s been a steady influx of new members over the course of its first year of existence.

They’ve been able to debate key subjects such as crime, parking and planning.

“What it means is that people running small businesses no longer need to feel isolated. By being part of the Chamber of Commerce they will have a voice not only in the locality, but at regional and national level too.”

“It’s becoming ever more important that companies, especially those outside the main conurbations, get together to focus their attention on the topics that give them most concern. Many decisions that affect us all are now being made in Councils, in Parliament and in Europe, and we must be careful that our opinions do not go unnoticed,” added Mr King.

There is good news for potential new members - subscriptions are still merely £5 a year. Forms are available from Secretary Rod Podger, tel: 01275.332612, fax: 01275.333515.

“We’ve made a splendid start in 1999 and we plan to do even more next year.”

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