Gwen Culligan, President, Ennis Chamber, Christmas Message to Members.
As 2019 draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of Ennis Chamber to thank our members for their support and to wish them a very happy, relaxed and peaceful Christmas.
As the only organisation dedicated exclusively to the wellbeing of business in Ennis, the Chamber exists to serve our members and your engagement in the work that we do is very important. To those of you who participated in Chamber activities in 2019, we say a special thank you.
During 2019, we hosted over thirty gatherings across multiple formats. We have welcomed top-quality speakers who opened our minds, fed our curiosity and answered our questions. We lobbied at local authority and government level on issues that matter to our members and to business at large in our town and region. We have connected member businesses to training opportunities and knowledge events and most of all we have connected our members to one another.
2019 been a challenging year, not least with Brexit spreading tentacles of uncertainty, to undermine and challenge so many businesses big and small. We now have some closure on that front, but serious work will have to be done throughout 2020 and beyond to create a smooth relationship between Britain and Ireland post–Brexit and rest assured Ennis Chamber will keep abreast of all developments and will share access to beneficial resources, supports and knowledge with our members.
Great Initiatives and Co–operation
Closer to home, 2019 saw the start of some very exciting initiatives. Ennis Chamber is proud to serve on the Steering Committee for the highly anticipated ‘2040 Spatial and Economic Development Strategy for Ennis’.
We have been involved on a partnership basis with our neighbouring Chambers of Limerick, Shannon and Galway on lobbying initiatives pertaining to Shannon Airport, specifically around the specially commissioned ‘Copenhagen Report’ (commissioned by Limerick Chamber). This initiative resulted in high level meetings, including a meeting with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, which I attended on behalf of Ennis Chamber in October.
On the tourism front, we participated in the Clare Tourism Strategy, but perhaps more significantly for us, our CEO Margaret O’Brien raised funding through LEADER and member businesses to commission consultants ‘Repucon’ in association with Stevens Associates to develop a Niche Destination Plan for Ennis, to help the town attract more visitors. That work is underway and we look forward to acting under its direction in 2020.
Old & New
You would be forgiven for thinking that ten years since its launch, support for Clare Business Excellence Awards might have waned, but far from it. Ennis Chamber hosted what was arguably the best ever awards this year, with entries up, and attendance at the Awards Gala held in November also up, on what was a great night of celebration and good old fashioned fun!
As we moved closer to the season of spending! Ennis Chamber created an initiative called ‘Buy Local Fly Local’. Co–sponsored by Shannon Group, it offered customers of Ennis Chamber businesses the opportunity to win return flights and accommodation to three new exciting routes launched for 2020 by Shannon Airport, serving Vienna, Paris and Barcelona. This promotion resonated with customers and has inspired Ennis Chamber to dream up a number of new promotional activities for 2020….watch this space!
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our partners and to acknowledge the positive output of highly functioning partnerships. We retained Purple Flag status, Coach Friendly Destination status, all through the commitment and work of broad based and invested committees. We worked closely with Ennis Municipal District to deliver some fantastic events for the people of Ennis and Clare and we developed relationships with educators and training bodies to ensure that needs–based training supports offered by Ennis Chamber into the future will strengthen, broaden. and become more professional.
Finally, I’d like to thank the members of Ennis Chamber Executive for their values input, our growing base of sponsors for their support, and our staff for their hard work throughout the year.
It’s now time to relax, unwind, take a deserved break to enjoy the company of family, friends and loved ones.
I wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Christmas and a prosperous New Year.