Cumbria Chamber AGM roundup 2022

It was fantastic to welcome Chamber members to our AGM on 28th June. The event was a great opportunity for networking with other members, staff and the Board, with people making some useful links. We’re already looking forward to next year, planning to make it an even bigger event.

In the meantime here’s some of what we covered….

Presentation of Accounts

We presented the accounts for 2020/21, which was a challenging year for us, as it was for many.  Accounts for 2021-2022 will be available soon and show a much healthier position. We have real concerns though about 2022-2023, for ourselves and others, given the current, and deteriorating, economic picture.

Chamber Team

A number of new people have joined the team since the start of Covid or just before: Eve, Ellen, Kev, Joe, Liz, Paula E and Tracey, who many of you will have met or spoken with. Two team members have come and gone in that time, one due to the end of a project, the other a new graduate who left to develop her career in another local company. Our new Marketing Manager will start in early August. We’ve also had staff changes around how we handle policy.

The team is really committed to supporting you as Cumbrian businesses, whether as Chamber members or through Cumbria Business Growth Hub, and I’d really encourage you to get in touch.


After a couple of false starts with policy we’ve adopted a new approach that we’re much happier with, given that as a Chamber policy should be part of our DNA. So I’m now leading on policy with activity spread amongst some other members of the team too. Feedback is important and I’d really encourage you to get involved, respond to surveys and participate in events (such as MP’s lunches, Strategic Employer Groups, etc.). Also to provide actual examples as these have most impact when lobbying.

Last year we delivered the LSIP Trailblazer, working with a range of partners around the county. This was immensely well received. Our bid is in for the national rollout for the next 3 years, working with the same partners as for the Trailblazer – BECBC, Cumbria Tourism, CITB, CBI, CLA, Farmer Network and the NFU.

Commercial activity

Eve presented on commercial activity. Despite the challenges of Covid, since August 2019 membership has grown from 378 to 780. She highlighted some of the member services and the benefits of taking advantage of these, such as Quest (HR, Health & Safety, Legal advice & insurance, VAT & tax helpline 750+ document library), Westfield Health, AA, GO Low Carbon (utilities), Moneycorp (foreign currency), export documentation and Chamber Finance Finder.

Adding to these we’re launching a fantastic new service with Barclays which gives Chamber members tremendous rates on card transactions.

We also offer a great range of events, training and networking opportunities. These include the Directors Club, sponsored by Muckle LLP and Rachael Bell Wealth Management.

Eve closed by highlighting, despite its challenges, the success of the Kickstart scheme, for which we were a Gateway. Of the 230 placements we arranged for young people in or at risk of long term unemployment more than continued in permanent employment.

To find out more about any of the above please do contact Eve, Derek or Kev:

Business support

Lesley highlighted the range of support currently on offer and recently delivered under our Cumbria Business Growth Hub umbrella, which provides a one-stop-shop, promoting our own services and those offered by other organisations. This includes support for start-ups as well as established businesses such as:

  • New Enterprise Allowance start-up support for unemployed people (under contract to DWP)
  • BSUS Business Start-Up Support (funded through ERDF, local authorities and Sellafield)
  • Growth Hub in partnership with Lancaster University Management School (funded through ERDF, Lancaster University local authorities, Penrith Industrial BID, Sellafield)
  • Peer Networks (under contract to Cumbria LEP, funded by BEIS)
  • Business Hub (under contract to Cumbria LEP, funded by BEIS)
  • DIT international trade (as part of the DIT contract with a consortium of Chambers through Chamberlink)

Particularly popular and expanding activities include supply chain support to identify and take advantage of new opportunities, specialist food & drink services, consultancy subsidies and peer networks. We now deliver peer networks directly through our ERDF Growth Hub and BSUS project, which has enabled us to significantly widen the criteria so there is now no minimum turnover or employee number requirement, allowing many more to benefit. We have also launched an Access to Finance and a Workforce Development Service, responding to identified needs. We have 35 advisers across a range of specialisms.

As part of promoting and bringing together the wider offer we deliver a range of events and resources working with other delivery organisations, e.g. on environmental support.

To find out more about any of the above contact Lesley,

And remember, you don’t need to be a Chamber member to use the Growth Hub.

Election of Council members

Before moving to election of Council Members, members of the Board introduced themselves. You can see more about our Board members here:

The Council is a group of Chamber members, chosen by the membership, who appoint the Board from among members of the Council. Council members need to be re-elected or stand down periodically. There were three members up for re-election Allan Wilson, Alan Wilson and Edward O’Keeffe, and all were reappointed unanimously.


Get in touch!

Please do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about any of the above. Or indeed to join the Chamber if you’re not already a member.

Looking forward to seeing you at the next AGM – and hopefully before!

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce