Notice to Members
The BoS AGM was held on Monday 6th March and welcomed a good turnout of members, officers and interested parties.
As you may be aware, Peter Ewart, having completed the maximum two terms as Chairman, has resigned from his post and Lin Barnes from her post as Secretary. Shelley Nott resigned from her post as Vice Chair in November last year.
Unfortunately, no nominations for Chair, Vice Chair or Secretary were received meaning that BoS has become a dormant organisation. At the close of the AGM these positions remained vacant but with a pledge of support for their positions as Treasurer and Marketing/Communications from Carl Page at Ensors and Jake Barton from Rade respectively, if a satisfactory leadership solution could be resolved. A pledge of support from Scott Russell was also received.
As tabled in the Agenda if such a situation arose, an EGM then followed.
Suffolk Coast Business (SCB), the umbrella organisation supporting the Business Associations of Saxmundham, Framlingham, Leiston and Aldeburgh, had been made aware of the anticipated resignations and consequently the SCB Chair, Jenny Stockman, and Project Co-ordinator, Alyson Tipping, were present at both the AGM and subsequent EGM.
In the discussion that followed, several BoS members suggested that perhaps a wider reaching membership organisation may be required to reduce the town centric burden on individual committees including investigating the possibility of direct membership of SCB.
SCB has proposed hosting an open meeting for the four Business Associations in order to gauge resource requirements, enthusiasm and ideas for the development of SCB to ensure the sustainability and strength of organisations in each individual town. A proposed date and venue for this meeting will be put forward very soon once the SCB board has been consulted. The agenda of this meeting will focus on what businesses need, what Business Associations need and also what, if any, links there are with the community. The meeting will also agree a timeline for actions and a deadline for resolving the status of BoS.
SCB are currently undertaking a major survey to ascertain what role businesses want Business Associations to undertake and what services they should offer. SCB is extending this survey to community groups and other stakeholders in each town. It is also doing further research with Business Association officers, past and present, to find out the advantages and barriers to people taking up posts.
In parallel to all this research, SCB has been developing its three-year plan and has already taken into account some issues being encountered by BoS, Leiston and other Business Associations. It is currently exploring mechanisms whereby it can provide a more practical shared resource for all member Business Associations, take care of admin, online presence and marketing, plus establish a physical public presence in each town where business support can be accessed. This will take time to fully develop and fund and further input from the four Business Associations is required.
Whilst a solution is found, BoS will effectively become dormant and membership frozen.
Despite the dormant state of BoS, the meetings closed on a positive note and an assertion from all present that there continues to be a definite need for a business association in one form or another.
The AGM and EGM minutes, plus Chairman’s Report and BoS Financial Report will be posted shortly on the BoS website.