by Alex Foley, Vice- Chair

I hope you have made it through the winter months ok and that the roadmap out of lockdown is giving you hope for a successful 2021. With the end of the tunnel in sight and with our AGM approaching it feels like a good time to contact you with a short update from the Chamber.

Financial support for businesses: You’re probably aware of the various support options available at present and the budget announced plenty more support for businesses and self-employed workers. Overall, the support appears to have met the government’s aim with covid causing very few business casualties in our town, although we do know that some people have felt frustrated about how unevenly the support has been distributed (many Brixham businesses are self-employed individuals or suppliers to tourism businesses and have received limited direct help). Over the last year the Chamber have been able to help a number of local businesses and organisations to get access to grants, or help to expedite payments from the council. If you would like us to try to help you at all, please do ask me.

AGM: Our usual Chamber activities have been heavily disrupted by the pandemic, and we are all looking forward to the chance to get together in person again. We are aiming to resume networking opportunities with our first face-to-face Chamber meeting in the late summer. In the meantime our AGM will be held via Zoom at 7pm on 30th March and we would love to invite you to join us there. We will have a review of the year and discuss how Brixham’s businesses have fared, with a chance for all attendees to participate. We also hold elections to the chamber’s executive committee, for which you are very welcome to stand! If you’d like more information on these or if you’d like to register for the zoom meeting (so we can send you the login details) please contact me,

Membership: The chamber currently contains 127 member businesses: recent new members include the Curious Kitchen, the Pudding Parlour and several of the Arts and Crafts Market stallholders. Engaging with and supporting our members is our reason for existing – how can we help you and your business? If you have ideas of ways we can be more relevant to you, please let us know.

Markets and tourism promotion: We are planning for the Arts and Crafts market to reopen from April 12th under the old fish market. As with last year this will be in a smaller space, but over more days, Wednesday to Saturday each week and some Sundays too. The Sunday Fore St market is still under review. Our tourism promotion including the Love Brixham brand continues online and on social media, and a lot of the “Visit Brixham” leaflets that we publish and distribute around the UK are still continuing from last year.

A busy season ahead: Accommodation businesses around Torbay are reporting they are booking up extremely quickly, and it looks as though our region is in for the busiest spring and summer season in memory. Is your business ready?! Those of us with businesses which serve tourists directly are being advised to use the next month effectively for planning, recruiting and stocking up. One initiative being supported by the town council is for Brixham shops to buy hanging baskets, which their lengthsman will help you to water throughout the spring and summer. We know a number of businesses including the Middle St Traders are planning to do this – contact the town council direct if you’re interested to learn more.

We all look forward to the chance to catch up with you in person in the coming months!

Alex Foley, Vice-Chair, on behalf of all the Chamber Executive