For the Chamber’s opening networking evening of 2017, we invited Lotte Mikkelsen of United Mind to lead a laughter yoga session. It proved the perfect antidote to so-called ‘Blue Monday’ the previous day.

That’s not to say that we needed cheering up. Lotte commented on what a chatty bunch we were, as she put us through exercises involving breathing, stretching, Mexican waves, imaginary mobile phones, umbrellas and vacuum cleaners, and terrible Australian accents.

 

Perhaps not the most conventional business networking evening, but it certainly started the year with a bang!

Thank you to all who came along and made the Chamber’s Christmas Dinner Dance such a success. Thanks also to the staff of Chartridge Park Golf Club, who enabled us to get on with enjoying the party and our guests, and having a great time.

From the image gallery, it will be clear that a good time was had by all. We were very glad, too, to raise funds for two deserving local charities, The Arctic One Foundation and Chesham Museum – in particular from a ‘heads or tails’ game expertly MC’d by Steve Hayden, and won by Mark Rann.

This brought to a conclusion a busy and successful year for the Chamber, and we look forward to seeing our members and friends again in 2017.

Professor Brendan Walker at the Bucks Skills ShowMoving into a new year is a useful time to revisit priorities and think about actions in the coming year.

One of the Chamber’s priorities is to encourage the development of skills and young people in the region, to ensure that the workforce is in place for sustainable economic growth in the area.

In 2016 this has included working with Bucks Skills Hub, including encouraging our members to participate in work experience programmes, and sponsoring Professor Brendan Walker to speak at the inaugural Bucks Skills Show (right).

Bucks Skills Hub has published an extremely useful guide to labour market conditions in Buckinghamshire, the Labour Market Intelligence Update. This has the strapline: “Let’s work together to prepare young people for their career choices and help them to develop skills for the workplace.”

It lists key industry sector priorities for growth in Buckinghamshire as follows:

  • Engineering and IT : skills shortages particularly acute in technological occupations.
  • Social Care : acute shortfall of care workers predicted by 2020
  • Service Sector : the service-based economy continues to grow, led by business services, tourism, retail, food and drink.
  • Creating opportunity through industrial strategy : for example, the new Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone, covering three key specialist engines for growth – motorsport and high performance engineering; space propulsion and agri-food/health; and specialist creative industries facilities like Pinewood Studios and the National Film & Television School.

cover of bucks skills hub labour market reportGood News : Buckinghamshire is the third-most productive place in the UK behind only London and Berkshire. Gross Value Added (GVA) per hour worked is almost 20% above the national level, and productivity continues to grow faster than the national level.

Bad News : However, one in three Bucks employers stated that 17-18 year olds recruited to first time jobs were “poorly” or “very poorly” prepared for work, mainly due to a lack of work experience or skills and competencies required for the job. Skills gaps were reported in particular in the areas of:

  • Technical, practical or job specific skills;
  • Oral communication;
  • Problem solving skills;
  • Planning and organisation skills;
  • Written communication

It’s important to ensure that young people are supported to make good decisions about their future career. While teachers are experts in qualifications, businesses know what skills and behaviours they are looking for from young people, which is why businesses need to get involved by delivering careers talks, skills workshops and work experience.

That’s why the Chamber works with a number of schools, Bucks Skills Hub and Young Enterprise. We shall seek to make further useful contributions in 2017.

You can download the report here.

new chiltern leisure centre proposalChiltern District Council (CDC) is considering the development of a new state-of-the-art leisure and community hub facility to replace the existing Chiltern Pools, community centre facilities, library and youth centre. It is proposed that the new facility will be located on the existing leisure centre/community facilities site and provide a range of activities, including:

  • 8-lane 25 metre swimming pool with viewing
  • Diving / teaching pool alongside a kids’ splash pad area
  • 4 badminton court sports hall
  • 2 x squash courts
  • Climbing wall
  • Children’s soft play area and clip ‘n’ climb
  • Library
  • Café area
  • Pool Spectator area
  • Exercise Studios
  • 150 station gym
  • Community centre (events/theatre space and community meeting spaces)

CDC believes that this project has the potential to enhance the local economy attracting both residents and visitors into Amersham to enjoy a range of activities in a new state-of-the-art leisure facility.

Have Your Say – closing date 12th December

The Council is undertaking a public consultation, to understand if residents are supportive of developing a new leisure/community hub and also what facilities they would like to be included.

Recently, two of our Comittee members visited CDC’s offices and fell into conversation with two elderly residents who were extremely exercised by the possible dislocaton of their pottery classes. So if you have a view on this development – good, bad, or simply a question of that nature, then please take the opportunity to add your voice.

The public consultation ends on the 12th December 2016. Please visit www.chiltern.gov.uk/leisureconsultation to complete the on-line survey and express your views.

You can download a leaflet here.

Wycombe Sound invited our webmaster, Robert Gibson, to come in and advertise the Chamber’s Christmas Dinner Dance at Chartridge Park Golf Club on Saturday December 17th. Appearing on the mid-morning show with Jonathan Padgen, Robert also took the opportunity to explain the activities of the Chamber, the benefits to members, and some of the successes of 2016.

wycombe sound logoFor us, it was also a welcome opportunity to see Wycombe Sound in action. Having started life with three 4-week-long Restricted Service Licences, they are now 5 weeks into their new life with a long-term community radio licence. Director Philippa Sawyer commented: “Many listeners probably think we’ll go off air again after four weeks. But we’ll be here after Christmas, we’ll still be here in the spring and beyond…”

Wycombe Sound is one of around 30 new members to have joined Chiltern Chamber in 2016. Philippa stressed that they would love to hear from our members and the business community about their activities and events. We would strongly encourage them to take her up on the offer. The Chamber hopes that it will have further opportunities to discuss activities and business matters on air in 2017.

You can listen to Wycombe Sound in the Wycombe area and a little beyond on 106.6 FM, with a potential reach of 133,000 residents. Other possibilities are Wycome Sound’s app, TuneIn or on http://wycombesound.org.uk/. On the web site you can also find details of how to advertise, contribute or participate.