An Introduction to the Chamber
The Dorchester and District Chamber of Commerce was formed during the First World War. It is one of the longest established groups in the town being just 28 years younger than Dorset County Council which was formed in 1889. The organisation was recently renamed the “Dorchester and District Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism” to reflect the realities of the twenty first century. It is part of a larger organisation – the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry which itself feeds information and opinions through to the British Chamber of Commerce.
Services to members
With over 100 members covering the town and its hinterland, membership guarantees a broad network of contacts and, when needed, support. As stated in its Charter, the Chamber’s objectives are: “the protection, promotion and extension of the Trade and Commerce of the Town and District, and (the Chamber) shall take any other steps the Executive Committee may consider necessary for the benefit or protection of the members of the Chamber………..”
It is a well respected organisation but, like any other, only as strong and influential as its members make it. By joining you can add your voice to those who are already committed to the well being of this very special market town. Together, the members of the Chamber can and do make a difference in both small ways, like the “Bin – It” litter campaign, and on the larger issues that influence the prosperity of the county town like the need to provide adequate car parking with an appropriate charging system or the introduction of CCTV as a deterrent to vandalism and crime.
The Chamber, as an associate member of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry., has access to expert advice on matters as diverse as importing and exporting, employment law, and health and safety issues. Training can be arranged as and when the need arises.
Services to the town
The Chamber organises the annual “Casterbridge Christmas Cracker” in December every year. This event is now firmly established in the town calendar and is the envy of many local towns. The Cracker is run in conjunction with late night opening in the run up to Christmas.
The Chamber has played its part in funding the Christmas lights, such a vital part of the townscape during the festive season.
The Town Promotion sub-committee of the Chamber has raised the profile of the town over the past two years by producing and distributing leaflets promoting all the attractions the town has to offer the visitor. It has offered training to taxi drivers in local history, the town’s legal and literary associations and run the “Welcome to Excellence” programme of the regional tourist board. The Town Crier’s presence on the streets has been part funded through this Chamber initiative.
Over the past few years the Chamber has been proactive on a variety of issues including CCTV, vandalism, litter, parking, new developments and the Dorchester Traffic and Environment Plan. It is a contributor to the Dorchester Area Partnership.
The Chamber plays an active role in the town and surrounding area, its views being sought on various issues by both the local authorities and the media.
The Chamber General Meetings are open to all and you are most welcome to attend, meet existing members and discuss issues of concern with fellow business people.
Communication between the executive and the membership and between the Chamber and the public is increasingly conducted by website updating and emailing. Details of forthcoming meetings and social events are posted on the website and invitations to attend a variety of consultative groups concerned with planning, traffic management, parking, crime and disorder etc are frequently emailed to members giving them the opportunity to participate in discussions which are of interest and concern. Attendance at these consultative events are coordinated by the Chamber Secretary.