New-look Visitors’ Guide, first town manager and great business awards

Phil Scarlett speaks at the Business Awards
Phil Scarlett speaks at the Business Awards
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Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce president Phil Scarlett reflects on another busy year...

This year’s edition of the Visit Spalding Guide was given a complete makeover and is unrecognisable from its layout in previous years.

The magazine is built around ‘A Day to Remember’ and included this year are brand-new directories and voucher sections to make it easier to find relevant information and to give visitors the opportunity to save money on their trips as well.

This year Spalding in Bloom made an extra special effort as we just missed Gold last year and this was spearheaded by Jan Whitbourne from Tulip Radio who stepped up and organised volunteers to tidy up the town, organised the judges route and generally chased us along.

I must thank the many Spalding businesses who sponsored hanging baskets and brightened the town centre. All the hard work has paid off this year with the Gold Award and the challenge is now with us to retain it.

After what seems like years of waiting, Chamber were successful in applying for S106 funds to fund a town centre manager. In November we welcomed Dennis Hannant and he is already progressing his plans for various new activities next year.

Stuart Brotherton, our Shopwatch coordinator, has been extremely busy getting new equipment in place to extend the system to include Holbeach and the Springfields shopping centre early next year. I’m pleased to welcome the many new members in Holbeach who joined Shopwatch.

I personally became very frustrated at Lincolnshire County Council’s apparent view that the county stopped at Sleaford.

Along with the Fresh Food Consortium we went to Downing Street in November to lobby for the dualling of the A16 between Spalding and Peterborough, just 13 miles of road. We will continue our pressure on national and local government to improve the transport infrastructure within South Holland to allow our food and flower business to develop and grow.

I would particularly like to thank Trevor Hyde, the chair of our Logistics Forum, for his active involvement.

We organised the South Holland Business Awards Dinner in November and 200 of South Holland’s key business leaders gathered at the Springfields Event Centre to celebrate the best in innovation, hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and customer care within the area.

I would like to thank the sponsors of the event for their support and my Chamber colleagues David Norton, Paul Turnell and Harry Drury for organising a superb event and I know that they plan an even better event next year.

Throughout the year we have supported our various business forums and I’m particularly delighted that the Retailers Association has been formed with assistance from Gavin Almond.

They will provide tremendous support to town centre manager Dennis. Also a big thank you to all of my council colleagues for their support and help during the year.

Finally a special mention to Paul at Sainsbury’s, Rhona at Beales, Harry at We’ll Let Your Home and Kat at the Free Press for working so hard on this year’s Toys Appeal. The generosity of local people with their donations is greatly appreciated.