30 Apr 1. Choice
“If you can’t put your values into your vote, we don’t have a democracy.” – Jill Stein.
Historically, voting in this country came in tranches; in 1780 only 3% of the population of Britain and Wales were eligible to vote. As time went on working men were given the vote and as we all know finally in the early 20th Century wealthy, educated women joined the ranks of electorates. This led to further women and the age being lowered until now almost all people of Britain are eligible. We call our structure Democracy. Democracy is the system by which all eligible members have their say.
The month of May brings a climate of change to the communities and localities we live in triggered by elections and voting. Waves of uncertainty wash over the country as we still look for a solution on Brexit. European elections take place later in the month giving us a say in Europe if only for a short term while the Country’s elected take us in or out.
Closer to home we find ourselves in a period of uncertainty as the Dorset Councils try to re-organise themselves. Reducing down from several localised servers of the community, from now on there will be a single unitary authority tending our requirements, learning our local nuances and needs. They will be assisted by the new local government candidates who will be voted in on 2 May and take their places to represent and support our community.
May also brings the AGM for Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A chance to review the Chamber and how we have performed over the past year. It also brings with it an opportunity to vote in new committee officers and the chance for new committee members to join the board.
The past year the Chamber has been visible throughout the town, supporting events on the Town Meadow, Gillingham in Gear, and the Lighting Ceremony at Christmas. We have supported Gillingham School and given a cheque to the local Duke of Edinburgh scheme. We are supporting Wyke Primary Schools fundraising efforts and encouraging our members to do the same.
We have also developed our Happy Hour meetings giving our members the opportunity to meet and communicate with other members and to build new links with potential contacts. It has been a successful and exciting time for our members and the feedback has been extremely positive.
This year we have again utilised the local paper Gillingham & Shaftesbury News and the printed magazine Gillingham and Shaftesbury Guide together with their online version and our own online directory to highlight and focus on members. The chamber offers a large and diverse membership all committed to supporting the local town and surrounding areas.
We encourage all our members to attend the AGM and have a say in the new committee and what our plans for the coming year will be. Living in a democracy gives each and every one of us the chance to have a say from local to national even to international level. It is because we have the choice to vote and the job of those elected to serve the community, they are responsible for. As members of a business group, it is our vote that gives our leaders and guides the authority and support that comes with positions of power to take the Chamber forward for another exciting year.
We are pleased to be able to report that the new Chamber committee will be
Chair Sharon Cullingford
Vice Chair Fran Hill
Treasurer Bev Kemp
Secretary Karen Auckland
Membership Jenny Trim
Barry Von Clemens – Co-opted GTC
Our next Happy Hour is 2 May and subsequently, they are held on the 1st Thursday of each month.
“You cannot control the behaviour of others, but you can always choose how you respond to it.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart