President's Message September 2015
Since coming to work in St Albans in April 2010, I have been overwhelmed by the incredible community spirit which defines our business environment. Indeed, it is this inclusive culture which positively encourages more and more businesses to participate in our local economy and fuels our B2B connectivity and lead generation. Whilst we all strive to achieve business success which in turn enables our economy to grow and ensures local employment prospects remain strong, a huge element of our vibrant business community is the concept of giving to our local charities and groups.
These organisations, often staffed by local volunteers, undertake incredibly important work often on behalf of our most vulnerable members of society or those experiencing difficult times as a result of ill health or some similarly catastrophic life event. It was my pleasure to represent the St Albans District Chamber of commerce recently on a truly remarkable fundraising event for one such charity, Rennie Grove Hospice. The event involved cycling over 350 miles across 4 days, starting out in St Albans, cycling down to and then around the Isle of Wight, on up through the New Forest to Swindon and then home to St Albans via the Chiltern hills.
Numerous local businesses supported the event through participation, event logistics, sponsorship or donations. In total, the event has raised over £60,000 which will allow Rennie Grove Hospice to fund much needed services for the forthcoming year. From the outset it was clear that this event was going to be very special indeed. The camaraderie and desire to help each other complete what was a challenging event was present from the start but as with all events of this nature, the sense of togetherness only grew over the 4 days with many of the group overcoming personal challenges along the way to arrive back in St Albans all smiles at the end of what was a truly memorable experience.
While this event holds personal significance to me and will long live in my memory, it simply happens to be just one example of the way our business community comes together to achieve incredible feats of fundraising and support for our local community. Each of our members in their own way make a huge contribution to our community in terms of funds raised, volunteering hours, sharing expertise and promoting awareness of such groups and the work they do. When I reflect on the totality of effort and the immense positive impact this has on our city and district, it makes me extremely proud to be part of such a dynamic business community which truly cares and a community which has and will continue to make a difference to the lives of so many of our fellow citizens.