Kirkgate Arts and Heritage is both a registered charity and a limited company. With grants and donations, ticket sales, bar income, hire fees and more, we can have a turnover of around £250,000 on a good year, so it’s important we have the right legal status and being a company as well as a charity gives us that.
The upshot is that as a ‘SME’ in the lingo (a small or medium-sized enterprise), we share a lot of the same concerns as all the other small businesses in the area (utility costs being a big issue at the moment!). So Cockermouth and District Chamber of Trade is a natural home for us, and as a member we support everything the Chamber does to raise the profile of the town and keep our businesses thriving. This mutual support is one of the real features of the community in Cockermouth, whatever is going on here.
This month, for the local business slot in the KQC, Suzanne Elsworth, the Chamber’s copywriter and communications consultant, gives us the inside info on their work:
‘The Chamber’s aim is to showcase Cockermouth to locals and visitors, support businesses, work with the local authorities and increase footfall through events and other initiatives.
It built and hosts https://cockermouthonline.co.uk/ – the website that’s the shop window for the town. The site has more than 7,000 visitors a month and features news and profiles of member businesses. The Chamber has also created promotional films that have attracted more than 250,000 views, which you can see here. There is also a monthly e-newsletter which has more than 5,000 subscribers. The Chamber has organised Facebook competitions on the Cockermouth Town FB page, with thousands of entrants, and advertised the town in the likes of Cumbria Life magazine.
The Chamber also supports and participates in festivals such as Taste Cumbria, and sets up new events. The hugely successful Charities Weekend last year raised more than £10,000 for 70 charities. The team has also facilitated media appearances on BBC and ITV Border news for many of the town’s businesses.
Everyone is welcome at our AGM which will be held on Tuesday 28 February at 6pm, at The Vicky shared workspace in High Sand Lane, Cockermouth.
This is the meeting where anyone can put themselves forward to get involved in the Chamber, and where the formal officers’ positions are elected. Andrew Marshall of the Strolling4Shoes shop on the corner of Main Street and Station Street is stepping down after several years as chair. Appropriately, there are some big shoes to fill!