Over the last number of months we have all had to deal with lots of new realities and challenges and as a county we have acted well. As businesses opened up again and during the lockdown we have seen lots of businesses change their model, adopt a new online presence, adapt products and services, find new markets and generally adapt to the new challenges facing them.
As a Chamber we adapted to a new way of working, like everyone else we worked from home, we put events online, we had zoom meetings everyday and most importantly through the Chamber network we were able to create a sense of community. So while technology and social media became the communication channels there was a sense that businesses were out there supporting eachother everyday.
This support and community has seen Letterkenny Chamber gain 17 new members over the last 8 weeks. Bringing our total of new members this year to 29.
Commenting on the rise in membership Jimmy Stafford, Chamber President said “we are delighted to welcome these new members to Letterkenny Chamber. The sense of community that we were able to generate over the last 5 months is a real testament to the business people of Donegal.
Through our Support Donegal Whatsapp Group we were able to communicate with members quickly and effectively. We opened the group to businesses that had no networks and were able to guide them through the government supports, the re-opening guidance and share lots of other information in a timely way. We know this has in some way contributed to us gaining these new members.”
Toni Forrester, CEO, Letterkenny Chamber feels that the Chamber gained in relevance over the last months “Letterkenny Chamber has been operating for 55 years, committed to Advancing businesses in Letterkenny and the wider region and it is even more relevant today. As the only official fulltime Chamber in Donegal we are able to represent our members at the highest levels.”
“Since March we have had twice weekly conference calls with colleagues around the country through our membership with Chambers Ireland, we represented Letterkenny and Donegal on meetings with Government Ministers directly voicing our concerns and received daily updates in the ever changing situation. The information from all of this activity was given to members regularly and our board members were engaging with members on a daily basis. At the same time our members were offering their advice and expertise to help others navigate supports and guidance. This has been invaluable to the Chamber and our members.”
The Chamber’s new members include restaurants, estate agents, solicitors, gyms and fitness instructors, even a driving school. The diversity of new members reflects the membership as a whole. The Chamber has 250 members drawn from all sectors and sizes of business, self employed and micro businesses right through to the largest employers.”
Johnny Loughrey of JT Physiotherapy explains why the Chamber works for him as a member. “Covid 19 brought many challenges, it’s been a tough and unusual time for businesses in Ireland. The Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce was a huge support and helped us navigate through the ever changing environment we were in. Always at the end of the phone or email we have immense support from the Board and committee members. The peer support it offers is also fantastic with all the local members pooling together to share information and ideas on how we can help each other survive and re build. It has been an invaluable resource for JT Physiotherapy and I would certainly recommend anyone in business to join.”
Letterkenny Chamber is a proactive and progressive organisation, lead by the business community it consistently strives to improve the business environment and through partnerships with members advances business together.