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Axbridge Chamber of Commerce News: ‘people power’ puts pressure on Royal Mail over the proposed closure of the town’s sorting office

Pressure grows on Royal Mail over threatened closure of the Axbridge Sorting Office

Petitions, people power and old fashioned letters have forced Royal Mail to have a rethink over their planned closure of the Axbridge Sorting Office.

Replying to a letter from the town’s Chamber of Commerce, Royal Mail said they could confirm they were ‘reviewing the Royal Mail operation in Axbridge.’ Michael Hogg, their senior public relations manager said they were in discussions with the Communication Workers Union over the matter and would keep the Chamber updated.

The Post Office postmaster Richard Helps said it was a positive step as the closure of the Sorting Office would make the Post Office next door financially unviable.

Speaking for the Chamber Harry Mottram said he hoped the review were not empty words. He said: “Jobs are at stake as is the prosperity of the town so I trust Michael Hogg’s are no weasel words. Hundreds have signed the petitions – both online and in the Post Office and we continue to urge residents and all interested parties to back the campaign to retain the Sorting Office in the town to secure the future of the Post Office.”

The former MP Tessa Munt for the area and town councillor Ben Ferguson have set up an online petition and have lobbied Royal Mail along with a number of residents and the business community to prevent the closure.

One of the town’s businesses based in Axbridge Square is Enable. In a letter to the Royal Mail the CEO Neil Barnes said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Axbridge Sorting office may be subject to closure. This well- established function in our town has been one of our core pillars and an extension of our services that our business offers to our domestic and international clients.

“As a company we send many hundreds, and for certain campaigns thousands of items over a year in fulfilling our obligations to our clients. We made a decision to use Royal Mail on a few key factors: The close proximity allows our business to easily integrate to Royal Mail for our PO BOX and other sorting services.”

The Sorting Office is scheduled for closure this summer when its operation will be moved to Winscombe.

Join the Chamber – the organisation for businesses in or connected to the town and the self-employed and interested parties

If you would like to join the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce or to be an interested party then send an email to with these details:






Sum up the business in 100 words

To join is only £10 a year – you can post a cheque to our membership secretart or give her a call to arrange payment.

Membership secretary: Pat Filer, The Parsonage, Parsonage Lane, Cheddar Road, Axbridge, Somerset BS26 2DN. Tel (01934) 733078


Harry Mottram, secretary to Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

Richard Helps. Chairman

Mike Sartain. Treasurer

More at

Follow the Chamber on Twitter and FaceBook


Confirmation that the town’s Post Office Sorting Office is set to be closed. Full letter from Richard Helps the Postmaster

Bad news from Richard Helps of the Post Office. This is a letter from him.
The Post Office, St Marys Street, Axbridge BS262BN Somerset UK
16th May 2021

The Post Office is in the town Square and the centre of the community

Axbridge Town CouncilRe: Closure of Axbridge Sorting Office I’m sure you remember that back in August 2018 Royal Mail tried to remove the sorting office from Axbridge Post Office and relocate the Postal staff to Winscombe delivery office. With the help of the Town Council and local MP we were able to get the decision reversed, therefore securing the future of the Post Office in Axbridge.Unfortunately, I understand from the local Postal staff that they intend to try again. Absolutely nothing has changed in the last 3 years in terms of the sorting office providing essential income for the Post Office business. However I believe that under a new contract between Post Office and Royal Mail, Post Office now have no final veto on the plan.

Historically the veto was put in place to avoid exactly this situation, when the income from the sorting office is essential to the viability and future of the Post Office counter.I’ve had no correspondence or verbal notification from Royal Mail regarding their plan, but understand from the local staff that Royal Mail are saying that “service obligations “are not being met. This basically means that not all mail is being delivered every day. As you know many business have faced staffing issues throughout the Pandemic, Axbridge sorting office being no different. It does seem unjust to use such a reason considering what has happened in the last 12 months.

Any move to Winscombe would also result in a dramatic decrease in the level of service regarding the collection of mail from the sorting office. Items needing a signature or large items with no safe place to be left would be taken back to Winscombe delivery office located on the Sanford Road, on the far side of Winscombe. Currently mail can be collected from the Post Office whenever it is open. The proposed plan would reduce this to 2 hours a day between 8 am and 10 am, slightly longer on Saturdays.

A short sighted move with the increase in online shopping.The environmental implications should also be taken into account. All the postal staff will require their own delivery van and that van will need to be driven from Winscombe and back every day. Those twelve journeys will only be a small proportion of the number of people driving from Axbridge, Weare, Allerton, Badgworth, Biddisham, Rooksbridge, Loxton, Compton Bishop and Cross to Winscombe to collect mail, only to find out the sorting office closed for collections.Without any official notification from Royal Mail it’s very hard to decide on the next step, perhaps a ploy by Royal Mail. I do however believe the move is planned within the next 12 weeks.Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Richard Helps, Postmaster

Chamber of Commerce View

This from me Harry Mottram as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce: Please write to your MP , the Town and District Council (Duncan McGinty is the leader of the council and local councillors Graham Godwin and Liz Scott and lobby the PO itself – and spread this bad news to your connections. There is not just the potential loss of jobs but also the viability of the PO itself is at stake with all the implications that has for trade in the town.



The new plantation in Rooksbridge

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce News: The Stables Business Park at Rooksbridge has planted thousands of trees through a scheme by Hinkley Connection

The parkland landscape at the Stables Business Park on the Rooksbridge campus has been further enhanced with the planting of more than 5,000 trees by Hinkley Connection contractors working for National Grid.

With a mixture of native broadleaf trees that include oak, beech, hazel and holly the plantation was created in January and is set to form a substantial woodland area as the trees mature.

“We had wanted to create a woodland habitat to encourage the deer, foxes, badgers and birdlife that already visit the park,” said business park owner Tom Dalley, “and when Hinkley Connection said they had a scheme for landowners to plant trees along the route of the new power lines we took them up on the offer.”

Hinkley Connection is a joint project featuring National Grid, Western Power and EDF at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station to replace the existing electricity cables and pylons between Hinkley Point and Seabank just north of Avonmouth. Much of the new infrastructure feature new T-shaped pylons, plus in some sections like the Mendips underground cabling is being installed. To mitigate some of the aspects of the major infrastructure project a 106 planning agreement includes a pledge to plant thousands of trees along the route.

“Contractors moved in at the beginning of the year,” said Tom, “and have planted the bulk of the trees which they will look after for the first five years of their growth. By then we hope the wooded area will have established itself. They are planting more trees once we’ve prepared more ground later this year. Separately we’ve planted another woodland to the left as you enter the park with the main plantation on the other side of the driveway.”

The Hinkley Connection plantation at Rooksbridge is the single largest planting undertaken so far in the project as most landowners are farmers who tend to want smaller areas planted along with supplementing tree planting to bolster hedgerows.

“Our motto is relax you’re at work,” said Tom, “and by creating a business park that has gardens, meadows and woodlands it all helps to give a feeling of calm for the workers of the companies that occupy the units here.”

Hinkley Connection said: “We’re already engaged with landowners closest to the route, and we’re now making the scheme available to landowners within 3km of the new connection. Wherever possible we will use native species such as oak, willow, hazel, hawthorn and maple, to create woods and to infill in existing hedges.”

The initiative known as the Off-Site Planting and Mitigation Scheme (OSPES) aims to increase local biodiversity as well as increasing the amount of tree cover along the route which passes Rooksbridge in Somerset.

The Stables Business Park lies just off the A38 at Rooksbridge close to the M5 at Edithmead and features new classic English farmstead style buildings occupied by a wide range of businesses.

“It really improved the park as we are in a rural location,” said Tom, “with thousands of broadleaf native trees the business park effectively doubles up as a nature reserve as well.”

Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT

Tel: 07968 910 761. 


New member of Axbridge Chamber of Commerce’s sales campaign

Checkaco in Bridgwater has joined the growing ranks of Axbridge Chamber of Commerce. The credit checking firm have launched a campaign to remind businesses of the importance of checking bother own and their clients’ credit records.

Have you checked your credit rating?
For just £5.95 do a credit check with Checkaco and see if your credit is poor, fair, good or excellent. 
Or check a new client in seconds to see if they are safe to do business with.Smart, simple analysis for safer financial decisions
Includes full company details, directors, financial status and debts with ratings from excellent to poor
Visit Checkaco NOW at:
For details about Checkaco email or visit the website 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK


Ruling expected TODAY for thousands of small businesses in Covid insurance case (after insurers refused to pay up)

Firms who pay business interruption insurance will learn today if they will be able to claim after being shut down by the Covid-19 crisis. The Supreme Court will make the ruling which could see over a billion pounds worth of insurance paid out to struggling businesses.

Waste of money

The BBC reported on London hair salon The Drawing Room that pays £1,200 a year for business interruption insurance but has been denied so far meaning paying the annual premium is effectively a waste of money.

Kevin Peachey reported: “Small businesses are eagerly awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on insurance payouts for those forced to close during the first national lockdown. Many claimed on business interruption insurance policies, but insurers refused arguing there was no cover for such unprecedented restrictions. It was agreed that a selection of policy wordings be tested in court. The case has implications for 370,000 small businesses, and involved potential payouts of £1.2bn. Judges at the Supreme Court will set the parameters of whether or not valid claims can be made under these policies. The High Court earlier found mostly in favour of insurers having to pay out to policyholders, in what was regarded by many commentators as a surprise defeat for the insurance sector.”

James Ollerenshaw

Legal precedent

Today’s ruling is the final judgement in the case, and will be have implications for all disputed business interruption insurance cases as it will set a legal precedent.

James Ollerenshaw’s hair salon was one of those businesses unable to operate during the first national lockdown.

The Drawing Room in London’s Spitalfields is owned by James Ollerenshaw who paid an annual premium of £1,200 for business interruption insurance, and importantly disease cover came as part of it. His insurers insisted that the pandemic was not included in the cover. He said if the insurers are forced to pay it would help to cover some costs such as rent but the business would still be in debt due to the shut downs.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit blasted the insurance firms who he said ‘had tried to wriggle out of their obligations.’

He said: “The Financial Conduct Authority brought a test case against some of the big insurers to see if their arguments stood up in court. The High Court only found in favour of a couple of the insurers’ policies with the rest of the policy types that give cover to thousands of small businesses held to be valid and should be paid.”

Today’s ruling in the Supreme Court is over the High Court’s verdict on the two insurers it found in favour which are appealed by the Financial Conduct Authority.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website or email Ian at on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website or send an email to

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit


Photo: Washington Post

AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: check out the latest financial aid available from the Government for Covid-19 lockdown relief (but beware of high interest loans from the banks)

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce have highlighted the Government’s support for businesses during the latest lockdown due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a one-off £9000 lockdown grant per property for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure. This is to support businesses and protect jobs following the announcement of a third national lockdown by the prime minister.

It is expected this third national lockdown will last until March. How £9000 lockdown grant works: £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under; £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000; £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.

The Treasury has also announced a further £594m discretionary fund to support to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, which might be affected by the national lockdown.

In total, £4.6bn worth of new lockdown grants have been made available.And this comes on top of another £1.1bn of further discretionary funding for local authorities, local business shutdown grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extending the furlough scheme until the end of April.

The cash will be issued on a per-property basis to support businesses through the national lockdown, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, totalling £4bn in grants across Britain.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge – and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the spring.”

Responding to the announcement of the £9,000 lockdown grant, Institute of Directors director of policy Roger Barker said: “This new grant package is welcome and will go some way to reassuring the worst affected businesses.”

However, the IoD warned the chancellor to remain wary of a spring cliff edge in business support, as the furlough scheme and other support measures unwind.

Harry Mottram of the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce has pointed out that not all businesses qualify but it is worth investigating further. He said: “Many self-employed people do not qualify for the various grants and loans. Rather than take a high interest loan it is better to slash overheads, cut costs and get by on as little as possible before the economy opens up again. Beware of the banks and other lenders who may be offering loans that are higher than normal rates.”

Details on how to apply at

More at

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AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: member of the chamber welcomes new tenant to business park

The senior team at Seren, from left, Patrick, Paul, Jason, Emma and Hannah

Seren Skills Network moves to The Stables Business Park

A new enterprise has moved on the Stables Business Park at Rooksbridge in Somerset. Seren Skills Network provides training for the next generation of leaders, managers and entrepreneurs.

Set in a rural location in open countryside the park is located just off the A38 within a few minutes by car from two railway stations, Bristol International Airport and nationwide road links including J22 on the M5.

Emma said the firm needed a rural setting

“It’s the best place as we were looking to build a rural training academy,” said Seren’s HR and Quality Director Emma Wasike, “so we investigated the site as it is in the countryside. The business park is surrounded by fields and hedgerows that are teeming with flora and fauna. There are herons and buzzards, and the campus has its own meadows, landscaped gardens and a large pond. It’s absolutely the ideal spot for us.”

She said one of the attractions was that the park is within a short commute for the senior management team with members in nearby Berrow and Blagdon, something endorsed by her colleague Jason Lloyd, Seren’s Delivery and Resources Director.

He said: “We’re all local which is something close to our hearts, and being so close to the office means we also reduce our carbon footprint. It’s also a lovely setting with wildlife all around, there’s free unlimited parking and the internet and is super-fast. And if you get stressed at work you can look out of the window or go outside and sit in the gardens to relax.”

Patrick has experience with training apprentices in Australia

The park’s owner and manager Tom Dalley said the Stables Business Park’s sales pitch is ‘relax, you’re at work.’

“We’re delighted to welcome Seren here,” he said, “as we have a hugely diverse range of firms operating from the site. From the NFU to a country clothing firm and from a cleaning business to surveyors, people are drawn to the Stables Business Park for the high quality offices, location and rural setting.”

Paul is the financial director of Seren

The village of Rooksbridge has a general store and Post Office, pub and garage, plus within a short drive are supermarkets and a range of shops.

For more information visit the park’s website at 

Stables Business Park, The Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT UK. Tel: 07968 910761.

For more information visit Seren Skills Network’s website at

2 The Barn, The Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset, BS26 2TT

Tel: 01278 619000 Email:

There is a short video about the move here:


Message from the Somerset Chamber of Commerce

Good Afternoon,

Somerset Chamber of Commerce are acting as a gateway representative for the Kickstart Scheme – a Government/DWP initiative designed to offer businesses across the country funded recruits for up to 25 hours a week for 6 months (candidates aged between 16-24 years old).

As part of the business’s commitment to these young individuals, they have to offer employability support that includes training and upskilling, for which a grant is given.

Many gateway representatives are offering wraparound training in exchange for part of the grant; Somerset Chamber has decided not to go down this route but, instead, to signpost to local training providers from within our membership.

If your business offers training and would like to be included in our Kickstart signposting document, please complete the following survey no later than October 30.

Kind regards


Jenn Chidley-Sanders  
Member Engagement and Policy Manager 
M: 07872 063039 |E:
Equity House, Blackbrook Park Avenue, Blackbrook Business Park, Taunton, Somerset TA1 2PX 


Axbridge Chamber of Commerce News: AGM set for Tuesday, November 10, 2020, on Zoom, at 7.30pm.

If you would like to join the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce or to be an interested party then send an email to with these details:






Sum up the business in 100 words

To join is only £10 a year – you can post a cheque to our membership secretart or give her a call to arrange payment.

Membership secretary: Pat Filer, The Parsonage, Parsonage Lane, Cheddar Road, Axbridge, Somerset BS26 2DN. Tel (01934) 733078


Harry Mottram, secretary to Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

Louise Cooling. Chairman

Mike Sartain. Treasurer

More at

Follow the Chamber on Twitter and Facebook


Axbridge Chamber of Commerce News: meeting on Zoom on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

Hello Chamber Members and interested parties

This is an agenda for the meeting on Zoom on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020, on Zoom, at 7.30pm.
You will be invited by email by either Mike or Louise before the time.
This meeting is a catch up meeting and its main purpose is to agree on having the AGM on Zoom on Tuesday, November 10th, 2020, at 7.30pm. The second aim is to discuss what we can do in 2021 with notes on the Race Night planned for March 20, 2021.If you wish to be removed from the email list please reply and state ‘unsubscribe’

Possible attendees: Please your name if it is not here:
Louis Cooling (LC), Harry Mottram (HM), Mike Sartain (MS), Liz Scott (LS), Pat Filer (PF), Robin Goodfellow (RG), Nicky Frewin (NF), Baz Hamblin (BH), Les Stanley (LES); Maggie Stanley (MGS); Marina Zablocka (MZ); Emily Taylor (ET); Stacey Redman (ST); Benjamin Ferguson (BF); Neil Barnes (NB); Gemma Trickey (GM); Simon Rose (SR); Jules Peel (JP); Phil Pinnington (PP); Lesley Watts (LW); Catriona Pinnington (CP); Rosie McDonald (RMc)

Minutes of the last meeting
Meeting. The Lamb Inn. Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
This was a catch-up meeting after the long period on inaction due to Covid 19 for five members of the Chamber’s committees.
The chairman Louise Cooling called the meeting to order.
Apologies: Liz Scott.
Attended: Louis Cooling, Harry Mottram, Mike Sartain, Simon Rose, Pat Filer.
Chairman’s Report
Louise Cooling said she had tried to gather interest in the Chamber this year as to what could happen but only Maggie Stanley replied.
She said she sent on emails and news to the secretary who put them on social media.
She said people had ‘bedded down’ due to Covid 19.
Members reacted to her remarks. Simon Rose said the Lamb Inn would open all day and would close at the 10pm curfew and would put food on from 11am.
Mike Sartain said people wanted to get out and enjoy their social life.
Pat Filer said her business was doing well and explained how the regulations affected her establishment.
Treasurer’s Report
Mike Sartain said the figures had changed slightly from the AGM balances.
There are two Bank Accounts –
The Chamber account balance is £4,060.27
The Showcase balance is £329.38 before the Clydesdale bonus
Showcase now: £1,669.40
By switching the account to the Clydesdale the Chamber received £1,325 as a bonus for changing accounts resulting in the Showcase having a balance of £1,669.40.
There was also £15.02 from an old Natwest savings account.
Membership Secretary’s Report
Pat Filer said the number of members was 43.
She said Race Night had been cancelled and is now scheduled for March 20, 2021.
Secretary’s Report
Harry Mottram said he posted up news on social media.
He reminded the committee the website was not used as the password did not work. However he had set up a section on his website of news, details of the Chamber and a listing of members so at least there was an online presence of the Chamber.
He requested members send him news to be posted on social media and the website.
Any other business
There was a general discussion about the effect Covid 19 had on business.
Next Meeting
Tuesday, October 6, 7.30pm on Zoom. The chairman will send members invitations by email. It will be a general catch-up meeting and a chance to decide on a date for the AGM. The meeting will follow the usual structure with an agenda – and to speak members must put up their hands and wait to be called by the chairman in discussions as larger Zoom meetings can be difficult to administer.

1 Chairman’s Report (Louise Jane Cooling)
1:1 The chairman Louise Cooling called the meeting on Zoom.
1:2 LC’s report.
2 Secretary’s Report (Harry Mottram)
2:1 To propose the AGM be held on Zoom on Tuesday, November 10.
2:2 His report.
ACTION: HM to action the AGM.
Treasurer’s Report (Mike Sartain)
3:1 See the minutes of the last meeting.
Membership Secretary’s Report (Pat Filer)
4:1 Pat Filer to confirm details of new members.
Showcase Report (Liz Scott)
5:1 LS to report on next year’s race night.
Next Meeting
Suggested date: AGM on Zoom on Tuesday, November 10th, 2020, at 7.30pm. 


Has your team communication taken a hit during lockdown?

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the workplace and accelerated trends such as remote working. Whatever size your business is, effective internal communication is the lifeblood of an organisation and directly contributes to the profitability and success of your company.

Getting it wrong will almost certainly have a negative impact!We are delighted to be running an online workshop with communication experts ADPR specifically on internal communications and how you can use it to grow your business from the inside out.

Giving you the tools you need to create your own internal communications strategy, this workshop will help you understand how to share your vision with your team and bring them on the journey, working collaboratively and effectively to deliver it. Following the event, delegates will receive the session’s presentation and a worksheet template for creating your own internal communications strategy with ease. Think your business needs a helping hand, or just reassurance that it is doing the right thing? Join us and ADPR on September 8 for this two-hour online workshop.

Hope to see you there.

Brooke GilbertsonEvents Co-OrdinatorT: 01823 444924 | E: House, Blackbrook Park Avenue, Taunton, TA1


Axbridge Chamber of Commerce: Meeting at the Lamb Inn 22nd September, 2020

There is an Axbridge Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday 22nd September at 7pm in the Lamb Inn. Due to social distancing restrictions only 12 people can attend so please book a space if you want to come by emailing me at The meeting is only a catch up meeting – for members only.


Axbridge Chamber of Commerce member Stables Business Park has a new tenant at their Rooksbridge campus: Rookery Bridal cater for the bride and her entourage with a wide selection of gowns and accessories

Contacting Rookery Bridal is to enter a world of beauty, glamour and excitement ahead of your wedding day with scores of gowns available to try on from a ball gown to a fit and flare style and everything in between.

The venture is located at the Stables Business Park set in open countryside near the village of Rooksbridge in Somerset where there’s ample free parking. Rookery Bridal is run by owner, Sarah Hackett and Sales Manager Lin Ogden who explains brides-to-be can make appointments to visit their new offices.

Lin Ogden, Boutique Sales Manager

Lin said: “We give a really warm welcome to all the brides who come. Sarah and I just love to make our brides smile and dispel any nerves. We sit down with them, ask them where and when they are getting married and the sort of venue it is. We go through their ideas: some will have scrap books, or photos on their phone or even a style board with colour schemes and textures pinned to it.

Sarak Hackett

Sarah added: “Finding out the type of wedding and the colours and style motifs is important as we can then go through all the possible gowns and accessories with the bride. The trends recently have been towards a simpler more fitted gown although some brides love the big dress but it depends on personal tastes and, of course, the type of wedding.”

Lin said: “The bride might say they’re looking for a fitted dress like a mermaid but I also encourage our brides to look at a ball gown, or an A-line skirt as it’s important to try on different styles to rule them out to get down to the one a bride loves.”

Natasha Dyer tried on a number of gowns on her visit to firm’s headquarters having originally selected a fitted silk and satin silhouette gown. “I like the gown but it’s very different from the one I chose, as for me the Paloma Blanca gown has a bit more of the wow factor and a classic princess line. The one I liked has a beautiful fitted lace bodice and is so floaty and really comfortable.”

It is important to set a timeline ahead of a wedding which could be months away said Lin. She said: “We can get dresses in and made within certain timescales and we also sell some dresses off the rack so if a bride says ‘help – my wedding is in two weeks!’ which does happen – we can accommodate that as well.” Dresses can take a long length of time to be ordered and Lin advises that brides come to contact them at least a year before their wedding.  The bride can then give themselves plenty of time to make the important decision of choosing The One.

Rookery Bridal has a relaxed approach to its customers. Brides-to-be often return for a second or third fitting with many saying the experience of fitting and attention is one of the best parts of the build-up to their wedding. Designer brands include Justin Alexander, Essense of Australia, Paloma Blanca, Rosa Clara, Martina Liana and more to come! The gowns are available in different colours – Ivory, White, Moscato, Rum, Almond for example. 

Rookery Bridal also has bridesmaid dresses from Dessy which come in a whole palette of colours and styles along with accessories from Richard Designs, Rainbow Club and others.

Rookery Bridal is open by appointment and is open during office hours from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-5pm. It also regularly operates evening appointments to accommodate brides and their parties.

The store works in partnership with a wide selection of associated businesses. Check on their website for a recommended local photographer, florist, hair and make-up as well as venues. One such supplier is Flowers by Gem based near Weston-Super-Mare who provided the flowers for Natasha’s fitting. The florist’s website is at

There is a short video about the boutique at

Rookery Bridal is located in The Mill House, at The Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset, UK, BS26 2TT. Telephone 01934 751111. Web:

For details call The Stables Business Park on 07968 910 761, or email us from our website at where you will find much more information, testimonials and news.

The model is Natasha Dyer


Axbridge Chamber of Commerce member The Lamb Inn is set to reopen at the beginning of August

The chair of the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce Louise Jane Cooling said the news the Lamb was to reopen soon was ‘fantastic news.’

She said the town’s hospitality sector was coming back to life and asked residents to support businesses who have had a tough time during the Covid-19 shut down.

Join the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce for £10 a year and add to the town’s social and business life. Visit and follow the Chamber of Twitter and FaceBook.


Oak house #2

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce member The Oak House Hotel & Restaurant is opening again after Covid-19 shutdown

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce member The Oak House Hotel & Restaurant: We are opening this Saturday, see post below on how to book a table for drinks / food.
We look forward to seeing you ?
We are open for restaurant & bar bookings from Saturday 4th July, if you would like to make a reservation to dine visit


Workshop available to small businesses and the self-employed, in the Sedgemoor area only

To support businesses at this challenging time, Sedgemoor District Council are working with Cosmic to provide an innovative range of webinars and online workshops for small businesses and the self-employed.


Latest news from The Stables Business Park: thanking key workers, constructing new offices, staying safe with the return to work, and plans for a pond to enhance the grounds


Tom and Sally Dalley have praised the sacrifices of key workers at the Stables Business Park at Rooksbridge as the Covid-19 continues despite the ending of the Thursday clap for the NHS.

Tom said: “We will continue to praise all key workers and those in the health and care sectors as their work has been vital in keeping the nation going during the Covid-19 crisis. Several key and health workers operate from firms on the Stables Business Park and words cannot express our admiration for the sacrifices as they continue to keep us all safe.”

The park has a number of tenants at the Somerset based business hub including Clarity Cleans, Approved Air and Solutions 42 who are involved in supplying the health and care industries.

Cleanliness and social distancing have become vital ingredients in how the park operates said Sally. She said all the Government’s recommendations on how businesses can reopen and return to normal this summer are strictly adhered to.

The Pond

To further enhance the Stables Business Park’s natural environment plans are afoot to create a pond near the spinney close to the main carpark. Already the park is frequented by a wealth of wild life including deer, buzzards and herons.

“The idea is to reflect the beauty of Somerset’s diverse flora and fauna,” said Tom Dalley of the park, “and a pond which we will call simply The Pond, will hopefully attract ducks and moorhens.”

The Stables Business Park is unusual in its setting as it is surrounded by open countryside and enjoys wide expanses of meadows and trees within its boundaries. As a result because of its location in the countryside and is near to all the main transport links on the A38 near the M5 the park has its own unique motto: relax, you’re at work.

Safety at work due to the Covid-19 crisis

The Stables Business Park is rigidly adhering to the Government’s guidelines for businesses during the Covid-19 crisis. Most businesses on the park either have all or some staff working from home, while those who are key workers and others who must work at the park have had risk assessments carried out to ensure safe social distancing of two metres is maintained at all times.

Any shared facilities such as toilets or kitchens are cleaned frequently including high-contact objects like door handles and hand rails. The park also provides handwashing facilities and hand sanitisers throughout the campus and requests all visitors, tenants and employees to observe to the letter the safe working guidelines.

The Hayloft

The park is expanding with a new build near the entrance with the construction of the 3,000 sq ft Hayloft. Already half of its space has been let suggesting there remains a strong demand for quality office space in the area with firms looking to relocate from the traffic congestion of regional centres.

“Our ethos is to create a place that’s both relaxed due to its setting, and professional with space and all the facilities you’d expect in a modern office park,” said Tom. “Our tenants are with us for years and as they expand they move into the larger units, so from one man bands to major businesses there is a space for all types of enterprises.”

The Hayloft has its own carpark and individually controlled ceiling mounted air conditioning and cooling which maintains a constant ambient temperature throughout. This also helps to maximise the use of the space available plus it also has its own access controlled entry system.

Built to exacting standards with a pitched tile roof the accommodation is a flexible space for tenants to create their own layout of meeting rooms, individual offices or open plan work spaces. It also includes toilets and modern kitchen facilities along with perimeter dado trunking and full access to the leased 100/100Mbps fibre line.

For details call The Stables Business Park on 07968 910 761, or email us from our website at where you will find much more information, testimonials and news.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Headlines

Monday, June 1

BCC welcomes part-time furlough
and self-employed extension

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the Government had listened to business and made the furlough scheme more flexible but said closing the scheme to new applicants in June was ‘premature’.


Upcoming Chamber Events

June 2020


Scaling-up your business with Level Up (South West) Ltd

Growth during the pandemic is still possible and this half-day workshop with Graeme Crosbie will help SMEs learn how to scale-up their operations with a wealth of expert knowledge on restructuring and growth.


July 2020


Effective communication for remote working

Join the Bid Coach to learn the skills needed to get the most out of the virtual world when it comes to presenting, hosting or simply taking part in online events.


July 2020


Enhance your emotional intelligence

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many problems for businesses but there are still opportunities. This comprehensive two-hour workshop with Green Door People will help you truly connect and become even more effective in the workplace.


July 2020


Let’s network!

This free hour-long virtual networking event will help you keep in touch with existing contacts and forge new ones. Run by Somerset Chamber specifically for members – bring your own food and virtual business cards!


Chamber News

BCC welcomes phased reopening of retail

The British Chambers of Commerce said businesses would take a safe, proportionate and risk-based approach.


Kontrolit records new member focus video

Somerset Chamber members have been raising their profiles with new member focus videos about their companies.


Member News

Family firm commits to employer pledge

Bridges Electrical Engineers has signed up to the Time to Change Employer Pledge as part of its staff wellbeing programme.


Lockdown business chat show success

Word Gets Around has launched a ‘Meet the Business’ series of videos and a live chat show on YouTube in response to lockdown.


Virtual £1,300 cheque presentation to charity

Sycamore Process Engineering took part in the Two Point Six Challenge in aid of the Dorset and Somerset air ambulance.


Multiple promotions
across the team

Accountancy firm promotes 10 members of staff for their outstanding enthusiasm and commitment to the profession.


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: Green Mango announces menu for locked down Axbridge this Thursday


Axbridge Chamber of Commerce member The Stables Business Park announces new offices available soon at The Hayloft – a superb new build at Rooksbridge

The Hayloft is a new single storey office constructed in a traditional Somerset farmstead style complete with state of the art facilities and high speed connectivity. Set to be completed and ready for occupation later this year already half of the 3,000sq ft has been let.

Located just off the A38 at the Stables Office Park in Rooksbridge, Somerset, the Hayloft is ideal for businesses that prefer to be in a traffic free environment but retaining close links to the M5, rail network and Bristol Airport.

Surrounded by green fields, parkland and with a rural backdrop The Hayloft has its own carpark and individually controlled ceiling mounted air conditioning and cooling which maintains a constant ambient temperature throughout. This also helps to maximise the use of the space available plus it also has its own access controlled entry system.

Built to exacting standards with a pitched tile roof the accommodation is a flexible space for tenants to create their own layout of meeting rooms, individual offices or open plan work spaces. It also includes toilets and modern kitchen facilities along with perimeter dado trunking and full access to the leased 100/100Mbps fibre line.

Beautifully proportioned The Hayloft is part of the stylish and highly popular Stables Business Park complimenting a range of other offices on the campus known for its rural setting combined with 21st century facilities run by Tom and Sally Dalley. The natural environment is a key element to the park with trees, gardens and parkland all around that encourages visits from herons, buzzards, deer and other wildlife to the site. It is a place that prompt’s the business park’s unusual motto: ‘Relax, you’re at work.’

“Our ethos is to create a place that’s both relaxed due to its setting, and professional with space and all the facilities you’d expect in a modern office park,” said Tom. “Our tenants are with us for years and as they expand they move into the larger units, so from one man bands to major businesses there is a space for all types of enterprises.”

One of the reasons why businesses move to The Stables Business Park is to escape the traffic and congestion of places such as Bristol, Bridgwater and Taunton. With the free flowing main roads close by it means travelling to and from Rooksbridge is generally easy and convenient with the main transport networks just minutes away. The village itself has a general store, post office, car showrooms, pub and pre-school nursery with a filling station and hotel less than a mile away.

The park is home to range of businesses from those that employ key workers employed on the front line during the Covid-19 crisis to those involved in insurance, fashion, industry, property and construction. In short most aspects of the economy.

Road network: located on the A38, 2 miles to the M5, 1 mile to the A370; Railway stations at Highbridge 4 miles, Weston-super-Mare 7 miles, and Worle 10 miles. Bristol Airport 12 miles.

For more information on The Hayloft visit the park’s website at Stables Business Park, The Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT UK. Tel: 07968 910761.


Axbridge Chamber of Commerce News: free business listings on Sedgemoor DC’s site. Contact if you want your businesses listed


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: Green Mango announces menu for locked down Axbridge – Thursday night is Spice Night May 14th 2020 – 5.30pm-7pm

Poppadum with Mango Chutney, Minted Yogurt and onion salad £1.00 each

Beef Bhuna. £5.50
(Thick rich sauce of onion and tomato, spices of garam masala and chilli giving a medium heat)

Chicken Shashlik. £5.75
(Marinated chicken pieces in garlic, ginger and turmeric, cooked on skewers with peppers and onions)

(Vg) Butterbean and Pumpkin Makhani  £5.00
(Medium heat and fragrantly spiced smooth tomato based sauce)

(Vg) Pilau Rice. £2.00

(V) Peas and Paneer £3.00
(Sautéed in ginger and garlic with chilli and spring onion)

(Vg) Aubergine Pahi £3.00
(Sri Lankan dry curry. Sweet. Sour with a little heat)

(Vg) Sag Daal. £3.00

Garlic and Coriander Naan Bread. £2.00

Pre-ordering is essential either here on the website or email /phone your order to me, by midday on Thursday 14th May.

Payment on collection by cash or card payments accepted.


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: details of the ‘bounce back loans’ – help for some small businesses and income support for limited company directors and some self-employed

Government advice for the self-employment who don’t qualify for the various loans so can claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

You can usually claim universal credit if you’re aged 18 or over and on a low income.

You can be in or out of work and you must:

Your partner’s savings also count if you claim as a couple.

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

Find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

If you’ve lost income because of coronavirus, you may be able to claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme when it launches. HMRC will contact you if you’re eligible.

Providing information about your earnings

Everyone claiming Universal Credit needs to report their self-employed earnings at the end of each monthly assessment period. This includes company directors, even those paying themselves by PAYE.

You’ll need to report payments into and out of your business in the assessment period. This includes:

  • total amount your business received
  • how much your business spent on different types of expenses, such as travel costs, stock, equipment and tools, clothing and office costs
  • how much tax and National Insurance you paid
  • any money you paid into a pension

How your Universal Credit payment is worked out

Your Universal Credit payment will be based on the earnings you report at the end of each monthly assessment period.

If you’re already getting Universal Credit

Since 30 March 2020, the way your Universal Credit payment is worked out has changed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Payments are no longer calculated using an assumed level of earnings, called a Minimum Income Floor. They are now based on your actual earnings.

If your payments were calculated using the Minimum Income Floor, they may change.

If you’re both self-employed and employed

Your Universal Credit payment will be calculated based on your combined earnings from self-employment and employment.

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed

Given that there are now more than five million self-employed people in the UK, accounting for over 15% of the workforce, we have been campaigning to make sure the government does not treat this group as an afterthought in its preparations and public communications in its response to the coronavirus.

In the daily 5pm briefing on the 26th March, the Chancellor announced that the government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by Coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2500 a month. This scheme will be open to people across the UK for at least three months and will be extended for longer if necessary. However, it does not include all self-employed people and IPSE are continuning to engage with the government on the support for those who miss out.

The Chancellor said that this scheme will be available at the beginning of June at the latest. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you directly and ask you to fill out an online form, and then the money will be sent directly into your bank account. Crucially, anyone who missed the deadline in January, has four weeks from the announcement (March 26th) to submit their tax return. For more details on these measures, visit the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme web page.

Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert

Small businesses struggling due to the Coronavirus can now apply for a new 100% state-backed loan worth up to £50,000, with no interest charged or repayments needed in the first 12 months. Here we take you through the loans, bank by bank, and how they can be used to provide income support for those who aren’t covered by other schemes – plus the Treasury answers your questions.  

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme has been launched because of fears small businesses can’t access coronavirus funding quick enough. While we don’t normally cover business loans, Martin’s made an exception here, because he believes it provides a potentially useful backdoor support system for those who have fallen through the gaps of other measures. For example, if you’re self-employed but don’t qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, or for limited company directors (see Martin’s limited company directors’ help video too).

The info below is the latest we have as at 8pm on Tuesday 5 May. However this is a developing story that we’ll keep updating as more info come in, and try to answer. Please let us know if you have any queries about the guide. 

Bounce back loans in a nutshell

Bounce back loans are separate from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is for larger amounts, but not 100% state-guaranteed. If you’ve already applied to that you can apply to have it switched to this scheme if you prefer. 

Here’s what you need to know about bounce back loans:

  • You can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. Though the amount is capped at 25% of your total turnover (usually for calendar year 2019, or new businesses can estimate).
  • No interest will be charged and no repayments will need to be made in the first 12 months.  
  • After 12 months, all banks will charge a fixed 2.5% annual interest. This is far cheaper than a typical personal loan. 
  • You can repay the loan early without penalty. Or with some banks you can part-repay or overpay too.      
  • The loans are set up to last for six years. So that’s a year interest-free and the rest at 2.5%. However, as you can repay at any time that gives you flexibility, of course, the sooner you repay once interest is charged, the smaller the overall cost. See how the loans are repaid.
  • The loans are unsecured. While this sounds bad, it’s actually good. Secured loans include mortgages, where they can take your home if you don’t repay. Here you don’t give security (the Government does) so it’s far more difficult for them to take your assets if you can’t repay.
  • Your business must have been established before 1 March 2020. It must also still be trading as a going concern (temporary cessation due to coronavirus doesn’t matter) at the point of application – and the reason for any issues must be due to coronavirus.
  • Credit ratings (business or personal) won’t impact your eligibility – so most should be able to get these loans. You don’t need to prove the viability of your business and the application process is relatively straightforward. 
  • The loan will likely go on your business credit report, but not on your personal one.
  • At least eight banks are offering them. See our full bank-by-bank list
  • You need a business to set these up but don’t need a business bank account. At least some of the banks offering these loans don’t require you to have a business account with them. 
  • Bounce back loans DON’T affect your eligibility for other Government personal support. You can still apply for a bounce back loan and get the self-employment income support grants, and you may still be eligible for universal credit.
  • Bounce back loans can be used to repay existing finance. We’ve confirmed this with a number of individual lenders, we’re still checking whether there are any whose specific terms prevent it.


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Member ICSM Credit: Exorbitant Insolvency Practitioner fees and questionable practices – the murky world of administration

Trying to find out how much an insolvency practitioner (IP) actually charges is like trying to find out what is happening in North Korea. It’s a near impossible task. However there are some pointers such as anecdotal accounts about exorbitant fees and stupidly high costs and even a Government survey made in 2014 that estimated some eye-wateringly high hourly rates.

Just for the record (and this was six years ago) they were on average £366 for a director, £253 for managers, £182 for senior staff and £103 an hour for assistants such as secretaries. The so-called big four and other large firms had fees estimated around the £800 an hour mark which today would be somewhat higher. Then there are costs such as photocopying, letters, meetings, travel and accommodation and other expenses which can be charged and itemised.

The vultures descend

Anecdotally ICSM Credit often hears of practices that are highly questionable if not from a legal point of view then at least from a moral one.

“When a firm becomes insolvent it can be that the vultures descend,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit, “the first thing any insolvency practitioner will assess is whether there’s enough cash in the collapsed company to pay their fees. The banks usually are secured creditors while the taxman will usually get the lion’s share of what they are owed leaving the unsecured suppliers with what’s left.”

This spring there is an unprecedented number of firms entering administration due in part to the Covid-19 crisis, the lock down, economic collapse and long term trends affecting in particular retail, printing and hospitality. Companies sliding into insolvency should seek legal advice over their future and if administration is the answer then the owners need to appoint an administrator. Preferably one who is committed to saving the business or finding a buyer so it can live to fight another day. Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley are two examples in the last few days – but they have a brand name which is of value. Anecdotally ICSM Credit hears about IPs being chosen because of their relationship with the troubled firm. This can be positive in one sense as they will know the business and its strengths and weaknesses but it can also be a route for some dubious deals such as the selling of assets to newly created companies owned by the owners of the collapsed enterprise.

Highly questionable practices

Another controversial area is the one of pre-packs in which a firm is sold as a going concern keeping the staff and assets but dumping the debt including in some cases the pension scheme and the workers’ back pay. The pre-pack pool set up by the Government only scrutinises a small number of these deals as they do not have the power to check all pre-packs – and that has led to criticism of some pre-packs as being ‘stitch-ups.’ Again it is the unsecured creditors who lose out.

In defence of IPs no single administration is the same with numerous variables and legal complications. And there’s the issue of some directors trying to cover their tracks with angry creditors demanding to know why a company failed.

But with so many firms hitting the buffers and choosing administration it has meant the Covid-19 crisis is effectively open season for insolvency practitioners – one part of the economy that is having a good 2020.

For more on how an administrator works and what will happen once they are appointed go to the Government’s website at

ICSM Credit

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website or email Ian at on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website or send an email to

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit

AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE member The Oak House Hotel and Restaurant offers roast Sunday dinners to residents during the Covid-19 crisis – details here

The Oak House Hotel & Restaurant

SUNDAY ROASTS ARE BACK ??Don’t miss out – pre-order by 5pm TODAY!!

Our delicious Sunday roasts are back, available for delivery or collection this Sunday 3rd May between 12pm – 4pm
Pre-orders only.

All pre-orders to be emailed to: or text: 07447 424674

Pre-order NOW! – Last orders to be sent by 5pm today.

Please let us know if you have any allergies or special dietary requirements.

? Roast Sirloin of Beef
?Roast Breast of Chicken
?Nut roast

All of our delicious roasts are served with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and gravy

£14.95 per roast. Minimum order of £20.

Free delivery in Axbridge for orders £20 or over
£2 delivery to Cheddar / Winscombe (minimum order £20)
£3 delivery to Shipham (minimum order £20)
We can deliver further afield – please enquire for delivery charge.

Collect from us between 12pm – 4pm.
We are adhering to social distancing measures, please let us know the time you are going to collect on Sunday.

Thank you for your support.


ICSM Credit’s global reach: collecting debts for clients anywhere in the world

Anywhere, anyplace, anytime: ICSM Credit goes after your debtors across the globe and gets you your money

The Japanese multi-national was about to go bust owing one UK firm £41,000 but ICSM Credit were on the case and after negotiating directly with the CEO every penny was paid.

“It can be nerve wracking at times,” said Paul Carrotte, “but essentially every debt we collect is the same whether it is in Cardiff or Capetown. We’ve collected from South America and Malaysia with equal success as we use the same negotiating tactics. Diplomacy and flexibility are essential as you need to keep the debtor talking but give them a way out as well. “

FREE Legal Letters work

Working with the legendary ICSM Credit FREE legal letters members of the credit intelligence organisation enjoy around an 87% success rate without having to part with any cash as they chase down overdue invoices.

“There’s a perception that debts are treated differently overseas,” said Ian Carrotte, “but a debt is a debt whether it is here or in Timbuktu. And it is made easier to collect as English being the international language of business. The largest number of foreign countries we deal with are within Europe and the EU, but we have recovered money in most of the USA states, Canada, Austrlia and parts of South America and Asia. Nowhere is out of bounds so don’t hesitate to drop us a line.”

ICSM Credit have four decades of experience and have weathered at least three major recessions so the current uncertainty around the economy due to the Covid-19 crisis is something that doesn’t faze them.

“When there is a downturn we often find firms will use the crisis as an excuse not to pay their suppliers,” said Paul Carrotte, “but the court and legal system remains open and despite what you may think most companies have cash and will pay up overdue invoices if diplomatic pressure is applied.”

There is a video to show how to send a free legal letter with ICSM Credit at

ICSM Credit

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website or email Ian at on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website or send an email to

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE idea for pubs and restaurants in our area from David Hiscox of the Somerset Inn

This is from David Hiscox of the Somerset Inn.
Hello, I thought this free takeaway and delivery website solution might be of interest to Pubs and Restaurant businesses in the Axbridge area.
I have tried it for my company (Somerset Inn) and it works very well, it’s very easy to set up but I can assist other pubs and restaurants if they need help. Please share to anyone you think might benefit, do let me know if you have any questions.
Full details at


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE idea: an open letter to members from the Corona Cheddar Valley Facebook group 

Please read this message from Simon Childs of the Facebook Group helping the community during the crisis – and support the group if you can. Card attached.

The Corona Cheddar Valley Facebook group is connecting people in need, feeling unwell or self-isolating, with volunteers willing to help with errands, shopping, prescriptions etc, the group currently has over 1800 members. An A6 card featuring a hotline number was distributed to all households in Cheddar, Axbridge, Weare, Cross, Compton Bishop and Rackley in late March to connect with people not online or Facebook. The hotline is manned by around 20 fantastic volunteers with a multitude of individual skills from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. We’ve had nearly 300 requests for help in the last month or so and for every request we’re getting numerous offers from enthusiastic local volunteers. The sheer goodwill has been amazing.

The people in need and volunteers may sort out payments for purchases between themselves, however cash transactions are not appropriate if the person in need has been exposed to Coronavirus or is vulnerable/isolating. So we have set up a payment system under the auspices of Cheddar Chamber of Commerce and can take card payments by phone, or payments by BACS, from people in need and we separately, reimburse the volunteers via BACS.

We’ve also established a fund to cover people who are unable to pay either due to hardship or not being able to access funds and have had some amazingly generous donation towards this.

And we’ve recognised that some people value having someone to talk to as much as anything else. So we’re enabling people who simply feel like talking to be able to connect directly to a friendly and willing local person. This launched on Monday 27th April and operates between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week. This is a different telephone number and is handled in part by our existing call handlers and in part by Rotary Club of Mendip and Cheddar Vale Lions Club members.   

We’ve producing an updated A6 card which featuring the payment system and the chat line, this is being distributed to all households in Cheddar, Axbridge, Weare, Cross, Compton Bishop and Rackley currently. Lynne Jarman is handling the distribution within Axbridge. I’ve attached a PDF of the new card plus a desktop printer friendly poster version that people can print and put in their windows. Axbridge Town Council has contributed towards the printing of both versions of the card.

If you’d like any more info or have any questions please ask.

With best regards,               Simon Childs

T: +44(0)1934 744384 | M: +44(0)7787 753444

Please print out this poster and put it in your window:


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE idea: an open letter to members from the chairman Louise Jane Cooling about an online auction

Motives – 

  • To raise and maintain the profile of Local Businesses 
  • To promote local businesses and celebrate what we have on our doorstep
  • To raise revenue for Small to Medium Local Businesses
  • To maintain our own profile and maintain momentum of Ripley Auctions
  • To have some fun and test drive online Auction
  • To raise money for Charity during Covid-19 times
  • To feel a bit more useful and proactive!

How will it work for you?

As a business you will consign an offer/a deal via email, just as you would consign a physical item for sale in our Auction.  In your email you will provide links to all social media and website if you have one.

You can place a reserve on your offer just as you can in a regular Auction.

The offers/deals along with all of your social media links will be listed as a catalogue.  A link to this will then be promoted for 2 weeks prior to the Auction via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Local Radio, Newspapers if possible!  You will also be required to share this link with your customers and via your own Social Media Pages as much as possible.

It will cost £5 to LOT your offer.  This will go towards Advertising and FB/Insta Boosts and to cover any Admin costs

You will receive 100% of the Hammer price via bank transfer once the buyer has paid.

The Buyer will pay 15% Buyers premium on top of the hammer price just as they would in a regular Auction

100% of this Buyers Premium will go to Charity 

You will vote for the Charity you would like the Buyers Premium (15%) to go to.  The most popular will be chosen

How will the Auction work?

We aim to keep the Auction short, sweet and fun!  It will be conducted via Zoom from our shop in the Square. It will last for about 40 minutes – we will go through around 20 Lots in one Auction

Bidders will need to register with us prior to the Auction

They can bid by phone, Zoom or they can leave a commission bid, just as in a regular Auction

The Zoom platform can accommodate up to 100 people at any one time…..Although that is optimistic, you’ve got to aim big right!!!??

When the Auction is over, successful bidders will be Invoiced.  This invoice will include your offer and your details and Social Media links.

Once they have paid via Bank Transfer, we will Pay you!  A receipt will be emailed to you, with the Buyers contact details for your records.  You can then either wait for the Buyer to contact you, or you could contact and congratulate them, that part is up to you!

If your LOT does not sell we will include it in the next Auction for free, still no luck then we would suggest that you withdraw or change the offer.

Please let us know directly if you would be interested.  Give us a ring or email us if you have any further questions.

We welcome your thoughts/feedback

Best regards and wishes during this worrying time, 

Lou and Jules

Ripley Antiques



AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: an open letter to members from the chairman Louise Jane Cooling regarding the situation over Covid-19

Good afternoon all members, 

I hope this email finds you well and that you are managing to navigate your way through this terrible situation.While I have been sharing general information either directly from the Government or from Sedgemoor District Council I don’t feel like I have taken the time to address you all in a meaningful way.  As I’m sure you can understand, our heads have been reeling as we try to come to terms with our new world.  Well, the spinning out is slowing, the emergency brain is retreating (a little) and the logical brain is beginning to kick in. PHEW!

So, as current  Chair of Axbridge Chamber of Commerce I would like to reach out and provide an opportunity for us all to share our experiences, wisdom, frustration or confusion, so far.  From a business point of view, there is a feeling of isolation. We are all desperately seeking the best avenues of support to go down and making our own mistakes and discoveries as we go.Obviously, physical networking and sharing opportunities are out of the question, but there is no reason why this can’t happen via email, a members only social media page, or Zoom sessions.

You could email the Chamber and we will combine everyone’s stories to date and then distribute to all members.  Questions that arise from this can again be emailed to the chamber and shared on a regular basis.  For those who wish to Zoom we can record and make it available for members to watch.  Is it possible to record a Zoom session does anyone know?  If not, we can note and distribute  the main points that arise from it.

I am proposing that it would be really helpful for all of us if we share what we have been able to access in the way of support, the problems we have faced and solutions we have found – or not found, as the case may be.Also, you could share ways in which you have diversified, and found new ways of trading?Anything, good or bad.  This could prove to be very helpful during these times, or indeed in the future.

Collaboration is key to growth and survival and we all need as much help and support as possible at the moment.  Networking is still very much possible!  We were getting off to a great start on that one so let’s try to maintain the momentum.  This will also be shared with Cheddar Chamber and their members to increase the Network and thus provide more opportunity for support and much needed camaraderie.
If anyone has any better ideas for how we can share, please let me know!! I am not overly technically advanced!

Best wishes to all of you, Louise Cooling


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: Somerset Chamber’s news and events during the Covid-19 crisis

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Headlines

Wednesday, April 22

Chamber CEO speaks to BBC Somerset to highlight business grant scheme

Stephen Henagulph, CEO of Somerset Chamber, spoke to Simon Parkin of BBC Somerset to raise the profile of the grants available to businesses via their local authority as many firms had yet to apply.


Upcoming Chamber Events

May 2020

Bringing staff out of furlough

If your business has furloughed staff, you’ll need to consider how and when you manage their return to work. We will also explore your options and discuss how to ensure you follow correct procedures for a variety of scenarios.


Let’s Network

Join us for this FREE series of lunchtime networking specifically for our members. 

Hosted by Somerset Chamber via Zoom, these offer the opportunity for our members to catch up and continue to build business connections during this time of uncertainty. 

Bring your own food, virtual business cards, your elevator pitch – and let’s network!


MD & CEO Forum 

This online forum, led by Stephen Henagulph, the CEO of Somerset Chamber, is specifically for MDs and CEOs of any size business and from any sector to discuss common growing pains. In light of COVID-19 we understand that businesses will, now more than ever, be in need of discussing best practices and sharing innovation. All discussions will be held in full confidence. 

If there is a topic of interest that you would like to raise, we welcome any suggestions in advance. 

This session will be interactive via Zoom, welcoming discussion and input from all.


Chamber News

Latest changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Further clarification and guidance on the furloughing of workers from Simon Denton of Milstead Langdon and Kate Gardner of Clarke Willmott.


More than 70% of firms have furloughed staff according to BCC tracker

The results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Trackers reveal that a majority of firms have furloughed staff.


Member News

Construction sites begin to re-open in Somerset

Principle building contractors Melhuish & Saunders are remobilising to get projects up and moving in-line with advice.


DSAA supporters urged to get active

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has joined the ‘virtual’ fundraising world and launched a Coast to Coast Virtual Challenge.


Love Musgrove appeal tops £80k in four weeks

The official charity of Musgrove Park Hospital sees a huge increase in donations to support staff and patients during the pandemic.


Old Mill director calls for grants not loans

Mark Neath, of Somerset business advisors Old Mill, believes the Government should offer grants not ‘inappropriate lending’.



AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: Sedgemoor District Council has business grants available for local firms during the Covid-19 crisis

Sedgemoor District Council has put out an urgent call to small businesses, business groups and communities to spread the word that there are still grants available to help during the current crisis.   The government money available is a grant – not a loan – so does not need to be repaid.

Whilst the Council has received 1,983 applications, amounting to £19,350,000; they know that there are still hundreds of businesses in Sedgemoor who have not applied for the grant – so teams of Council staff are working hard trying to trace business owners. 

It’s simple to apply, but if you need help contact us on 0300 303 7801.   The online form is here:  To check whether businesses are eligible, all they need to know is their rateable value and whether or not they are in receipt of any relief or discount.   Messages received by the Council from businesses whose grants have been paid have shown that the sums of money are extremely welcome and could make the difference between whether a business survives or fails during the crisis. 

Sedgemoor is not alone. Across the south-west, it is estimated that around 40% of eligible companies have yet to come forward for help.

Among the reasons for businesses not applying are:

  • Still doing some business so didn’t think they could claim
  • Thought it was a loan and had to be paid back
  • Didn’t know about the grants;  despite being in difficulty and the many news bulletins stressing help for business is available
  • Not going to their business premises during lock down, so not having the letters or the paperwork needed
  • The business is in someone else’s name
  • Don’t have email or ready access to a computer
  • Doing very well so don’t need it

For details visit


AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: Somerset Chamber of Commerce events – latest during the Covid-19 emergency

Somerset Chamber are delighted to be providing a variety of online events for our members during these tough times. From virtual networking to professional development workshops, we hope to see you at one soon!COVID-19 Advice:
Furlough WorkersFREE Webinar, April 23
Facilitated by Clarke Willmott & Milsted LangdonWith further clarification now issued by the government, we will be advised by Kate Gardner, Partner at Clarke Willmott and Simon Denton, TAX Advisor at Milsted Langdon as to how to proceed with the furlough process and its impact on your business. 

  Book Now  Let’s Network!FREE virtual networking, April 29Hosted by Somerset Chamber via Zoom, these offer the opportunity for Somerset Chamber Members to catch up and continue to build business connections during this time of uncertainty. Bring your own food, virtual business cards, your elevator pitch – and let’s network!  Book Now  Sector Focus:
Hospitality & EventsFREE virtual forum, April 30
With guest Speakers from Haynes International Motor Museum & Deer Park Country HotelHearing from hospitality heavyweights, who between them have over 50 years industry experience:Chris Scudds, CEO of Haynes International Motor MuseumMark Godfrey, MD of Deer Park Country HouseThis closed forum is aimed at businesses operating in the events & hospitality sector, to share best practices, issues, and opportunities that are available to them. All discussions had will be held in full confidence. 

  Book Now  
PR: Maximising your opportunitiesHalf-Day Workshop, May 5
Facilitated by Morledge & Co.Aimed at those responsible for marketing or communications, this workshop will provide an overview of public relations (PR). This informative workshop will explain the benefits of public relations and provide practical examples and top tips on how to apply it effectively and efficiently to your business. Attendees will come away confident in the PR opportunities within their business and have a grasp on how to create a successful PR plan.


Harry Mottram, secretary to Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

Louise Cooling. Chairman

Mike Sartain. Treasurer

More at

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AXBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Member News: Hale Events lists two wholesalers who can supply food and drink direct to the public during lock down

Hale Events in Axbridge are a dedicated team of professionals who organise specialist exhibitions and trade shows. They have reported that two wholesalers they know now supply food and drink direct to the public during the Covid-19 crisis.

They are: minimum £25 order – free delivery minimum £50 order – free delivery

Hale Events are based in Premier House in Old Church Road in Axbridge. For details visit

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