A look back at 2019 – 2020

The Sodbury & Yate Business Association AGM is always a chance to look back and celebrate our events and members. It also gives us a chance to say thank you to our members and the Exec Team for all their help and support.

Our first ever online AGM was a lovely opportunity to join together and share ideas, talk about our challenges and think about how to move forward with regard to continuing to make SYBA a great and supportive place to be.

It seems like a lot of water has passed under the bridge since 2019, so here’s a reminder of some of the events that took place:

In 2019 we introduced the Training & Events Update to our meetings. Annette Shinner from Nat West Bank has been doing a fantastic job with this and keeping us all up-to-date and informed with what is going on in our area for training and networking.

We also moved to Poole Court and introduced 1-1s within our meeting time to get members talking to each other more. We learnt from members, Caroline Huish from The Old Rectory and Linda Banister and Tracey Francksen from Red Door Coaching & Training how to run a successful business as they celebrated 10 years. Plus, we had presentations and innovative ideas from our guest speakers Tony Davie, UWE business students and business blogger Amy Morse.

Sole traders Yate

Breakfast Meetings

We also had some very successful breakfast meetings at The Buthay in Wickwar where Martin Bisp from Empire Fighting Chance, Louise Turner from St Peter’s Hospice, Eric Sanders from the South Glos Council Business and Development Team and our member, Peter Huish from The Peterson Practice all gave inspiring presentations.

Then, we had our lovely Christmas Party at The Stables in Chipping Sodbury, where we not only looked after beautifully by the staff but, we also got our members and guests working together to have fun solving problems with spaghetti!

Social Events

As well as all this, we had some excellent social events including skittles at Yate Town Football Club and the Summer Cricket Party which was a lovely warm atmosphere, despite the not so summery weather!

Steve Birch, vice-Chair, takes our members on the steam train

January 2020

Sadly in January 2020, our joint chair, Martin Weaver, stepped down from his role. Our long-standing Vice-Chair, Steve Birch, was due to retire and our Treasurer, Stephen Cotton, also wished to step down from the role. Martin had worked really hard behind the scenes getting new members on board, organising events and making welcome changes that encouraged active participation from members at our meetings. Steve had been in the role since the start of SYBA eleven years ago and Stephen had made great progress getting our accounts online and generally making life easier for us. We are extremely grateful to them for all their hard work.

March 2020 – The year the AGM got cancelled amongst other things……

Just as we had been thinking about getting ready for the 2020 AGM and to vote in a new Exec Team, the pandemic hit the UK and we went into lockdown.

As businesses closed their doors all over the country, our Chair, James Rendell from Clever HR, roped in the support of longstanding member, Angie Lane from The Boundary Magazine and together they came up with a plan to support our members by advertising our logos in The Boundary. This meant that even if we weren’t physically seeing each other, our members’ businesses were still visible.

Along with many of our other members, including Emma Doney from Adorno Companions, our Treasurer, Stephen Cotton from Cotton Wealth Management, volunteered his spare time to help out in the pandemic.

Our Treasurer, Stephen Cotton at RUH, Bath

Now seriously reduced in numbers, the Exec Team struggled for a while whilst businesses frantically moved online, furlough was organised and our members tried to keep their heads above water.

Bouncing back

Then, we bounced back bringing on board Sue Marchant, director of Cool Ventures and Simon Carlin from The Lost Coin.

Claire Jaggard from Cromhall Media, stepped in to add our members as featured advertisements on My Yate and My Sodbury and, as businesses began to open their doors again, Angie Lane began to feature our members in The Boundary as well as our logos.

We also decided to make membership for 2020 /21 free for existing members whilst Annette Shinner has been providing us with information on support and grants available both for existing businesses, sole traders and start ups.

Next, we started to have our first online meetings including a Christmas Party and our January quiz night

yate businesses
Sodbury Yate Business Association

At the end of 2020, we donated the proceeds from the Post Box that we would normally hand around at meetings to Yate Food Bank.

Back to 2021

An enormous thank you to those of you who made it to the online AGM and for all your suggestions, thoughts and ideas. We voted in our Exec Team for 2021 and it’s great to see our existing team back in and plus some exciting new additions – Angie Lane and Emma Doney! There’s still room for more support if anyone else would like to join us and, as members, you can join us at any time at the Exec meetings.

Our new Exec Team for 2021

So, what is there to look forward to?

A message from James Rendell:

“Lots! As a committee we are really looking forward to driving the group forward. The pandemic has proved a tough challenge for most, but our aims and ambitions remain the same; to support local sole traders, micro businesses and SMEs within Yate, Chipping Sodbury and the surrounding villages.

We want to grow with a mix of networking, social and breakfast events that suit all our members’ requirements. Our membership is wide and diverse from differing sectors and we are constantly looking for ways of increasing our features and benefits. We welcome any ideas you may have.

Community is key for us. We will (pandemic permitting) get some events diarised for the latter part of the year.

We are thrilled to welcome Angie Lane to the committee, who will be representing SYBA as Membership Secretary. Welcome aboard! We have other key vacancies including Social Events Secretary and Social Media Manager. Please get in touch to discuss further.”

Next meeting

Our next meeting is April 26th at 5:30 on Zoom.

We hope to see you all there!

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Connect your business with 50 others from the Yate and Chipping Sodbury area for just £50 a year. Through SYBA, you can meet, network, socialise and find the professional help and support you need to grow your business.

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