It’s been a month of both highs and lows for the region and for the Chamber, particularly with COVID lockdowns and the tight rope we seem to be walking on at times.
Upper Hunter MP, Dave Layzell, kept us up to date on his Facebook page and on September 14 he publicly requested that NSW Government take us, along with the rest of the Upper Hunter, out of lockdown. As we all held our breath, the announcement was made on the 16th that Stage 4 lockdown was lifted. What a sense of relief we all felt. We could not be happier for the businesses that could again open their doors. As we continued to look at the cases popping up in our region, and unfortunately, Muswellbrook was launched back into a 7-day snap lockdown which has now been extended until the 11th of September, coinciding with the rest of the state’s reopening roadmap. 11th of September is being labelled ‘freedom day’ for many, however, there are still challenges we will all need to overcome.
In other news, we attended some fantastic support forums and workshop series’ this month – keeping us feeling both connected and inspired.
Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM)
All Members are invited to attend our upcoming AGM and are welcome to nominate candidates for the Board. All positions will be declared vacant.
- Vice President
- 3 x Ordinary Board Members
DATE AND TIME
28th of October
6pm – Light Refreshments will be provided.
NSW TAFE Connected Learning Centre – Scone.
In line with public health orders, only fully vaccinated members will be able to attend in person due to COVID health guidelines.
Remote access will be facilitated for those who are unable to attend due to vaccination status.
Must be received by the Secretary by 5pm Thursday, 21st October 2021
POINTS OF NOTE FOR NOMINATIONS
- Nominations must be received by 5pm 21st October 2021 in writing, addressed to the Secretary either via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or via post: PO Box 100, Scone, NSW 2337
- To nominate, or be nominated, you must be a financial member of the Scone Chamber as of 21st October 2021 (ie: 7 days before the AGM).
- Clause 4 and Clause 15 address cessation of membership and election of Committee, and are included for your information.
You must register to attend the event.
Virtual Small Business Forum
The Chamber reached out to Dave Layzell a few weeks ago while Scone was still in lockdown regarding current funding and support gaps for small businesses during COVID. Dave acknowledged small businesses were suffering due to restrictions and setup a Virtual Small Business Forum to discuss concerns. This took place on September 16. The forum was highly informative and included guest speakers; Minister for Finance and Small Business, Damien Tudehope, Small Business Commissioner, Chris Lamont and a reprehensive from Services NSW who discussed funding and support available.
The mood was generally optimistic with the end to lockdown announcements only taking place a few hours before. The strongest message to businesses who took part was – ‘don’t self-assess when it comes to funding and support’. This often means contacting a Business Concierge at Services NSW or even speaking with the Commissioner to get clearer answers. Many businesses who think they are not eligible are able to get funding and support when reaching out. This is something the Chamber sees often and a message we continue to relay to businesses.
Roadmap to Reopening
While restrictions are easing, the road to recovery may be long for many and so the Chamber will continue to support its local business community through this time and beyond. The Chamber are in talks with funding bodies regarding additional supports needed in the COVID relief effort, as well as working on collaborative projects with local professional services to deliver programs that will further support local businesses.
The roadmap to reopening has been announced by the NSW state government with double vaccination rates of 70%, 80% and 90% acting as goalposts which will indicate a series of restrictions easing across the state.
You can find all the information regarding the NSW Reponing Roadmap as well as public health order/rules for businesses and individuals and more in the below resources. We know this is going to be a difficult time for many businesses in regards to monitoring those customers who are and are not vaccinated. It is important to keep the lines of communication open and to know that this won’t always be the case. Please reach out if you are having any difficulty understanding the rules and regulations.
- Reopening NSW Roadmap
- Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination – What you need to know
- COVID-19 Vaccination and Your Business – What you need to know
- Contact tracing and isolation rules – What businesses need to know
The Chamber would like to thank Upper Hunter Women in Business for presenting the recent Business Bytes series which included a panel of some of the finest businesswomen in the Upper Hunter. It was great to support such a brilliant initiative where each morning for just 30mins a speaker shared advice and actionable skills for getting businesses back on track and thriving through these tough times. It was inspirational to see the Upper Hunter business community come together in such a positive and collaborative way.
Building Virtual Confidence – Melinda Smith (highlights):
Check out the rest of the highlights from each workshop below:
Janie Jordan – How to Communicate When the Going Gets Tough: Pick the Panic
Claire Quigley – Innovate Beyond the Obvious
Jane Ryan – Finances with the Fox
Susan Gilroy – Powering on Through Challenging Times
Business Bytes, a LivMedia and Seek+Deploy production.
Mental Health Month
October is Mental Health Month and as a way to help spread awareness and support, we are promoting an initiative proposed during the Business Bytes series. We are encouraging as many organisations as possible to add a message to their email signatures to promote Lifeline’s support services. Calls to Lifeline from around Australia are up 25 per cent since COVID-19 started and this is consistent in the Upper Hunter, and a simple reminder of support in an email signature could make all the difference.
The message might read something along the lines of “Please do not suffer alone. If you need support phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifelinehunter.org.au”
Small Business Month Postponed
The NSW Government has decided to move NSW Small Business Month from October 2021 to March 2022. While this is disappointing, we are hopeful this gives us the extra time we need to get back to a new normal with the pandemic and organise a great event in March 2022.
Programs of Interest
Business Continuity & Emergency Response Planning – Fully Funded Training
MELANIE’S – A STORY OF FAMILY
Melanie’s Matthews Family Jewellers is a story of family, history and community. Melanie, owner of Melanie’s Matthews Family Jewellers continues a long-standing tradition first established by her Great Grandmother, Maude, who owned a jewellery store in Murwillumbah in the 1930s and 40s…