It is amazing to think we are approaching the end of 2023, but what a big year it has been.
Winning a grant from Regional NSW to produce a Business Case and concept plans for the redevelopment of the former Hospital in McKee Drive has been a real highlight. The possibility of providing a multi-use facility for so many great organisations is exciting, and we will continue to press for this project in 2024.
The Welcome Experience contract that the Chamber successfully won early in 2023 is also making a real difference in attracting and retaining essential workers to the Bega Valley. It is well documented of the shortage of workers in many of our critical services including the Hospital, Education, Doctors, Aged Care Facilities, and many others. By assisting workers to move to the area and by creating long lasting connections then hopefully they will stay long term and become very much part of the community.
Throughout 2023 we have provided a variety of services to support our members including network events, retail promotions, business support like cyber security and women in Business events. We have also advocated to all levels of Government on a range of issues and been involved in consultation with a vast array of Government and non-Government organisations.
Our last major event for the year was the Christmas Carnival held in Littleton Gardens on December 7th. Again, we had lots of entertainment for the kids with four different inflatable rides, two face painters, craft painting and fairy floss. This year on the stage we enjoyed great entertainment from local legend Matt Preo, Starmaker finalist Felicity Dowd, the Bega District Development Band and Bega Brass Band and the Students from Bega Valley Public School.
For the first time in a number of years the combined Churches of Bega presented Carols to round out the night.
The Chamber presents this free event every year as a way of saying thank you for supporting local businesses. Whether it is a retail store, the Doctor, or the Bank, when you use these services or purchase from these stores you are supporting local jobs and local families.
On behalf of all the members of the Bega Chamber I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year. We trust that you get a chance to stop, relax, and spent some quality time with those you love.
Some of our businesses may be closed or have reduced trading hours over this period and we trust that you understand that they also have family and friends to celebrate this time with as well.
If you are planning a trip, then please drive carefully and we look forward to what 2024 will bring.