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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Keep Llangollen Special reviews its first year

Community group Keep Llangollen Special (KLS) held its first annual general meeting at the Hand Hotel on Tuesday night.

New officers were elected for the forthcoming year and retiring chair, Mike Edwards (pictured below), gave the following appraisal of the group's first year:

"Behind scenes the Management Committee have been working hard meeting at least once a month and discussing a number of issues and initiatives.

* I can understand the frustration in certain quarters that little seems to have been achieved, but major projects such as the Business & Community Hub proposal have long lead times particularly when you are trying to attract Grant Aid funding.

* Our main achievement to date is our Buy Local (BL) initiative which has gathered pace as we have established it as a regular monthly event. Even with such a small group of people it has sometimes been difficult to find members to deliver posters and get them printed.

* We have spent some time investigating a loyalty card scheme following a presentation from a company who provide the infrastructure. The result of these investigations has established that Llangollen has too small a population to support a "commercially" viable scheme. We have been offered a template to establish and run our own scheme, but the Committee decided against this at the present time due to a lack of resources.

*One scheme which is making progress towards launch is the Smartphone App.

* Going back to our Business & Community Hub (BACH) initiative, I have visited Glyn Wylfa in Chirk on a number of occasions and I would recommend everyone to visit because it is extremely impressive what they have been able to achieve. However, it has taken them several years to reach the stage they are at having secured Big Lottery Funding, planning consent and a property which generates income to support the community based activities

* My view has always been that we need to move from a campaigning, lobbying protest group and it is proving difficult to lose this image. In order to move forward we need to redouble our efforts to be seen as a constructive, progressive community organisation working with all interest parties in Llangollen to project the image, identity and already internationally known brand of Llangollen. 

* The independent businesses in Llangollen seem not to have fully appreciated the impact that Sainsbury's will have on their business, but they really need to get their acts together to meet this challenge or else we are going to see shops shutting up and we will be left with a high level of vacant properties as there are in many towns and cities throughout the UK. We need business owners to come on board and fight this corner with us.

* Finally, I have done my twelve months as chair so it's time for someone else to takeover and move us forward. I would like to thank Phil Jones and the Committee for their immense support throughout my year."

Rachel Morris was elected chair, Phil Jones as vice-chair, Di Slater as treasurer, Phil Thane as web master, Annie Powell as membership secretary and Mike Edwards stays on the committee as an ordinary member.

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