“The weekend is here and you deserve a medal for getting through this week. May your weekend feel longer than the working week.” Unknown

Apparently we hit the COVID club peak membership this week – exciting times and good news for those who have been holding their breath, their business and their pockets to hit the Easter Weekend. For those who have made it without COVID to get on a plane, spend time with family and not be in isolation for their Easter weekend it is definitely time to breath and get out and about. There is so much going on in the region from Wild Freo to a giant Easter egg hunt or just  to enjoy all the Fremantle hospitality on offer. A perfect time for a stay cation in the last of the Autumn sunshine.

In other exciting news this week, we launched with partners The University of Notre Dame student discount card. This initiative is a core part of our Student Life collaboration to work together to ensure the University student body makes the most of the incredible lifestyle Fremantle offers, and our businesses get some extra foot traffic at a time when they need it most. There are more details on this below.

The results of our Membership Survey 2022 are also hot off the press this week. The results indicate that our businesses and their leaders do need all the support they can get at the moment. There is a distinctive shift in the results from last year, particularly around COVID-19 related impacts. These challenges are perceived to be significantly higher this year, along with a sense of declining foot traffic, slowing of retail trade and a sense of a lack of promotion to get this foot traffic back. The COVID-19 state grants and support is seen as light on the ground, and the assessment criteria not in line with needs. 
There is a slight reduction in those business leaders who now call Fremantle home and also a lower rating for the diversity and connections between Fremantle businesses as drivers for them, rather the strength and passion of Fremantle community stands out – perhaps a positive sign of how we are working together through such a tough time in business.

Interestingly though there is a stronger sense of opportunity for Fremantle, though this perhaps reflects a sense that things can’t get any worse so have to get better! 
The priorities identified in our 2021-2025 Strategic Plan last year remain a pertinent focus for our membership base, particularly around;

  • Addressing antisocial behaviour across the City,
  • A need for greater destination marketing and a better link between events, festivals, vibrancy and activated streets
  • Support for emerging industries – marine & creative
  • A focus on transport and connectors for staff and between businesses (and in here ongoing advocacy support for the southern transport corridor down to AMC)
  • Marine infrastructure needs and requirements to protect this important industry for Fremantle into the future
  • Amenity and infrastructure improvements around the City
  • Heritage grants and a program to help activate under-utilised spaces in the CBD

In terms of Chamber performance, we were humbled and reassured by the positive feedback from our members. We will continue to work hard to deliver to your expectations and like you so look forward to getting back into our Business After Hours next month.

We thank our members for their patience over the hold on our business after hours events in the last 5-6 weeks. It reduced our financial exposure significantly given the restrictions and community numbers going in and out of isolation. It also enabled our office to keep healthy and well to ensure we can continue to deliver the priority efforts in manual export documentation to help our exporters get their products to market. Stay tuned for the announcement of details for our next Business After Hours and pop Thursday May 19th in the diary.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, and a well-earned mental health break.

Danicia

Read more on the Chamber Weekly here.