Knaresborough businesses are being desperately urged to “use it or lose it”, with the town chamber of trade under threat from lack of support.
Currently 80 businesses in the town are part of the chamber but only five members play an active part on the committee.
With a heavy workload taking hold and constitutional guidelines stating there must be at least eight active members, the chamber is desperate for more support.
Vice-president Steve Teggin said: “We have got rather an active chamber of trade in Knaresborough and it has been going for lots of years.
“In the last couple of years the committee has dwindled. The number of active members on the committee has been falling over recent years and current members are struggling to continue the work that we do.
“We do really need some fresh blood and it has to be some active committee people, not just people who turn up to the meetings.”
For Steve, many traders and people in the town do not realise how much the chamber does to make the town more attractive to shoppers and visitors. He said: “The town will lose the Christmas fair and Christmas trees, a number of the Christmas lights in the town, they will lose events like the dinner dance and the barbecue at Carriages.
“They will also lose the town maps being updated and managed each year, and they will also lose their representation at Knaresborough Town Council and any representation at Harrogate Council on issues regarding Knaresborough.
“The list goes on – it would be absolutely devastating for Knaresborough to lose the chamber of trade.
“It really is a difficult time for us.”
But now the situation has become so bleak that current president of the chamber, Maurice Bardon, is choosing to stand down.
Mr Bardon said: “What I would say is that the town’s independent traders haven’t supported the chamber and the chains in the town support nothing,
“People only complain when they haven’t got the things that we provide. They take it for granted and they expect that it will happen, that’s why I have said after six years of being president I’m happy to walk away from it.
“Some of the current members have been active for 10, 15, 20 years so they feel they have done their stint and some don’t see the benefit, it’s like anything in life, people don’t know what you do until you don’t do it anymore. Use it or lose it.”
Despite his decision to leave his position, Mr Bardon also urged town traders to consider what they would lose without the chamber.
He said: “I’d tell people they are in danger of losing a very precious commodity, once the hanging baskets are lost and the spring fair and the Christmas fair is lost and the Christmas trees and lights - and these are all things that are for the well-being of the traders to make the town look nice and inviting - if these things stop happening it’s no good complaining in a year or two years time.
“They might have a reason not to want to be part of the chamber, but it’s for the good of the town, not for the good of individuals.
“Knaresborough traders have got to decide what is in the best interests of the town and put that first.”
However not all hope is lost yet. Mr Teggin has vowed that should the chamber be able to recruit the eight active members it needs, he will stand for president.
The committee has organised its annual general meeting for 6.30pm on Tuesday, March 15, at the Dower House where they hope to recruit more members.
If you are interested in attending the meeting or would like to show your support for the chamber, contact Steve Teggin on 01423 862233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.