This month we ventured out of our usual haunts and held our Networking Meeting at Cirencester Golf Club. It’s as well it’s such a big space as we had a phenomenal turnout, fifty plus. Not sure if it was the lovely setting or the smell of the craft ale that brought them out! Probably a bit of both.

After brief introductions round the room, which took a fair while even though most attendees appreciated the need for brevity, our host Richard gave a short talk about the Golf Club and its facilities. He emphasised the availability of space to hire for conference and meeting rooms, and events, plus the use of the beautiful outside garden space. Then Shaun Gibson representing the Rotary Club of Cirencester, discussed how they and The Chamber could perhaps unite in supporting some community projects as well as inviting us to attend their meetings.

The main speaker was Lucy Cordrey, known locally as the Empress of Corinium Ales. Lucy gave us an insight into how the idea of her micro-brewery was conceived and the steps she took to make it a reality. She told how she had resisted would-be investors, as it was her baby and she wanted to grow it in her own way.  She believes in going steadily and thoroughly and consolidating before moving onward. In this way, Lucy, in conjunction with her partner Colin Knight (the Emperor), have produced a solid and popular business that continues to build on its own success. We all enjoyed this lively talk and the beer samples. Sadly, only one person could win the raffle of four bottles of Corinium Ale, and that was John from Mainstream Digital.

President Annemarie Thurgood and Vice President Adam Vines led a short brain storming session on issues in the town that members might want the Chamber to lobby on their behalf.  We await the results.

Breakfast Meeting 21st February

We met at Jesse Smiths on the Industrial Estate and were treated to a fabulous breakfast, but first we listened to a short talk by Guy from Aura Care who told us about Stratton Court, the luxury retirement community recently built in Cirencester to meet the needs of those who have the means and the desire to shape their own lives in later years. He also described the various facilities it opens to the public. He was followed by Luke Halsey, Entrepreneur in Residence at Farm 491, which is located above the Growth Hub Offices next to the RAU. Although locally educated at Deer Park School and Ciren College, Luke had worked in Silicon Valley for several years before returning to these shores (if a little reluctantly). He is using his experience to explore the role technology has to play in the future of British Farming.

After breakfast Georgina Shanly, Student Enterprise Co-Ordinator at the RAU, invited us to support the Youth Market in Cirencester on Wednesday March 20th. It will showcase the town’s budding entrepreneurs. If you are 30 or under and want to take part, please email