BELFAST CHAMBER ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT
Gavin Annon has been elected to serve as the new Belfast Chamber President at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting which was held in BT’s Riverside Tower.
Sales and Marketing Director at family firm The Mount Charles Group, Gavin follows Alana Coyle in heading up the 111 year old business organisation which represents close to 1,000 businesses in the city.
Commenting upon being elected to the post of President, Gavin Annon said, “I am absolutely honoured to become the new President of Belfast Chamber. Belfast Chamber is an iconic institution, but it’s also more than that. Belfast Chamber is a movement. It has a duty to our members to help make Belfast world class by applying positive pressure to our partners in government to produce results. Belfast Chamber has a dynamic insight into the challenges our city faces but most importantly, it sees the huge potential we have on a global scale.
I recently came across a quote which I think is a true reflection of Belfast. “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it”.
Belfast has been through one of the most remarkable journeys of its time including the Troubles, riots, protests, city centre fires and a pandemic thrown into the mix, and that’s just to name a few. But today, we are that kite, rising high against the wind, and our future can see us fly even higher.
Belfast Chamber has been actively leading the debate on how our city should develop and grow, and our next chapter will see us focussing on 3 key pillars namely;
- Making Belfast an affordable and accessible city to live;
- Making Belfast a viable and exciting place to do business; and
- Making Belfast an enjoyable and desirable city to visit time and time again.
These are the essential building blocks of a successful city. Belfast is doing well but we also need to do better”.
Reflecting on some of the challenges facing the city, Gavin Annon added, “Walking through Belfast on a daily basis, I see a beautiful city. However, it’s no hidden secret that there are challenges. The cleanliness of the city has come under scrutiny. Progress has been made in the past year – much of it as a result of pressure applied by Belfast Chamber – but we must ensure that standards are maintained and that we work hard to present our city in a proud and polished manner.
Similarly, I know that concerns exist about safety in some parts of the city centre. Belfast may well be one of the safest cities in the UK, but it isn’t good enough though to say ‘other cities are worse’. There’s some outstanding work being doing by statutory agencies and charitable organisations with vulnerable people who need help. That work needs to be supported and supported with additional resources, and Belfast Chamber will continue to work with those groups to do what we can to assist them in making Belfast as safe a city as possible.
The city has endured many challenges over the last number of years, not least the pandemic, and we are still living with many of its aftereffects. It’s been hugely encouraging to see some vacant retail units becoming occupied by new brands and the repurposing of many buildings to new uses. However, we still have some distance to travel on our regeneration journey. Earlier this week, our ‘Moving Belfast Forward’ report was launched. It contains a series of recommendations aimed at speeding up regeneration and making Belfast even more investible. Working with City Hall and a, hopefully, soon to be restored Stormont, to implement our suggested changes will be a priority for Belfast Chamber over the coming year”.