Charleville Chamber’s remit is to promote Charleville, the surrounding areas and also to help the local businesses grow in the area. We are a voluntarily organisation with all our board members giving their time voluntarily to help the town prosper.
We rely on our members to help contribute to the payment of marketing material to help promote the town. We cannot financially promote the town without their help.
This year we have been working on a number of projects such as attracting companies to the area, organising training programmes, events, arranging with the local enterprise office to come to Charleville to do one-to-one business information/guidance clinics, developing a new hashtag for the area and developing a promotional broacher.
We developed a number of promotional videos with the aim of attracting new companies to the town. The reasoning behind this is that the more companies located in the town, it will not only reduce the unemployment rate in the town but it will also benefit existing companies through increasing the amount of footfall in the town. These videos does not only help to promote Charleville as an ideal place to locate a business in but also promoted the business members that participated in these videos.
We organised a free one-to-one Facebook Clinic for business owners in the area in order to help them with their Facebook marketing and for them to find out what they should be doing on Facebook to create more awareness of their product/services offering.
Due to the high success of this clinic and the excellent feedback we received we arranged with the same Facebook Trainer to come back to Charleville and do a more in-depth Facebook Marketing Course. This was also a great success as everyone that attended the course learned something new and found it very beneficial.
We negotiated with the Local Enterprise Office to come to Charleville and do one-to-one clinics with different business owners that may have needed business advice, training needs or to find out what financial assistance was available to them.
We arranged a BBQ during the summer and this presented an ideal opportunity for businesses in Charleville and the surrounding area to meet in a social and convivial atmosphere. Businesses had the opportunity to make new and worthwhile contacts and as a consequence grow their business.
We helped organise and promote a traders night to discuss the Christmas Lights, where one of our board members arranged with the Fermoy Business Action group to attend on the night to discuss common issues and potential solutions. We would like to thanks Corina Gough for the free finger food that was supplied.
The Heritage Society presented its 4th event this year. This was set up to entice economic activity in the town. The benefits of promoting the towns heritage is gathering momentum and generating a lot of interest. A heritage map is being designed at present under the Charleville-Kilmallock REDZ Projects Initiative, and will be available from January 2016 as a hand out map and will be displayed in public.
We came up with a new hashtag for Charleville in order to differentiate ourselves from other towns with the same name such as the Charleville in France. The new hashtag is #CharlevilleIRL and this will allow us (Charleville) to be seen to the outside world. It is getting fantastic transaction to date with companies such as the Cork Greyhound Stadium using it and also Ayle Farm.
We launched this hashtag at the Charleville Show through having a social media competition. To enter this competition we asked people at the show to upload any pictures they had from the show to our Facebook or Twitter account, tell us why they Love Charleville with the hashtag #CharlevilleIRL so when people do click on the hashtag they would see pictures of the show and lovely comments about Charleville. This would spread awareness of Charleville, while also encouraging more people to the town. We had three brilliant prizes to encourage people to enter and these were kindly sponsored by Lee’s Centra, Llyods Pharmacy and Tir na Nogs Children’s Play Centre.
We wrote numerous blog articles weekly in regards to helping local businesses with their online marketing. The titles would include Facebook tools that can save you time, How to analyse the social media activity of your competitors and How to use SnapChat to market your business.
We have also wrote blog articles to promote different businesses in the area such as articles on New Leaf Health Food Store, Chic Boutique, Design & Craft Studio and Moran’s Menswear.
Other articles that were published through online platforms were promoting the opportunities that are available in Charleville to encourage more people to come back to the town, articles outlining the benefits Charleville has as a location and informing people of the latest projects that are happening in the town.
We have promoted and supported numerous businesses throughout the year through our own social media accounts (Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter), our website and through email marketing to make the greater Charleville area more aware what’s going on.
We have helped numerous businesses in the area from setting up their own social media presences to developing and conducting questionnaires for them, to increasing the search engine optimisation of their website such as Response Engineering.
We created a Chamber brochure this year with the aim of attracting new companies to the area and also listing all our business members to promote them. We distributed these out at The Charleville Show and around Charleville town itself. The brochure was designed perfectly thanks to Da Vinci Creative Designers.
Current and Future Projects
At present we are involved in numerous projects under the Charleville-Kilmallock REDZ Projects Initiative.
The Broadband Initiative where we have conducted a comprehensive feasibility study in Charleville and Kilmallock in order to ascertain the current and future internet requirements of business owners and households within the Charleville – Kilmallock Area. This information was gathered through a questionnaire survey, it was also used to find out the number of businesses and households willing to purchase / sign –up for high-speed broadband as this is a crucial factor as any telecoms company require a robust business case prior to committing to the installation of a high-speed broadband service. The result of this survey has proven that these two areas have inferior broadband infrastructure and now that we have a successful business case. The broadband infrastructure will be improved for both home and businesses use.
Clustering of Engineering Firms
Another project we are working on is the clustering of engineering firms within Charleville and Kilmallock which will allow engineering companies to work together more efficiently. This will give Charleville a more prestigious perception to outsiders by being the first town in Ireland to be utilising the clustering concept.
Map Projects / Walking Ways
A heritage map is being designed at present under the Charleville-Kilmallock REDZ Projects Initiative, and will be available from January 2016 in a handout format and will be displayed in public places in the town. This will not only encourage more visitors to explore our local heritage but it will also increase their tourists experience when they come to the town, which in turn will create positive word-of-mouth.
Other maps that will be developed in the near future are an amenities map (prompting different thing to do etc.) and a Greenway map which will outline scenic walking paths in the area. For example a scenic walking path along the railway line from Charleville to Limerick.
Walking trials will be properly marked in a loop style from the park in Charleville with a link to the Ballyhoura Way and also a cycle/walk trail between the town parks in Charleville and Kilmallock along quiet roads such as Effin.
We are undergoing the process of installing 10 pieces of fitness equipment that will be in the town park. This will help people to live a fit, active and healthy lifestyle. Take a look at Cobhs Outdoor Gym.
As you can see we as a Chamber have been very active throughout 2015 in prompting Charleville, the surrounding areas and also helping the existing businesses in the area in any way we can. We are a voluntarily organisation and from the array of work we have been doing, some would say where are they getting the time to do all this as well as run their own businesses. Everyone in the Chamber put great effort and long working hours in, in order to help the town prosper.
We will continue with our work throughout 2016 and in order to do this we will need the continuous support from our business members. If anyone in the area has any ideas to help promote the town and the businesses within please share them with us through any communications medium you prefer.