Rustington’s Chamber of Trade and Commerce has celebrated its 60th anniversary by launching a business award.
At the 60th anniversary of the chamber on August 8, which was held at the Samuel Wickens Centre in Rustington, Mr Cooper and his wife Alison, who run Clipper Street Barbers in the village, announced a business award for Rustington.
They donated a new trophy, and Store Property Investments – the major landlord for the village centre – offered an annual prize of £1,000 for the winner.
Mr Cooper said: “I couldn’t believe we had not thought of it before. It is good for businesses to get the recognition they deserve.”
The award is open to members of the chamber, which is in the process of a recruitment drive.
One of its goals is to secure the long-term future of the village Christmas lights display, which encountered a setback.
Andy Cooper is chairman of the chamber, which funds the lights.
He said that SSE Southern Electric – which itself is funded by West Sussex County Council to set up Christmas lights displays across the county – has told the chamber to install low-level posts that cables to light the trees can be run through rather than lamp posts, which were historically used.
The cost of this has been absorbed by the chamber, and the lights will be on as usual come winter, following the innaugural switch-on event last year which was a big success.
But Mr Cooper said the funds from more members signing up to the chamber would be a welcome side-effect in recouping these costs. He said: “We don’t expect a great deal from members, and to join it is only £40. We want to help keep Rustington a vibrant area. It would be lovely to get more people on board.”
Mr Cooper joined the chamber around 2000. Now, it has 54 members and represents almost 200 businesses in Rustington and beyond. He said: “Even though it has gone through many evolutions in the last 20 years, the village still has a positive vibe.
“We are very fortunate that the village is as good as it is, and we are fortunate to have Store Properties as the major landlord and for our relationship with the parish council, who are always working with us.
“I’m fortunate enough as chairman of the chamber to have a fantastic committee around me who are proactive and want to get involved, because without them, we would have nothing.
“The village still attracts people from the greater area and all the major banks, which is a good sign for Rustington and long may that continue.”