SO here we are, 2020 is over, and what a year it was.

I looked back at the column I wrote this time last year, and businesses were generally full of optimism for the start of a new year and a new decade, albeit partly tempered by the uncertainty of Brexit.

Little did we know what was ahead as a result of Covid. There is little point in me going back over all the detail, as we are all well aware of the issues and consequences, many of which are sadly ongoing.

So what of the future? The increase in Covid cases is a great concern for us all, both in terms of our personal wellbeing, and for our businesses, but the approval and rollout of vaccines does give us hope that it will eventually come to an end.

We do have a deal in place for our exit from the EU, and while I am sure there will be difficulties in some areas that must be taken as a big positive step.

As far as the Taunton Chamber is concerned then, as a result of all that has been going on we have had a very busy year, mainly helping with information to help businesses navigate the options for support.

This has been directed at our members but we have also made sure that non-members have been able to benefit from the information available.

The feedback that we have received has been very positive, and this has been proved by a steady increase in membership over the year from all sectors. A common comment has been that we have provided an easy and reliable source of relevant information.

It's the time of year when businesses reflect on achievements and progress, and this will vary greatly as they consider the effect of Covid on year-end figures and projections, but hopefully things will improve.

And so finally I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members and all businesses in Taunton a good New Year.

President of Taunton Chamber of Commerce