A TOWN councillor for Chirk is setting up a chamber of commerce for businesses within the town to help them through difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Gareth Baines is looking to put together the group to support businesses and give them a voice.

He thought up the idea before the two week fire break lockdown was imposed in Wales, with the belief that it could help a range of businesses in the area.

“It’s just an idea at the moment, but any business, whether they’re self-employed or a well-established firm, are welcome to join and bring forward ideas,” said cllr Baines.

“It’s just a way to channel their voices and help each other out.

“It would be nice to give them all a bit of a focal point and hopefully start to create more of a dialogue between local businesses here and the minister.

“It is the case for some chambers of commerce that businesses have to pay to become a part of – but this would be free.

“It will be impartial and non-political and will aim to give our businesses a collective voice.”

The councillor said he has been contacted by owners of several businesses based in the area who feel the financial support on offer for the duration of the two week fire break lockdown is insufficient.

He admits that, going forward, he hopes more support will be made available for local businesses to help them survive beyond the lockdown and the pandemic which continues to impact the region.

Cllr Baines added: “A lot of businesses feel the support being offered to them during the pandemic is not really sufficient.

“In my inbox since I announced the idea on Monday, I have had between 250 and 300 emails, messages and phone calls.

“I’ve had small business owners on the phone in tears saying they don’t think they’ll be able to survive the two week lockdown with the support currently on offer.

“I don’t think the level of support that is on offer is anywhere near generous enough.”

Although support is available through a North Wales-wide chamber of commerce, the councillor believes a group which solely focused on Chirk would be more beneficial and could offer more tailored support for local needs.

Cllr Baines added: “The North Wales [chamber of commerce], in my experience, tends to focus more so on tourism – and rightly so.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of the economy in north Wales as a whole, but for places like Chirk, which are quite unique in terms of its industrial background and heritage, concerns can sometimes be different.”