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Exeter Chamber has announced the appointment of three new board members to contribute to the leadership and strategic direction of the region’s foremost business membership organisation.  Steve Gates, managing director of Taking Care; Matthew Cousins, commercial director at Apex Scaffolding, Exeter and James Court, NatWest Local Enterprise Manager for Devon and Cornwall will each bring their own expertise and skills to the Board.

Steve Gates joined Taking Care in 2019. Part of AXA Health, the organization is the UK’s largest provider of personal alarms to vulnerable and elderly customers providing 24/7 cover to their customers via three Emergency Resolution Centres in Exeter, Ashburton and Chichester. Taking Care has provided services from Devon for over thirty years, dealing with around 2,500 emergency calls per day and supporting over 180,000 people to live an independent life while remaining in their own home. Previously Steve worked at BUPA and Denplan and was both a Vice-President of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the local Chamber committee in Winchester for 5 years. Steve is a Chartered Director and is a previous holder of the Best Leader award from the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Matthew Cousins is commercial director at Apex Scaffolding, Exeter, having started with the company as an apprentice. Award winning Apex Scaffolding works with blue chip companies including local, national and international contractors in Exeter and the South West.  Matthew plays an active role in both the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation as the Chair of the Contracts Committee and sits on the National Council. He is also the chair of Building Greater Exeter, an organisation which provides support to construction industry across Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge, running effective engagement programmes with schools and young people to inspire the next generation of construction specialists.

James Court works closely with the local business community to provide support for SMEs. His #NatWestBoost events won the Exeter Living Award in 2020 for Business Services and have created a community where business owners can network and be inspired. He works closely with local organisations, providing 1-1 coaching and delivers the fully funded NatWest Business Builder Programme, designed to help entrepreneurs and businesses looking to develop their skills and scale-up. He has over 20 years business banking experience, working with start-ups to corporate sized businesses. He writes a column for Exeter GROW magazine and is passionate about Exeter and helping people and businesses to succeed and thrive.

Clodagh Murphy, chair, Exeter Chamber says, “The Chamber board is delighted to welcome our new Board members who brings strong local and national business experience. Their particular focus on the social care sector, construction and SMEs are all key for the region and of particular significance in the current climate. Steve, Matthew and James complement the rest of the board team well and will help us to continue to support members and their businesses.” 

The Exeter Chamber board is made up of 14 professionals representing key industries including retail, hospitality, health, education, finance, media, legal, transport, manufacturing, skills, recruitment, property and science and technology.

For more information about Exeter Chamber visit