MANY businesses are having their best year for some time, the head of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has said.

The chamber’s chief executive, Ian Girling, said the mood among businesses was improving as he urged members to make their voices heard to help drive growth in the county.

Speakers at the DCCI Patrons’ Annual Dinner set out their hopes for the year ahead and called for the patrons to have their input as the voice of business in the county.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) director Lorna Gibbons, Dorset County Council economic development manager David Walsh and DCCI council member Ian Cambrook of Pidela Consulting, spoke to nearly 30 people at the event.

Mr Girling said: “The mood among businesses is very positive and many have had their best year for some time.

“Patrons are incredibly special to the chamber but are also incredibly important as business leaders, major employers, training providers and key drivers of the economy in Dorset.

“Now is the time to seize the opportunity to make our voices heard and have a direct impact on economic development over the next 12 months.”

Recruitment agency TeamJobs and global aerospace company Field International were welcomed as DCCI Gold Patrons at Les Bouviers Restaurant at Canford Magna.

They bring the number of patrons – companies in the top tier of chamber membership – to 18. There is one ‘premier partner’ – AFC Bournemouth.

Richard Marples, managing director of Field International, said: “We felt that patron status was appropriate for a company of our size and calibre but also to reflect the responsibility we take for helping to create jobs and prosperity in Dorset.”

Jason Gault, managing director of TeamJobs, said: “We are having our best year to date by some margin and we want to keep that momentum going.

“Now is the right time to enhance our support for the chamber and increase our profile.”

Both have been members for some time but decided to become gold patrons for the coming year.

Lester Aldridge solicitors has upgraded its patronage from bronze to gold, while Savills has upgraded from silver to gold.