The British Venezuelan Society & Chamber of Commerce is the new name for the merged Anglo-Venezuelan and Scottish-Venezuelan Societies, an initiative focused on promoting British-Venezuelan interests and celebrating Venezuelan culture in Britain. For over 35 years the Society has been the leading forum in the United Kingdom for unbiased and informed discussion on Venezuelan issues, particularly those relating to British investment and trade.
Dialogue between business, individuals and official bodies of the two countries is a regular occurrence at corporate events and receptions organised by the Society on its own or in conjunction with its corporate members, the Venezuelan Embassy, UKTI and other organisations.
Alongside its UK-based Corporate membership, the Society also has approximately 100 individual members, largely Venezuelan professionals working in Britain, many of whom keep business links with Venezuela or have had personal associations with the country, often over many years. The Society's members actively support its business, cultural and charitable activities, which include an Annual Independence Day Dinner at which members and guests celebrate Venezuela's National Day, a Simon Bolivar Lecture, and concerts featuring Venezuelan and Latin American musicians and a Christmas Reception.
In pursuit of its charitable aims, the Society has raised monies at a variety of events, including the ALAF Fiesta, to support the Escuela Jenaro Aguirre (a primary school in Petare, a suburb of Caracas) and UK registered charities. More recently, money is regularly raised for Chamos (www.chamos.org.uk), a UK-registered charity set up to improve the living standards of the most deprived children in Venezuela across urban, rural or indigenous communities.
In 1976 the Anglo-Venezuelan Society (AVS) was established with the aim of promoting business and cultural links between the UK and Venezuela. The AVS became the UK's specialist forum of informed discussion on Venezuelan issues.
The Scottish Venezuelan Society was formed in 2007, from the evident need to highlight the importance of the wide cultural and business exchange between Scotland and Venezuela. More specifically, to support Dr Richard Holloway in the formation of Sistema Scotland (Big Noise), the Scottish version of the "El Sistema" youth orchestra movement.
The AVS and SVS forged close links over recent years, and in 2010 the decision was made to merge the two societies and form the British Venezuelan Society & Chamber of Commerce. The Society is an apolitical, non-profit, non-governmental, bilateral organisation with an emphasis on UK-Venezuela bilateral trade, investment and business, as well as social activities.