I assumed the role of Chairman of the Fen Edge Community Association (FECA) following the AGM last year. I would like to extend my thanks to the Committee for all their work over the past year. Our first priority has been to maintain momentum in terms of membership, grant-making, revenue-raising and activities.
I believe we have made progress. At this time last year, our group membership was 37; it is now 48. We want to do even better by more clearly demonstrating and extending the benefits of membership. During the year, we have negotiated new room rates for member organisations using Cottenham Village College. We have also purchased a marquee that is available for hire at very generous rates to member organisations.
Our grant making commitments increased from £3,116 in 2015/16 to £4,350 in 2016/17. We have had some great successes in terms of enabling community participation in activities, helping organisations promote their events, enabling the purchase of equipment and resources. However, we still have the resources to do more and are keen to encourage more members to come to us for financial help.
The main source of revenue in 2016 was the Fen Edge News (FEN) which has gone from strength to strength under the stewardship of Wendy Dear. Wendy Dear decided that the latest issue of the FEN was to be her last and she has stepped down as Editor. She has done a fantastic job over the past four years and her enthusiasm will be sorely missed. It goes without saying that we are looking for a new Editor – please get in touch if you are interested.
Rosalie Dunnico also stepped down as Secretary during the year and the Committee expressed their thanks and appreciation for the great support Rosalie has given to FECA over many years.
2017 is a Fen Edge Festival (FEF) year and that always dominates the agenda. The Festival Committee is working very well and is on track to deliver another spectacular event. It is pleasing that the Committee comprises a number of new faces and some experienced volunteers who can bring much needed knowledge to the table. I would like to thank them all for their efforts so far! We still have much to do but much of the difficult work has been done.
I am really pleased that we continue to enjoy great support from local businesses and organisations. Companies such as Malary, Cambridge Glassblowing, Voland, Guiseppe Piran, Amey-Cespa and Durman Stearn and Cottenham Parish Council have provided great support over several years. These organisations should be warmly thanked for supporting FECA and the community.
It is great to see new sponsors coming in such as Airport Lynx, Haart and Harradine. We have also tapped into sponsorship from sources outside of the Fen Edge such as Tesco, Mick George and Aviva.
The FEF provides the infrastructure that enables local groups to raise their own funds and to get themselves known. However, it is also an event that costs a lot of money to put on. I am really pleased that for the 2017 FEF we have standardised arrangements for fund-raising by FECA members so that all organisations are operating on the same basis. We also approached the members for proposals and selected four FECA organisations to be the main causes that will benefit from the FEF surplus – 50% of the surplus will be divided between these four worthy causes. We deliberately selected organisations that represented three of the Fen Edge Villages.
Looking forward to the rest of 2017, there are a number of priorities.
Firstly, we would like to continue to expand membership and our grant-making as we do have the resources to do more. We are also building a lot of experience in tapping into funding from other sources that we would like to share with FECA members.
Secondly, we would also like to expand the activities that we get involved in. We were very pleased to be able to support the Willingham It’s a Knock-Out event and the Cottenham Fun Run. We would like to do more in all the villages.
Most important is that we continue to help the members. We are very grateful for your support and are really interested in hearing your ideas as to how to make the organisation more productive and useful in supporting your work.
Thank you for all your support over the last year.
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association