In my tenure as Chair of the Fen Edge Community Association (FECA) we have had three objectives – to expand membership, to increase grant making and to increase the number of events we support.
At this time last year, our membership had increased from 48 to 53 groups; it now stands at 63 groups. This is creating some nice problems. Our member groups are producing more information that residents want to read and this in turn attracts more advertisers. Consequently, the Fen Edge News goes from strength to strength under the editorship of Adrian Stephens and the business oversight of Bob Turner. We have had to expand the number of pages to accommodate the information and the additional advertising demand. The Fen Edge News is a more significant source of income for us than the Fen Edge Festival.
The Fen Edge website has also had an extensive refresh. Thanks to Adrian Stephens these improvements now mean that we have a better platform for members to make announcements and promote their activities.
I am pleased that our total grants have increased this past year by over 50% last year to £10,117. We made 16 individual grants. We are now providing grants at a level that approximately matches our surplus income and is more than double the value we made two years ago. I believe we are having a very positive impact on our community.
I want to express my thanks to the Committee for their contributions in the last year.
I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Martyn Leeks who has been instrumental in organising the Cottenham Fun Run year after year. Martyn is organising Fun Run this year for the final time after which he will pass the responsibility on. This is a great event that is very well supported by the community and also raises a significant sum – last year over £1,000 was raised for the Cambridgeshire branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Thanks to the FECA groups that supported the event with a stall.
This is Fen Edge Festival (FEF) year and that always dominates the work of the Association, including many of the members. The Festival Committee is being ably led by Lucy Dumbrell with a fabulous group that comprises some experienced helpers and some new faces. I am sure they will deliver a great event and I hope that many of you will be involved in the 2019 event.
The Festival provides a platform for FECA members to build awareness of their activities and raise their own funds. The last Festival raised almost £10,000 for FECA and its member groups.
There are a number of ways for members to get involved in the Festival. Firstly, to run an activity to promote your group, or to raise funds, or both. Secondly, we have a number of fun activities that FECA can offer for groups to run and raise money for FECA and their organisation. If you provide the helpers, we will provide the equipment.
Also, as in 2017, we are offering the opportunity for FECA members to put themselves forward as direct beneficiaries of the Festival – we will again be allocating 50% of the overall surplus to these projects. If you have a specific piece of equipment or project you need funds for and would like to propose, then please apply. The recent email from Lucy Dumbrell highlights the process and applications must be in by 7th May. In 2017, each group received £600. I look forward to announcing the four beneficiaries when we meet at the AGM on 16th May.
Looking forward to the rest of 2019, there are a number of things we need to do. We would like to continue to build our membership and profile in the community. One major focus will be our Constitution which hasn’t been updated since the Association was formed in 1985 and needs an overhaul. This will not be a simple task but I hope by next year’s AGM we will have adopted a new Constitution.
We are very grateful for your support and are really interested in hearing your ideas as to how to make the Association more productive and useful in supporting your work.
Thank you for all your contributions to the community over the last year. I would welcome any questions, comments and contributions from members who want to explain to other groups what they are doing and how they have used FECA funding.
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association