Annual General Meeting 2020 | Chair’s Report

Dear Members,

We hope you and your organisations are keeping safe and well. We recognise that this is an immensely frustrating and potentially difficult time for community groups and associations but we also know the importance of our groups in keeping people connected and when things get back to something like normality our groups will have an especially important role to play.

We always look forward to the “even numbered years” as being a more restful and less anxious time for the Fen Edge Community Association (FECA). No Festival. No concerns about the weather forecast for the June weekend. It is not to be as 2020 has proved to be an extraordinary year so far. There are disappointments for sure. The Fun Run into which Mark Hurworth and team put so much effort had to be cancelled. The Spring edition of the Fen Edge News did not get delivered to every household. The progress on the major grant to the Village College for a new audio-visual system has had to be put on hold. However, in amongst these trying times, the Community Association has also shown its worth.

FECA has paid for a Zoom account that can be used by Member organisations for online meetings and we are using it for this Annual General Meeting. Please contact Neil Gough if you wish to be able to use it for your organisation. We used the delivery network for the Fen Edge News run by the Cottenham Scouts to deliver leaflets on behalf of the Cottenham Covid-19 support group. Some remarkable creativity by our Treasurer successfully repurposed the Fun Run entry site into a kitty system to support the Cottenham and Willingham Covid-19 support groups shopping for vulnerable and self-isolating individuals and families. FECA has also provided financial support to underpin the kitty system.

The year ahead will obviously produce some challenges as we try to ensure that community groups and charities get back up to speed as effectively as possible. We have decided to automatically extend all memberships to the end of June at no cost in recognition of the current situation. We hope that 2021 will see the reappearance of the Fen Edge Festival – if things are back to normal, I think it may be some event and an important opportunity for community groups to re-establish momentum. We have already fielded enquiries about the dates!

Looking back, the year has been satisfying as we have again grown our membership. We now have 69 member organisations (which compares to 61 this time last year).

Organisations join because there is a reason to do so. Those reasons depend on the ongoing work of the Committee to whom we should all be very grateful. The work on the Fen Edge News, Facebook pages and website means that FECA is able to promote Member’s activities and provide useful information to the community. We are very pleased to be able to support a number of groups and charities with grants this year. We have funded grants with a value of £8,462 (which compares to £10,117 last year). We finish the year with strong reserves of £60,604. The Covid-19 lock-down has had a negative impact on advertising revenues from the Fen Edge News as we compensated advertisers for the partial delivery of the Spring issue. There will also be a deferral of membership income but through our reserves we will be able to absorb these pressures.

We are also asking you to vote at this AGM on a new Constitution. This is an important step for FECA. The organisation has grown to be a sizeable entity with significant financial resources that also organises some large-scale events. The old Constitution needed to be updated to provide greater clarity on the appointment of Trustees, governance and decision-making. We hope it will be approved at this meeting so that next year’s meeting will operate under the new Constitution.

Lastly, I want to express my thanks for the support of the Committee. It is a very effective team and I hope that the forthcoming year will see us getting back in gear.

Thank you for your support.

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association