Annual General Meeting – 24 May 2018

Dear Members

In my report of last year as Chair of the Fen Edge Community Association (FECA) I set out three main priorities – to expand membership, to increase grant making and to increase the number of events we support. I would like to extend my thanks to the Committee for all their work over the past year in making this happen.

At this time last year, our membership had increased to 48 groups (from 37 the previous year); it is now 53.  We want to do even better by more clearly demonstrating and extending the benefits of membership but the Association is clearly thriving.

Our grant making commitments increased by nearly 50% from £4,350 in 2016/17 to £6,498 in 2017/18.  In addition, we have promised, but not paid out, other grants exceeding £4,000. We have had some great successes in terms of promoting community participation in activities, helping organisations promote their events and enabling the purchase of equipment and resources.  However, we still have the resources to support you. Over the year, we have supported fifteen deserving causes with one-off grants from £50 to £850 to make things happen. We typically will give grants that cover something up to 50% of the cost of a piece of equipment (depending on how expensive it is) or make a contribution to travel costs or an event.

The Fen Edge News (FEN) has gone from strength to strength and continues to be a key source of funds for FECA.  Last year saw the publication of the 100th issue. It is now more informative and residents really want to receive it.  Wendy Dear stepped down as Editor last year and we are really pleased that Adrian Stephens has taken over.  I wish him every success.

Paul Knighton also stepped in as Secretary during the year and I express my thanks on behalf of the Committee for his contribution to keeping the show on the road.

2017 was a Fen Edge Festival (FEF) year and that always dominates the agenda.  The Festival Committee delivered another spectacular event. It is pleasing that the Committee comprises a number of new faces as well some experienced volunteers who bring much needed knowledge to the table.   I would like to thank them all for their efforts. It was a particularly good team and I hope that many of them will agree to continue to be involved for the 2019 event.  The planning for that will start in the autumn of this year – how time flies! We are always looking for volunteers to join the Festival Committee – it is very rewarding (and fun) – if you are interested, please let me know.

The Fen Edge Festival  provides a platform for FECA members to build awareness of their activities and raise their own funds. The Festival provided a vehicle for FECA and its member organisations to raise over £10,000.  At the same time, the Festival was a great civic event – a weekend of fun that was enjoyed by hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

Looking forward to the rest of 2018, there are a number of priorities.

We would like to continue to expand membership and our grant-making as we do have the resources to do more.  Our reserves are still healthy.

Secondly, we would also like to expand the activities that we get involved in.  We would like to do more in all the villages.  This is an area where I think there is still so much potential.  If any organisations would like to talk to us about putting on a public event, we would be delighted to discuss the opportunity to support you with financial and people resources.

You, the member organisations are the heart of FECA; 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 contributions to the community over the last year.

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association