Autumn 2019 Chair’s Report

I am writing this report just after we have enjoyed the most spectacular Fen Edge Festival ever. Many people have spoken to me about the 2019 Festival with an obvious sense of pride in what the community achieved over the weekend. The variety and quality of the activities, the excellent organisation and the over-riding sense of goodwill and joy – these things do not happen by accident but reflect the extraordinary commitment of the organisers, volunteers, and participants to delivering a very special event. A big “thank you” too to all the sponsors without which it would not be possible. We can all feel very proud of the Festival and our community.

On behalf of the Fen Edge Community Association (FECA) I want to warmly congratulate the Organising Committee that was so ably led by Lucy Dumbrell. It was a great team. The Festival has evolved over the years and I was particularly proud of two new initiatives this year – the Friday afternoon tea and bingo for those of pensionable age that was laid on by the Cottenham Day Centre and the reusable cup scheme that was managed by Sustainable Cottenham. Two of our FECA member groups saw opportunities to make the Festival better, worked hard to deliver those and succeeded spectacularly. Over 140 people enjoyed the afternoon tea and we eliminated all single use plastic usage at the Marquee bar, the Venue and the Pimm’s tent. Very well done to both groups. It was a pleasure to see so many FECA member groups and associations actively involved in the Festival.

As in 2017, we offered the opportunity for FECA members to put themselves forward as direct beneficiaries of the Festival and this year the four selected groups are the Cottenham Tennis Club, Rampton Friday Club, Willingham Youth Trust and Sustainable Cottenham. They will share 50% of the overall surplus. Congratulations to those organisations and thank you for all the other applications we received. It is worth making a special mention of sponsorship (both in money and in kind). Sponsorship enables the events to be more accessible. This year sponsorship has enabled us to provide the afternoon tea to the over-65s on Friday without charge, limit the charge for riding on the hugely popular Carousel and the Total Wipeout to £1 per ride, provide free children’s entertainment shows and procure the reusable cups that eliminated single use plastics. Sponsorship also supported musical entertainment at the Venue and the Marquee on Saturday and Sunday without having to make any charge, enabled us to close the road and erect fencing for safety. It would not be the same Festival without sponsorship because families wanting to enjoy all the activities would find the weekend unaffordable and that would be a great shame. So thank you to the sponsors!

In May, we held the FECA AGM and it is gratifying to see how the association is also growing in numbers and impact. Our membership is now at 69*. This is creating some nice problems. Our members 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 and we have had to expand the number of pages to accommodate the additional information. Our grants increased this past year by over 50% to £10,117. We made 16 individual grants and I believe as FECA, we are making a very positive impact on our community. If you would like to get more involved in our work, please do contact me.

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association

* Welcome to new members: Waterbeach Cricket Club, Sustainable Cottenham, Cambridge Equine Assisted Learning, All Saints’ Church Rampton Action Group, Fen Edge Association for the Learning Disabled, The Cottenham Club and Cottenham Charities.