New Year 2021 | Chair’s Report

Neil Gough FECA ChairIt was with great sadness that we made the decision to postpone the 2021 Fen Edge Festival. I hope we will be able to run the event as normal in 2022. It would have been neither practical nor fair to ask the Committee to work on an event that is well beyond the parameters of what is currently allowed legally. I am very conscious that the decision will disappoint everyone who was looking forward to enjoying the weekend.

What is not so immediately obvious is that the postponement will also create problems for some of the charities and community organisations that have benefitted greatly from the fundraising opportunities that the Festival provides. In previous years, we estimate that the weekend generates towards £15,000 in surplus for all the organisations involved. For some organisations, it has been a key event in their fundraising cycle. The Festival also enables organisations to showcase their activities and get new people involved. Therefore, please do take the time to read the latest edition of the Fen Edge News and see what our organisations are doing. While many of them have modified how they operate, there is still a lot that they are doing and it is even more important that they are supported in their activities as much as possible.

The Fen Edge Community Association has continued to provide financial support to organisations that are working in the community. Sport and outdoor activity are increasingly precious and vital for our young people and we have helped the Cottenham Colts to purchase floodlights for winter training sessions. It is considerably easier to play football when you can see the ball! On a similar basis that it is difficult to play bowls on long grass, FECA also contributed to a new mower for the Bowls Club in Willingham. We are delighted to have been able to help both groups.

I am particularly pleased that we were able to make a very significant contribution to the new audio-visual equipment at Cottenham Village College (CVC). This will also be able to be used by community groups such as Cottenham Theatre Workshop. I believe that this is the largest grant that FECA has made and reflects the core part that CVC can play in the community. FECA is a central part of the founding ethos of the village colleges and our area of activity matches the catchment area for CVC. In the past few years, the connection between FECA and CVC has not been as strong as it could have been, but I am very pleased that with the new management team at CVC we have re-energised the relationship and I am hopeful that we will be able to build on this in the future.

As this is the last update before the Christmas and New Year holidays, on behalf of FECA, I would like to wish you all as much of a festive time as the rules permit. It has been a challenging year but one of the lessons from it has been the important role of community in our lives. We have learned that community spirit and activism is very strong in our villages and we should all be very proud and pleased to be part of that. I would particularly like to thank all of the leaders and volunteers of our charities and community groups for the work that they do and have done over the past year. It has not been easy to keep these groups going through Covid times but never have they been so important. Please keep up the good work.

We wish you and your family a very happy holiday and hopefully we can all look forward to a less eventful 2021.

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association