Report from the Annual General Meeting – 12 May 2016

Eileen Wilson, retiring Chair: Events like the Fen Edge Festival provide the infrastructure that enables local groups to raise their own funds and to get themselves known to everyone in the Fen Edge. It also brings in funds to FECA for grants.

FECA made a number of awards in the past year. One to Cottenham Village College, to help with set up costs for the new SHINE programme, will have valuable benefits for the community through the community work undertaken by the students. Cottenham Theatre Workshop and Cottenham Village College now have new stage curtains in the hall. Smaller grants went to the Fen Edge Twinning Association for the French visit in May, Care Network Cambridgeshire who organised a Christmas lunch for older people at CVC and a Singing to Remember group for people with dementia at Landbeach Baptist church, and Busytots in Landbeach for a young children’s event. Proceeds from last year’s and this year’s Cottenham Fun Run went to Cottenham Primary School: for the year 5 Ukulele Project and to stock the new library with books.

The Committee: Eileen Wilson will remain on the committee, focusing on building up membership. This was the last meeting for Mick Saul, who has provided many years of service as Treasurer, both of FECA and the Fen Edge Family Festival. Bob Turner was elected as the new Treasurer. Caroline Dethridge and Rebecca Cole are standing down from the committee and were thanked for their contributions to the Festival and Cottenham Fun Run.

The Fen Edge Twinning Association. 55 people from Avrillé in the Loire valley arrived on Thursday 5th May. All went to London on Friday. Joined in the Fun Run on Saturday followed by a picnic at Landbeach. Ceilidh and supper at CVC Saturday evening with 125 people and a caller attempting to call in French. Resounding success. 2018 sees Avrillé celebrate the 20th anniversary of twinning with Cottenham, 30 years with its Spanish partner and 40 years with its German partner, with all four communities gathering in the Loire valley for the event.

The Fen Edge Footpath Group has had an active year with a recent trip to Youlgrave in the Peak district: 12 miles on the Saturday and 8 miles on the Sunday. It has organised a Summer School of Walking, and on Boxing Day it held a Holly Walk attended by 50 people.

The Rampton ‘77 Committee was set up in 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. In March 2016 the Committee won the South Cambridgeshire Community Award in the “Outstanding Local Service” category. The nomination reflects the hard work, not just of the current committee, but also past members and we are pleased to have been recognised in this way. Events include Tea on the Green, a June Summer Fair and a Seniors Christmas Dinner. The Rampton ‘77Committee has given out £3,000 in grants in the last five years.

Cottenham Theatre Workshop has organised two productions a year since 1977. Funds are invested back into room hire, curtains (they paid a third of the costs), sound system etc. New members are always welcome. This year’s pantomime will be the Wizard of Oz, end November/early December, at Cottenham Village College.

Janet Drinkwater, Adult and Family Learning Manager at Cottenham Village College, thanked FECA for grants for coffee mornings with Care Network Cambridgeshire, and a Christmas Lunch which led to regular Fitness for Mature Movers classes each term. There are now 18 members in the Cottenham group and 8 in the Waterbeach group, with Rampton and Willingham next in line. The sessions are subsidised and involve 1 hour of exercise and a cup of tea.

On the Adult Learning side, 55% of attendees come from outside the FECA villages. With Impington and Swavesey joining CVC in a combined advertising brochure, the courses now have a reach of 24,000 households rather than 7,500. Cottenham Village College attracts around 1,000 learners a year, some are returners, but the institution is thriving and always looking for new ideas.

Eillen Wilson