Chairmans Report

Volunteers – A Force for Good

2018 is now well underway and it got off to the best start possible with Adrian Stephens joining the Fen Edge Community Association (FECA) team as Editor of the Fen Edge News. I would like to extend the warmest welcome to Adrian and I hope he gets great pleasure from the work ahead.

The Fen Edge Community Association and our 50 plus member organisations depend on the Rampton '77 Committee Grant from Fen Edge Community Associationcommitment and enthusiasm of volunteers to make anything happen. There was no clearer demonstration of that than when I went along to the Rampton ’77 Committee event in January. The Rampton Village Hall was absolutely buzzing and it was so clearly an event that the community looked forward to and were really so excited about. But behind every club, every meeting, every event are volunteers and, in this case, it was clear that Judy Garstang, Sue Palmer and their team had put in a great effort to pull the event together. Well done to them.

I know the work of all volunteers is really appreciated by everyone involved and I know that they themselves get satisfaction from their contributions too. But we should not forget that the people who volunteer are also busy people with work, personal and family commitments. The only difference is that when asked to help, these people say “yes!”

FECA supports organisations with grants but the financial support is often the easiest part of the equation. What FECA cannot supply is the people who commit their time and energy to the individual community associations and charitable organisations. The FECA grants we provide are to support the community but I also think of the grants as a way of supporting the volunteers. It is a way of saying “well done” and “thank you” for their efforts and if we can help to take some of the burden of fundraising away, then hopefully the volunteers will be able to focus more time on making the event itself a success.

Our community is a much better place for the work of the charities and community associations and we are greatly indebted to them. I hope that in 2018, FECA will be able to support more groups, more activities and hopefully inspire more people to come forward and volunteer some of their time. Local charities and community organisations strengthen our communities and make our villages even better places in which to live, work and study. Please see the this website for a list of the Clubs, Groups and Societies in the Fen Edge and please do take the initiative to contact them to see how you might be able to get involved as a participant or volunteer.

The May Bank Holiday will see two major activities supported by FECA. The Cottenham 7k Fun Run will set off on Saturday May 5th and is being organised by Martyn Leeks and his team of helpers. Please support that event – more runners equals more fun. That weekend will also see the Fen Edge Twinning Association heading off to France for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the twinning arrangement with Avrillé. A ceilidh band will be travelling with them and we wish them safe travels and hope they have a lot of fun. As FECA, we have subsidised the transportation costs to enable as many people as
possible to travel. Once again, we are delighted to be able to support the work of the volunteers who are making this happen.

If you wish to start a new group, please get in contact. We would be delighted to help and share our knowledge.

Very best wishes
Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association

Fen Edge Festival Report

Once again, we enjoyed a memorable weekend of music, food and activities and the weather was kind to us. I believe that the Festival represents all that is good about village life – a very spirited and dedicated group of people come together to deliver this very special event. Consequently, there are a lot of people who were involved who need to be thanked.

The Festival Organising Committee was a great team. These are the people that really make the event happen. The Committee comprised Lucy Dumbrell, Bob Turner, Tom Wykes, Paul Knighton, Linda Cockburn, Peter Haigh, Simon Bye, Paul Mappledoram, Will Stockford, Eileen Wilson and Alex Wilson.

In addition, we also had over 100 volunteers. It is easy to miss the role they play in making the event run smoothly and safely. Thank you to all of you who volunteered. The roll of honour is Graham and Sue Arnold, Louise Augarde, Kathryn Aybak, Richard Blakesley, Tricia Bradley, Marielle and Andy Burgess, Tim and Sara Bustin, Rex Collinson, Louise Cooke, Julian Cooper, Martin and Annabel Croxon, Wendy Dear, Tim Fowler, Liz Gander, Lorraine Goodridge, Alice Gough, Richard Gymer, Frances Halls, Jane Hill, Marie-Claire Hiscock, Charles and Charlotte Hobley, Gaynor Hollander, Noel Hughes, Helen Hurworth, Rebecca Izzard, Sonia Jaczyk, Lin Joyner, Mike Kaloo, Alison and Phil Jones, Sue Kidby, Caroline Knighton, Caroline Lee, Trudy Lee, Harry Lee, Andrew Lee, Alan Leeks, Martyn Leeks, Deborah Loveluck, Linda Lloyd, Pam and Mick Lumsden, Richard May, Justin McCann, Rebecca Molloy, Emma Morel, Eddie and Karin Murphy, Monica and Damyn Musgrave, Mark Nolan, Matthew and Caroline Palmer, Nick Parker, Pri Pinnaduwa, Hannah Piran, Diane, Andy and Nicola Pledger, Cilla Reid, Carol Robinson, Irene and Bruce Robjent, Doug Robson, Andrea and Oliver Sabbatini, Melanie and Rob Sanders, Ben Shimmens, Rachel and Phil Shore, Mike and Sue Smith, Andrew and Catherine Snelson, Leon Stone, Beth Stevens, Shirley and Ian Stuchbury, Jenny Swindell, Bruce and Jane Hutchison, Andrea Cramp, Simon Thomas, Danielle Tompkins. Cecilia Tredgett, Yvonne Walsh, Dani Wykes and the numerous ATC Cadets. My sincere apologies if you helped but your name was not included – thank you all the same.

Fen Edge Festival Programme 2017We received invaluable financial support from sponsors. Particular thanks go to Cottenham Parish Council and the team there who not only sponsored the event but also enabled us to use the Village Green and ensured it was perfectly prepared. Thanks also to Cottenham Village College who also allowed us to use its grounds and facilities. Our sponsors were Malary, Durman Stearn, Giuseppe Piran, Voland Roofing, Cambridge Glassblowing, BV Services, Lynx Autocare, S.H. Harradine, The Curry Palace, Amey Cespa, Aviva, Steve Davies Creative, Travis Perkins, Haart, Tesco, Dentons Carpets, Fellows Brewery, B&C Motors, Screens & Graphics, Cambridge Building Society and Polarglaze. We use the financial support to ensure that the main events are free (like the evening concerts, junior disco and children’s entertainment) or subsidised (like the mini golf and the helter-skelter).

The final accounts for the event are as follows:

Sponsorship £11,827
Stalls £6,805
Profit from Food & Drink £2,964
Fundraising from Misc. Activities £2,141
Total Income  £23,737
Facilities £9,751
Free/Subsidised events £3,422
Entertainment £1,946
Marketing and Sundries £2,665
Total Expenditure £17,784
Total Surplus  £5,953


Of this surplus, £3,794 was passed on immediately to Fen Edge Community Association (FECA) member organisations and the balance retained by FECA for future grants to other organisations. The main beneficiaries from the Festival were Ladybird Pre-school, Firs House and Telegraph Street Patient Participation Group, Willingham Youth Trust and the Landbeach Tithe Barn Trust. Including the additional amounts raised directly by FECA member organisations over the weekend, that means nearly £10,000 was raised for charities and community organisations in the Fen Edge.

So finally, thanks to all of you who attended. I hope you enjoyed it and see you in 2019!

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association

Annual General Meeting – 11 May 2017

Dear Members

I assumed the role of Chairman of the Fen Edge Community Association (FECA) following the AGM last year.  I would like to extend my thanks to the Committee for all their work over the past year. Our first priority has been to maintain momentum in terms of membership, grant-making, revenue-raising and activities.

I believe we have made progress.  At this time last year, our group membership was 37; it is now 48.  We want to do even better by more clearly demonstrating and extending the benefits of membership.  During the year, we have negotiated new room rates for member organisations using Cottenham Village College.  We have also purchased a marquee that is available for hire at very generous rates to member organisations.

Our grant making commitments increased from £3,116 in 2015/16 to £4,350 in 2016/17.  We have had some great successes in terms of enabling community participation in activities, helping organisations promote their events, enabling the purchase of equipment and resources.  However, we still have the resources to do more and are keen to encourage more members to come to us for financial help.

The main source of revenue in 2016 was the Fen Edge News (FEN) which has gone from strength to strength under the stewardship of Wendy Dear. Wendy Dear decided that the latest issue of the FEN was to be her last and she has stepped down as Editor. She has done a fantastic job over the past four years and her enthusiasm will be sorely missed.  It goes without saying that we are looking for a new Editor – please get in touch if you are interested.

Rosalie Dunnico also stepped down as Secretary during the year and the Committee expressed their thanks and appreciation for the great support Rosalie has given to FECA over many years.

2017 is a Fen Edge Festival (FEF) year and that always dominates the agenda.  The Festival Committee is working very well and is on track to deliver another spectacular event. It is pleasing that the Committee comprises a number of new faces and some experienced volunteers who can bring much needed knowledge to the table.   I would like to thank them all for their efforts so far!  We still have much to do but much of the difficult work has been done.

I am really pleased that we continue to enjoy great support from local businesses and organisations.  Companies such as Malary, Cambridge Glassblowing, Voland, Guiseppe Piran, Amey-Cespa and Durman Stearn and Cottenham Parish Council have provided great support over several years.  These organisations should be warmly thanked for supporting FECA and the community.

It is great to see new sponsors coming in such as Airport Lynx, Haart and Harradine. We have also tapped into sponsorship from sources outside of the Fen Edge such as Tesco, Mick George and Aviva.

The FEF provides the infrastructure that enables local groups to raise their own funds and to get themselves known. However, it is also an event that costs a lot of money to put on.  I am really pleased that for the 2017 FEF we have standardised arrangements for fund-raising by FECA members so that all organisations are operating on the same basis.  We also approached the members for proposals and selected four FECA organisations to be the main causes that will benefit from the FEF surplus – 50% of the surplus will be divided between these four worthy causes.  We deliberately selected organisations that represented three of the Fen Edge Villages.

Looking forward to the rest of 2017, there are a number of priorities.

Firstly, we would like to continue to expand membership and our grant-making as we do have the resources to do more. We are also building a lot of experience in tapping into funding from other sources that we would like to share with FECA members.

Secondly, we would also like to expand the activities that we get involved in.  We were very pleased to be able to support the Willingham It’s a Knock-Out event and the Cottenham Fun Run.  We would like to do more in all the villages.

Most important is that we continue to help the members.  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 support over the last year.

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association

Fen Edge Festival 2017

It’s fun-filled, it’s exciting, it’s exhausting, it showcases the Fen Edge villages at their finest – and… it’s back! The Fen Edge Festival will be held in Cottenham between Friday 23 June and Sunday 25 June 2017.

Fen Edge Festival 2017Our aim is simple – to create a fabulous event for everyone to enjoy, from pre-schoolers and teens to the over 60’s. We promise you a great mix of good music, food, drink, dancing, entertainment and fun and laughter that has made the Festival the event in the Fen Edge calendar.

If your organisation would like to join the Fen Edge Community Association and raise both money and your profile at the Festival, then please get in touch. If you, or your group, would like to run a stall please let us know and we are also keen to hear from local businesses that would like to be involved in sponsorship or running an activity.

The organising team always welcomes more help so if you want to join us please drop me an email to or call me on 07919 990299.  Come on, get involved and make the 2017 Fen Edge Festival an event to remember!

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association

An update on our plans for the next 12 months

The focus of the Fen Edge Community Association is promoting and supporting local groups. We now have over 40 member organisations. Over the summer several of them have successfully applied for funding including Willingham Action Group, Cottenham Primary School PTCA and Tyrannochorus. You can read more about the support we have given to these, and other groups, on the Home page.

If your group has a project in mind then please come to us with a plan.  This might be support for an event, a piece of equipment or an activity involving the community.  If you have the desire to get something going we can supply some assistance – including financial – to help make it happen. Simply complete and submit our Grant Application Form. And if your group wants to publicise an event you are planning don’t forget to let FECA know so we can feature it on our website and popular Facebook page – 120 Likes but we always like more!

Talking of events a new way we can now help you is with Marquee Hire. FECA has a brand new marquee (6m x 12m) for hire by members. The rate is very low (a fraction of commercial rates) so if you are interested in making a booking please get in touch and I can tell you more.  It would be great for an event on a Village Green.

Another member benefit is reduced rate room hire when using facilities at Cottenham Village College.  We have successfully sought new discounted rates for member organisations. Please take advantage of these rates for your meetings.

The next Fen Edge Festival will be held in Cottenham between 23 and 25 June 2017. Please do put the dates in your diary and let your members know. In 2015 lots of FECA member organisations ran a stall and/or an activity to raise valuable funds for their group. I hope you will want to be part of this tremendously successful community event, the seventh, next year.

It was good to see a number of member organisations represented at our AGM in May. FECA has trustees and a committee and if you are willing to help us reach an even broader range of the community please drop me an email to or call me on 07919 990299.

Lastly, I am happy to hear from you on any ideas you have for improving FECA or expanding its activities.  Please do get in touch.

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association

The future starts here

As the new Chair of the Fen Edge Community Association, I am really looking forward to working with the Committee in taking the Association forward. I live in Cottenham with my wife, Alice, and three children. We first moved into the village in 1999 – I was involved in the first two Family Festivals but then lived overseas for eight years – and I am delighted to be back.

The immediate priority is to ensure the continuation of the Fen Edge Festival (FEF) in 2017. I can testify that the sense of satisfaction of contributing to a “job well done” will more than repay the commitment. FEF 2017 is at the starting blocks so we really would like to hear from anyone who would be willing to help.

But FECA is not all about the Festival by any means. The Fen Edge villages are a large community and there is a lot of scope for an active community association to enhance the lives of all who live in them. We will turn our attention to the core of our charity: promoting and supporting local groups. Make yours a member of FECA (see below) and then come to us with a plan. A willingness to get involved and our assistance – including financial – could make it happen.

It was gratifying that this year’s AGM was well attended. There was a good energy in the room and that is something we hope to build on. There was a real enthusiasm about the successes of the Fen Edge Twinning Association, Cottenham Theatre Workshop, the Christmas lunch for older residents and many more events – behind each of these activities is a dedicated group of people who give their time and receive grants from FECA. FECA has trustees and a committee and if you are willing to help us reach an even broader range of the community please drop me an email to or call me on 07919 990299.  Come on, get involved!

I would like to thank Eileen for her leadership as Chair and also to Mick Saul as Treasurer, and Caroline Dethridge and Rebecca Cole for their contributions as Committee members.

Neil Gough
Chair – Fen Edge Community Association

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.


Fen Edge Spring-Summer 2018