Annual Report 1 April 2012 – 31st December 2012
This year has been shorter in terms of reporting, as we decided at the last AGM to change the date of the AGM to January. However, we have achieved an awful lot in those nine months, as this report outlines.
I really want to say a huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made this year the success it has been, especially our members, volunteers, event leaders, hard-working Committee members (including the events committee that Melanie set up) and the general public who support our events and activities so readily. We also owe thanks to the groups we collaborate with, such as Bradford Model Engineering Society (BMES), Northcliffe Environmental Enterprises Team (NEET), Bradford Council and our local Councillors.
We have continued to have good numbers of volunteers contributing to the management of the Northcliffe Woods, including several first time FoN volunteers. On 13th and 28th June we held evening Himalayan balsam pulling sessions. This was followed by a Saturday morning session in July and several individuals have supplemented the group work with extra contributions. We started above the pond in the area we have worked in for several years. The main comments were about the lack of balsam. In later sessions we worked in the zone between the pond, the steps and the upper path alongside the golf club. Although we removed a lot of plants we will need to return to this area next summer.
Later in the summer it seemed clear that balsam had made a late appearance due to the weather and this resulted in some flowers being missed in our focus areas. We will have to bear this in mind with the schedule of work in summer 2013.
The winter woodland tasks began on 15th December when 8 volunteers worked on beech thinning alongside the steps near the golf club.
In 2013, we will begin tracking attendees at conservation events, so we have a better idea of numbers and popularity of the various events.
2012 was all set to be our proudest and most celebrated year so far with events covering the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics 2012. The weather also decided to give us our most challenging year for running events, what a wash out for many thousands of events across the U.K. We were brave enough to continue with our calendar apart from our Jubilee event which was a total wash out.
We ran our 2nd Easter event in April 2012, providing activities and competitions for children of all ages. Despite the weather it was an excellent turn out and once again, working alongside Bradford Model Engineering Society (BMES), we entertained children and families with the Easter Bunny railway rides raising further funds for future events. Asda & Morrisons provided chocolate eggs for us on the day, as well as Bradford Parks providing stalls. We would like to thank all 3 organisations for contributing to our event and making it possible. We would also like to thank our volunteers for their hard work leading up to the event and those who manned the activities on the day.
The Big Diamond Jubilee Lunch in June 2012 was due to be an excellent event filled with music and entertainment. Unfortunately due to terrible weather conditions the event was moved to July and combined with the Rae Gala. This was an extended event from 12pm to 5pm with amazing support from local bands such as Broken Hearts Club Band, Strid and Whiter Than with their open mic. The weather was a little bit better for us but still proved to be a showery day. After running the event for longer in 2012 a decision has been made to keep the Rae Gala to the original times of 2pm to 4.30pm. Once again we would like to thank local business, Matthew Imison Photography, Millennium Hair Studio, Kerala Café, Bruzzese Photography, Jennie Kiff and Terez Cosmetic & Beauty for their generous donations. We would also like to thank all those who took part and contributed to the day through their individual activities, our volunteers organising the event, and all of our stewards who gave up their time to help us raise funds. The Rae Gala was proudly opened by Helen Lealman of St. Pauls Church who gave a wonderful speech and opening for our very diverse local community.
Northcliffe Olympics was originally proposed as a charity event but due to stipulation and strict regulations for Olympics 2012, we were unable to work alongside any major charity organisation. We had a huge amount of support from Tony and the Bingley Harriers team who set out our cross country and track races. Their support on the day was invaluable and, despite the weather, the ready and willing came out and clocked up their gold, silver and bronze medals. BMES also supported us once again whilst Steve and our very special sweet team came out, with injuries, to battle the weather and provide lots of fun games and competitive activities for younger children and families. Northcliffe Olympics went ahead despite the weather and finished only 30mins earlier than the scheduled time due to the few that did turn out having so much fun in the pouring rain. Feedback from existing and new members on the day was that they wish we provided a sports activities day every year, within school term time. This feedback has been taken on board and will be discussed at the next events meeting – watch this space.
As well as organising larger events for children and families, we organised the dawn chorus walk led by Hugh and Lisa and another cream tea event raising funds for Northcliffe, held at the Northcliffe Allotment Society clubhouse. Many members provided cakes and helped on the day, and thanks are due to NAS for the use of their facilities.
Hugh Firman also kindly gave a wildlife talk at Shipley Library offering further variety from the group.
Tony Woods and Jane also gave up their time and expertise to organise a history walk which was exceptionally well attended. Julia Pearson also provided a bluebell walk through the woodland to identify the improvements made after beech clearing. Thank you.
Thank you again to all our volunteers on the events committee for helping with the organising of these events. We would also like to thank all our event leaders and generous members, who have donated their time, baking, produce and prizes over the year. You all do a fantastic job.
Our most successful publicity coverage this year has been through the opening of the Children’s new play area in the Telegraph & Argus as well as excellent coverage and an interview on the local radio (also plugging future events).
working in conjunction with Wycliffe and Shipley C of E schools, as well as links with Children’s Centre’s, has helped to promote our events and conservation activities within Northcliffe and this continues to grow and develop, especially with Shipley C of E.
BMES continue to promote our events through their group as well as NAS. NEET have also supported us in a very positive way over the last year. Thank you to all groups and networks for supporting us in our efforts and contributing to our promotional activity. Kirkgate Centre continues to support everything we do and promote our events, as well as local cafés and business. St. Pauls Church has also promoted our events in their newsletter, and St. Peters Church always displays our posters.
All events are listed in the T&A community section as well as Community Pride and Saltaire sentinel to ensure we reach out to readers in the local area.
3 displays in the library promoting Friends of Northcliffe have helped us attract more volunteers and members as well as promoting our events.
The donations in kind from local business has been used on their websites which promotes the events we run as a group and the events continue to promote who we are and what we do as a group. We have also given 2 presentations at neighbourhood forums which generate awareness, promoting membership and events.
The new notice boards have made a huge impact in the way we communicate with visitors at the park. The newsletter continues to be an excellent promotional tool and is improving all the time.
Melanie took over as newsletter editor temporarily until Liz Hansen recently volunteered to edit. There has been a lot more input from members than previously and we have had very positive comments about the last newsletter. There was a setback with the September edition due to the arrival of Caitlin and Melanie being on 6 month maternity. However, we dealt with this by sending out a ‘bulletin’ style newsletter, and Liz is working on a bumper edition for February 2013.
We have 167 members currently, with an increase in those not renewing (24). Our subscriptions and donations helped raise a total of £1030.62, so thanks to everyone for your continued generosity.
Here are some comments we received with membership renewals this year:
We love receiving the newsletters and to see how the group is flourishing. To think it all started with 6 people round our dining room table when we lived in Shipley.
Always lovely to read the newsletter.
Congratulations to all concerned for the sterling work being done for Friends of Northcliffe.
Keep up the brilliant work.
Planning meetings continue to be held at the Kirkgate Centre and the Shipley Club.
They have been well-attended with several non-Committee members and Council officers attending and making valuable contributions – thanks to Dave Horsman for his continuing interest.
Finances continue to be well managed and healthy as evidenced by the accompanying Annual Accounts. We intend to agree a budget at the AGM
The installation of the children’s playground took place in June, with the Grand Opening taking place on the 6th July. Unfortunately, the weather on the day was horrendous, but a small hardcore of supporters turned out – thank you all! Shipley CofE School, who were due to attend on site for the opening and press call, were unable to send the children up, so a photo call was hastily arranged in the school hall. Melanie ran down the road clutching the celebration cake, followed by the T&A photographer! Mr Aslam, the MD of the Aagrah group, was ill, and so was unable to come and cut the ribbon, so that duty fell to Cllr Martin Love. Representatives from WREN were also there to see how their funding had been spent. Thanks especially to WREN, the Aagrah Group and Playbuilder for the funding necessary to complete the project, and to Gill Biggs and Susy Feltham for their guidance and support.
We also completed another major project in the bird feeding area. Hugh Firman, Keith Scott and Joan Newman worked with Steve Warrilow and NEET to construct a magnificent area in the space between the two allotment sites. We’re continuing to make improvements, including the addition of a noticeboard, a viewing slit, and another feeding table. The group will carry out a review soon, and decide what further work may need doing. Alongside the playground, these are two projects that have made a significant improvement to people’s enjoyment of the area.
We were disappointed that the consultative group set up over the future of the area previously known as ‘Wildsides’ didn’t go too well for us. It soon became apparent that trying to influence that consultation to do anything community-led was proving too big a mountain to climb, so we reluctantly decided to withdraw and concentrate our efforts on areas more likely to succeed.
We have already mentioned the noticeboards in promotions, but it’s worthy of another mention here. We are very grateful to BMES and St Paul’s Church for their donations to the noticeboard fund. We are now in a position where we will have, by spring, three high quality noticeboards that are both impactful, but also in keeping with the surroundings. Thanks to Susy Feltham for all her help in sourcing these.
Finally, Dave Horsman and our local councillors are working with us and Malcolm Wright of the Parks Department to try and find a solution to our storage and meeting space problems. We hope to have more news in 2013 on this.
Many thanks to all our members, the committee, benefactors, and groups we collaborate with, as well as Bradford Council in their role as Trustees.
Report prepared by Steve Bruzzese on behalf of the Committee:
Steve Bruzzese (Chair), Sheila Parkin (Secretary), Joan Newman (Treasurer and Membership Secretary), Melanie Bruzzese (Events and Promotions Officer), Julia Pearson (Conservation Officer), Keith Scott (Website Officer), Jenny Burnell (Committee Member) Joan Stevens (Committee Member), Chris Pearson (Committee Member).
With contributions from Joan Newman, Melanie Bruzzese, Steve Bruzzese and Julia Pearson.