Friends of Northcliffe

Annual Report

1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010


Despite several key people standing down at the start of the year and Committee posts remaining unfilled, the Group had a very successful year.

Administration; all change!

At the AGM in June, Jenny Cassidy, Margaret Walker, Colin Wood and Keith Scott stood down as, respectively, Chair, Treasurer, Conservation Officer and Newsletter Editor. Hugh Firman, Joan Stevens, Joan Newman and Lisa Chadwick filled the Chair, Treasurer, Membership Secretary and Newsletter Editor posts. However, a few weeks later, Joan Stevens had to retire due to health reasons. Joan Newman later took on the post of Treasurer on a temporary basis. In November Marlene Young resigned from the Committee. Marlene was married in December and moved to Burley in Wharfedale. Towards the end of the year, Melanie Obeney became Promotions Officer and Julia Pearson became Conservation Officer. Phew! Six Planning meetings were held at the Kirkgate Centre and several non-Committee members attended. Margot Rowan produced Health and Safety and Equal Opportunities policies and Hugh produced a Volunteers policy.


Jenny Cassidy appeared on Bradford Community Radio to promote the Group and the Gala. We telephoned a sample of members to inform them of events and opportunities and to seek feedback. We introduced regular email updates to members and, by the end of the year; about half of our members received such emails. Use of email can save time, money and resources. High quality newsletters (despite the low number of contributors) were produced in April, July and January, the latter two being printed by the Cellar Project.

Since January a succession of posters have been displayed in Northcliffe Woods advertising the Group and events. Keith ensured the website was kept up to date.


Membership grew through the year and on 31st March 2010 we had 94 paid up memberships and three complimentaries. 46 people paid for family membership, meaning we have at least 140 members. One member sadly died during the year. In addition, seven memberships were cancelled due to subscriptions not being received. A membership leaflet was produced.



As can be seen from the Accounts, we are in a strong financial position. This is largely due to an extremely generous donation by Mr Norman Woodhead, grandson of Sir Norman Rae. However, the Rae Gala made a large loss and membership subscriptions did not cover costs. We opened a new account with Santander.


The lack of a Conservation Officer for most of the year did not stop us organising four conservation activities. On 26th June 10 people helped control Himalayan balsam, mostly near the pond. On 18th July Jane Liddle and Hugh led a bat sunrise survey. On 21st November and 27th March 3 and 7 volunteers removed invasive beech saplings from the west end of Northcliffe Woods. We were pleased that Bradford Council decided to manage the Norman Rae Playing Fields as a hay meadow. However, the cuttings were not removed after the cut.


As ever, our main event of the year was the Rae Gala held on 14th June. This was a highly successful day with the usual varied attractions, including the Hall Royd band, and local dancers, Four Hundred Roses. It was decided that this would be the last Gala unless volunteers came forwards. Happily this was the case and plans for the 2010 Gala are well advanced. Hugh and Lisa led a Dawn Chorus walk on 2nd May and 13 attended. On Saturday 25th July a small part of Northcliffe came to Shipley when we entered the Shipley in Bloom ‘Garden in a Wheelbarrow’ competition. Joan Milligan planted up a child’s bath, in a pram and created a beautiful and intricate miniature woodland which attracted lots of interest. June Carter led two weekday walks, primarily aimed at people who do not like walking in the woods by themselves. However, take up was extremely poor. Veronica Youngson led her usual informative, enjoyable and well attended guided walks on 26th April and 7th March. Seven of us enjoyed a Chinese Christmas night out in December. On 13th March we attended the ‘Go Wild in Shipley!’ event organised by Bradford Urban Wildlife Group. There was considerable interest in the Group’s display and Melanie persuaded six people to join. Margot Rowan and Hugh received CRB checks via Bradford Council. Sheila Parkin attended a risk assessment evening, organised by Bradford Council, in March.

Partnership working

We have worked closely with officers from Bradford Council. Judy Bakes, Ian Day and Bob Thorp attended Planning Meetings and Hugh had a site meeting with Susy Feltham and Bob. We published an article about the children’s play area consultation. We have also maintained close links with Bradford Model Engineering Society, Shipley Woodcraft Folk, Northcliffe Environmental Enterprises Team, the Northcliffe Wildlife Allotment and Northcliffe Allotment Society.

Other happenings in Northcliffe

A small ‘woodland circle’ has been created for use by Shipley Woodcraft Folk and Forest Schools. The Woodcraft Folk frequently used the woodland. New orienteering posts have been installed,

Review of objectives for 2009/10

At the 2009 AGM we set the following objectives:

To find a replacement Chair

To increase membership from 80 to 100

To hold an Autumn walk

We were fairly successful in meeting these objectives:

We did not find a replacement Chair but, after finding a Promotions Officer and Conservation Officer, the Chair was encouraged to continue!

Membership increased to 94

We organised an Autumn walk

Thank you!

My thanks go to all those who have contributed to our success including the Committee and all our members.


Hugh Firman, on behalf of the Committee

22nd April 2010