Friends of Northcliffe Annual Report 1 April 2011 – 31st March 2012
As you can read in the following pages, this year was extremely successful.
Grateful thanks to all those who have contributed to our success, especially members, partner organisations such as Northcliffe Allotments Society (NAS) and Bradford Model Engineering Society (BMES) and Bradford Council councillors and officers.
Friends of Northcliffe have a successful year in contributing towards the aims of managing the woods for people and for wildlife with several well attended practical sessions.
During the summer there were three group sessions that made a significant contribution to clearing Himalayan balsam from the slopes leading up towards to the golf course. In addition, a group from the DWP, as well as several committed individuals, continued to make further inroads into the balsam population. Undoubtedly there is still many years of work to really make a significant reduction to the balsam, and we will continue this job in June, with the aim to allow the native woodland flora to flourish in the woods.
In the winter the focus was to remove young beech saplings which would otherwise affect the bluebells and the regeneration of oak, rowan, birch with dense shade. As well as the practical work in the woods, we were able to discuss our opinions and contributions to the new management plan for the woods Colin Whitfield, Assistant Woodlands Manager from the Council came to a meeting. One immediate outcome was the agreement that we could plant some trees near the golf course fence. The Council bought the trees and we completed the planting in March.
In the summer the NAS container was broken into and our hand tools, which were stored there, were stolen. We have managed to purchase replacement tools with a payment from the Insurance, but have incurred a cost due to the excess we had to pay. The tools are no longer stored in the Allotment container.
Several members of West Yorkshire Bat Group and one from Friends of Northcliffe (thanks, Chris!) installed 40 bat boxes, donated by the bat group.
We ran a trial for our first Easter event in April 2011, providing activities and competitions for children of all ages. Working alongside Bradford Model Engineering Society (BMES) we entertained children and families with the Easter Bunny railway rides. Funds of £100 was raised at the event demonstrating our successes through providing Tombola, Easter egg hunts, decorate your egg competition, face painting, egg & spoon races and egg throwing competition. Due to its success we repeated this event in April 2012 with support from Asda & Morrisons providing chocolate eggs for us on the day, as well as Bradford Parks providing stalls for us on the day. 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. Further funds have been raised to continually improve the woodland and recreation areas.
The Rae Gala in July 2011 was our most successful event of the year raising £360 of funds for Friends of Northcliffe. Having trialled the extension of the Gala in 2010 we were in a position to improve the location and sequence of events. The in kind donations from local business meant that we were able to offer fantastic raffle prizes contributing to the value of our events and the ability to raise additional funds. We would like to thank Matthew Imison Photography, Millennium Hair Studio, Kerala Café, Bruzzese Photography, Simon Allan Guitar Tuition 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 Mr Mohammed Aslam of the Aagrah Group of Restaurants having financially supported us with our funding bid for the children’s play area.
As well as organising larger events for children and families, we organised a well attended historical walk and a dawn chorus walk led by Hugh and Lisa. A new venture for 2011 was our first cream tea event, held at the NAS Community Room. Many members provided cakes and helped on the day.
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.
Our most successful publicity coverage this year has been through the donation from Mr Mohamed Aslam referred to later in this report. An article was featured in the Telegraph & Argus which raised the profile of our organisation. Thank you to the promotions team of the Aagrah group for their contribution in the P.R.
Networking and making connections has been a big focus for publicity and promotions in 2011. 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. We have also made a strong connection with Sponge Tree, a creative and educational group for the Bradford area. This has given us an additional link when reaching out to the local community and strengthening what we can offer as a group. BMES also promote our events through their group as well as NAS. Thank you to all groups and networks for supporting us in our efforts and contributing to our promotional activity.
The displays in the library last summer promoting Friends of Northcliffe, and again in the spring this year, have helped us attract more volunteers as well as raising £10 in funds through the sale of photographs from Bruzzese Photography.
The donations in kind from Asda has been used for their community page on their website which promotes the events we run as a group. This two way link through promotional activity is an excellent way of moving forward in 2012.
The events attract more new members with the Rae Gala being the most successful in 2011. The information stall could have been a driver for this and we will look at extending this into the events for 2012. Membership is a successful way of promoting our group and the work we do.
We have purchased and installed a notice board at Cliffe Woods Avenue entrance. This provides a weather proof means of advertising our events.
There was another large increase in memberships with numbers increasing from 133 to 163 (one of which is complimentary. Just 8 memberships were not renewed.
Three high quality newsletters have been produced. After the production of the Winter edition, Lisa resigned but John took over and produced the Spring edition. A small team of volunteers hand deliver most copies. Also 16 members have opted for e-mail only copies. With high postage costs this saves us a significant amount of money.
Planning meetings have been held at the Kirkgate Centre and the Shipley Club. FREE!!!!
They have been well-attended with several non-Committee members and Council officers attending and making valuable contributions
Finances continue to be well managed and healthy as evidenced by the accompanying Annual Accounts. We intend to agree a budget at the AGM.
Our biggest success this year is securing £43,150 of funding from Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd. (WREN) for a new children’s play area. This has been a long and tough process, carried out with full support from Gillian Biggs and Suzy Feltham from Bradford Council, who are now in the process of finalising the contractor arrangements. Once this has taken place, contracts with WREN can be finalised and signed, and work can begin. We are also very grateful to Mr Mohammed Aslam of the Aagrah Group of Restaurants for agreeing to donate 11% of the project cost as our ‘third party funder’, a requirement of the WREN funding process. Without his help, we would have been unable to apply.
We also secured £500 in funding from Shipley Area Committee. This will be used to fund a bird feeding area in the space between the two allotment sites with the work will be carried out by NEET. The remainder of the grant will be put towards a noticeboard.
St. Paul’s Church kindly donated a sum of money to be used on interpretation or noticeboards. BMES and NAS both made donations in support of the Rae Gala and the Easter event. Donations from the general public at events were very generous, and allowed the Gala to raise a modest amount towards our funds rather than incurring a cost. Finally, a number of our members donated close to £200 in addition to their annual subscriptions.
Many thanks to all our benefactors this year, your ongoing help and support is really appreciated. It’s one of the reasons why Friends of Northcliffe is growing in membership and enjoying some considerable success.
We have grown our relationships with a number of the other community groups who share the Northcliffe area. We have a very healthy partnership with BMES, and ran a number of joint events throughout the year. We also have links with NAS and Northcliffe Environmental Enterprises Team (NEET). Friends of Northcliffe have been represented at a number of Neighbourhood Forums this year, as well as at Friends of Parks forums run by Bradford Council. We hope to further extend and strengthen our relationships this year, including working in partnership with the Council to resolve the ongoing use of the recently vacated former ‘Wildsides’ wildlife allotments, and develop a works and funding strategy for the Northcliffe area. We’ll be looking to consult with members on the draft strategy by late Spring/early Summer.
Collated by Hugh Firman, with contributions by Melanie and Steve Bruzzese, Joan Newman and Julia Pearson, on behalf of the Committee:
Hugh Firman (Chair), Steve Bruzzese (Deputy Chair), Sheila Parkin (Secretary), Joan Newman (Treasurer and Membership Secretary), Melanie Bruzzese (Events and Promotions Officer), Julia Pearson (Conservation Officer), Lisa Chadwick Firman / John Bromley (Newsletter Editor), Keith Scott (Website Officer), Jenny Burnell (Committee Member) Joan Stevens (Committee Member).