Jason Weetch (awaiting photo)
Chair’s Report 2016
It has been another busy year for the JLF where we have attended various local events. We have successfully raised our profile in the 10 parishes, our facebook page, website and press submissions seem to be getting our name around a wider community.
Bob Bowman and Carole Foster joined the committee at the last AGM after Marian Mann and Mark Griffin resigned. Although Bob decided to leave the committee during the year he still has been a great friend to the JLF helping at various events.
Although we haven’t held any big music events over the year we have had a presence at many local events both in Wiveliscombe and Milverton which have raised good sums through the sale of merchandise and raffle tickets. It has been good to have so many committee members involved in these events especially the WHAT plaque cleaning which caught the interest of many passing shoppers. It was quite heart warming to have Kim McGavin and High Park Music playing for us, both felt they wanted to do something to help the JLF and they did it in style.
The bonus ball competition still continues to be very popular and steadily contributes to the fund even with the addition of another 10 numbers. The brewers at Cotleigh and Exmoor have again helped with cash donations following the 10 Parishes Festival as well as a constant flow of raffle prizes for which we are always grateful. The Christmas quiz was a real success again with a good turnout, it was a fun evening with the quiz masters setting some interesting questions. We have had continued support from John, Millie and all the staff at the Bear Inn over the year helping with the bonus ball, including us at their beer festival, letting us host the quiz and also producing a great presidents day lunch which we appreciated very much.
We have been able to help quite a selection of groups over the year including Wivey Link, 10PF, Wivey Gym, Ashbrittle Arts, 10 Radio & Pulsford Lodge Comfort Fund as well as the promise of funding to Huish Champflower Cricket Club. All of these groups have been very kind with their words of thanks for the funding but one was particularly nice to hear. Sonya from Pulsford Lodge wanted to thank the committee for ‘our hard work & dedication to those who need help & assistance in the community’. It seems that the JLF is managing to fulfil an important role in the 10 parishes and long may it continue. Because of the tremendously generous spirit of the 10 parishes community and the time and effort of this committee more groups will benefit in the future.
Chair’s Report 2015
2015 has been another busy year for the Fund. We have maintained our support for the local community with a steady flow of donations. We provided funding for tents for the Scouts, grants to Reminiscence Learning, Ashbrittle Arts, Wiveliscombe Area Partnership towards the costs of the street fair, to the Community centre for new doors, funding to help set up Dancemore and our usual contribution to the Pulsford Lodge Comfort Fund at Christmas.
Of course none of this would be possible without the generosity of the local community, and the energy and commitment of our committee members. The committee changed its appearance slightly at the AGM in January. Following concerns from the two brewers about their ability to attend meeting due to their increasing commitments, we decided we couldn’t possibly continue without their involvement – the Jim Laker Fund came into existence because of the relationship between Exmoor and Cotleigh – and we increased the size of the committee by 2 to 14. Keeping the quorum to the original 6 meant the pressure was off Steve and Jonathan in feeling they were obliged to attend all meetings. With Bev relinquishing her seat to take up her new role of President in Perpetuity, we were very pleased to be able to fill the 3 vacancies with newcomers Charlie and Heather Harvey and Vicky Hartland-Cable, and everyone on the committee has contributed the success of the JLF activities throughout the year. Particular thanks are due to Chris for so ably taking on Bev’s role as treasurer. We were sorry to receive Mark Griffin’s resignation in September, but recognise that he has a full diary as headteacher. We have appreciated his past input.
The first event of the year was the brilliant Understairs gig at Cotleigh at the end of January. The band very generously played for free as a JLF fundraiser. Following the same tradition Castletown too offered their services for free as they had enjoyed Wivfest so much and ‘like what we do’. As a result we had another really successful fundraiser at Cotleigh in July, thanks to Charlie for organising.
Rachel, with her customary efficiency, organised the Coming of Age raffle, based on the 18 years the Fund has been in existence, including persuading local businesses to contribute so that we had a £200 cash prize as well as other 18-themed prizes. We started selling tickets at our stall at the Ashbrittle Arts event, and we held a stall, thanks to Vicky, at the Day Lewis charity day in the square in May where we made quite an impact. These were also opportunities to display our new banner designed by John Alder, giving us a professional appearance. The raffle was drawn at the 10 Parishes Festival in September, again we held a successful stall at this event. At the end of the year Sam and Chris entertained us with the Xmas quiz at the Bear.
The profile of the JLF has been raised throughout the year with regular Messenger articles. Donna has been very successful with the Bonus Ball competition in the Bear, and in publicising it and other JLF happenings on our Facebook page which now has 110 followers. Heather has been promoting the JLF at the Larder, both in selling raffle tickets and polo
shirts. Our merchandise is still for sale in the Community Office at Wivey House, and we now have all the JLF equipment stored there centrally thanks to an arrangement with Debs, the new manager. This means that everything is conveniently available in one place, especially suitable for stalls in the square. Our store of plastic glasses is kept there too, and for the first time some have been on loan for a private party in return for a donation to the JLF. John has been keeping our web page current throughout the year, and we have had enquiries about our merchandise and policies.
We are grateful to our supporters who have helped with our success in 2015. John and Millie at the Bear have generously given any excess from their meat raffle, gave £81 from bingo and continue to keep the donation box displayed. They also did us proud for our first President’s Day lunch in November, what a fabulous success that was – Bev was delighted and it was good to see John and Jenny Aries, previous Cotleigh owners and originators of the Fund, attending. Thanks to Kim McGavin who donated the proceeds from his busking, and we are pleased to discover that we don’t need a licence if he, or anyone else, wants to repeat this on council-owned land, such as the square. Special thanks, as always, to the two brewers for their unending generosity with raffle prizes and in raising £290 for the JLF through their beer sales at the 10 Parishes Festival.
This is a slightly longer report than usual for me as I wanted to reflect on how the fund is doing. It is going from strength to strength, a credit to all of our hard work. It has been particularly heart-warming to welcome new faces as well as old friends to the committee meetings, and to know that local people see the JLF as something they can contribute to. This has helped me reach my decision to retire from the JLF after my 17 years’ involvement with the committee. It feels the right time for me to go now, and I am happy to leave while it is in such good shape. I shall, of course, continue to give my support and wish the Fund every success in the future.
Chair’s report for 2014
2014 was a busy year for the JLF. Chris Howe and Donna Cannell joined the committee at the AGM in February, both long standing friends of the JLF. At the same time we said goodbye to Richard Oliver. He was one of the founding members of the Jim Laker Fund, whose support and commitment over the past 17 years is well known. We miss him at meetings, which are noticeably quieter these days.
Much of our energy was devoted to the very successful Wivfest at Cotleigh Brewery in August. We are grateful to John Ray and Annie Phillips who joined our planning group, bringing their respective musical and culinary expertise. The countless requests for another similar event are testament to Wivfest’s popularity. We are pleased to have kept up the tradition of creating a space for local live music, especially encouraging the talented young musicians we have in Wivey, complemented with local beer of course.
The quizzes and bonus ball competition kindly hosted by the Bear Inn have continued to contribute steadily to our cash flow, and we are grateful to the Cotleigh and Exmoor brewers for promoting our collecting boxes on their stalls at the street fair. These and the success of Wivfest have enabled us to continue to provide financial support to local groups. In 2014 we paid out over £2,000 spread amongst Wivey Cricket Club, The Recreation Ground, Wiveliscombe Area Partnership towards the street fair, Feral Studio for the creation of a CD about the local apple history and tradition, In the Mix youth group and the Pulsford Lodge Comfort Fund. This brings our total financial support to the local community to well over £62,000 since the formation of the Fund.
We now have an online presence with our own website and Facebook page, thanks to John Alder and Donna for keeping these up to date. 2014 also saw us break into a new style of polo shirts sporting the logo and our ‘Where in the World is Wiveliscombe?’ design. These, together with the shopping bags and t-shirts, are held at Wivey House where we now have our own pigeon hole and can use the community office address for correspondence.
We were saddened to learn of Bev Greenbank’s decision to retire from the committee at the end of this year. After 18 years this has been a reluctant and emotional decision for her. However, we are delighted that she will keep her ex-officio role of president and look forward to her continued involvement with our work.
Chair’s report for Feb 2013 to Feb 2014
The past year has been a busy one for the JLF. At the first meeting of the new committee after the AGM, and my first as chair, we considered no less than 5 funding applications, having granted a total of four in the entire previous year. We have been happy to support several local community groups throughout the year; Seigokan Karate, Fitzhead Cricket Club, a loan to Studio10 for the production of a CD, “Bring me Sunshine” bell ringing group, saxophones for High Park Music children’s orchestra, a lathe for the local youth group, two donations to Wivey Link (and we are delighted to see the new vehicles sporting larger JLF logos), Pulsford Lodge comforts fund, and the 10 parishes festival.
It is heart-warming to note that this year’s expenditure takes us to over £60,000 of support for the local community since the Fund started in 1997. This has only been possible because we are so well supported by our local community, the JLF would not exist without this generosity. We are, as ever, particularly grateful to Donna Cannell for her untiring pursuit of bonus ball customers in The Bear, and of course to Andy and Heather for their hospitality. The quizzes, ably hosted by Sam and Richard, with welcome assistance from Chris, Mike and Leo, have continued to bring in a steady income, thanks to all concerned.
However as we celebrate our success we fully recognise that we need to replenish our funds so that we can continue to provide financial assistance. 2013 saw the formation of the Wivfest steering group. This group (myself, Bev, Rachel and Steve, with a bit of help co-opted from the local music scene and Annie of culinary renown) has been busy planning a beer and music festival to take place in August 2014 at Cotleigh as our major fund raiser. The event is very much in our tradition and we are hoping for a successful event so that we can continue to channel that support back into the local community.