A report to AGM of the Rockland St Mary and Surlingham Community Action Group

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A group of villages came together to celebrate the Millennium, raised funds and provided a set of activities in 2000.

The Community Action Group

Remembering the fun and enjoyment the Millennium event caused a new Group was formed in 2011. At an open public meeting people agreed to come together in a spirit of ’Celebration’ of our area here in the South Yare. We agreed to form an unincorporated group, with a constitution, that could encourage activity and action in the three villages.

The first year we organised events and activities over two weekends of ‘Celebration’ in Rockland St Mary and Surlingham, which included music, art, stone masonry, printmaking, animation, walks, and exhibitions of art and shells.

The group decided to continue to organise activities and events. In 2016 we have a programme with an event most months except through the summer as we do not wish to clash with or detract from other organisations commitments.

The community Group is financially self sufficient, with a small reserve, allowing a degree of independence as well as community commitment. Our policy for pricing has always been to break even, whilst meeting our costs and keeping pricing for events as affordable as possible. Overall we have maintained a balanced budget surplus for the last three years and were pleased to do so.

Who manages it?
We have a Committee that meets on average four to five times a year and have members from Surlingham and Rockland. Jane Paterson is secretary, Stephanie Ross-Wagenknecht is Treasurer and Philip Halstead is the Chair. An Annual General Meeting was held in the April.

What activities have we offered this year

Bosseln is held every season, usually attracts thirty players who strive to win, enjoy themselves and spend a pleasant three hours walking our lanes and rolling the Bosseln ball. We have a trophy and everybody takes the opportunity to meet old and new friends.

We have organised Rook Rambles around the lanes and paths in the area. The routes allow us to use Village Halls and churches for refreshments. The members and organisers provide food and drinks and we usually attract a group of thirty to forty.

We have held various art activities. The National Big Draw in October has been an excuse to host events in the villages led by artists in the villages. We hosted a print-making workshop led by a local artist. We are hoping to offer a new artists workshop in next years programme of events.

The second Creative Writing workshop was held in March, and was led by a local author, Amanda Addison.

Three Willow Weaving Workshops led by an Ely artist on the Community Reserve in May.

We offered to organise a Soap Box Derby, but did not receive enough support to proceed and this year we are offering a Curry OK in September.

My main concerns are:
• Can we maintain and keep our offer interesting
• Reaching out to grow participation
• Engaging more, families, young people and those new to the villages
• Can we maintain the committee’s energy
• Establishing diary dates that fit with others organisations in the area.

In conclusion
I am proud and grateful to the members of committee for effort, energy and creativity they have contributed to community activity.

We on the community action group encourage activity and action in the three villages. We can, and do, work in a variety of venues and respond as the need arises. We are self sufficient, with a small financial reserve, allows us a degree of independence and community commitment.

We would be pleased to meet more people and especially if you have ideas for activities or events.

Philip Halstead
April 2016

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