Chairman’s Report, AGM 7th June 2016
Good evening everyone, on behalf of the committee of FCCA, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all, to this meeting, which is the first AGM since FCA and FACTAR merged to form FCCA.
For me, this has been an eventful period.
We started with a campaign to hopefully purchase the former St.Thomas Church building, and restore it as a community hub. This task soon proved to be well beyond our capabilities, however, we raised considerable interest, and our endeavours acted as a catalyst for others to take up the challenge, and the outlook for the future of The Little Church now looks promising.
We challenged a planning application to convert a private dwelling above Latuskes’ into commercial premises, and were successful in having the application withdrawn.
Our continuous complaints to the owners of the Finchfield shops eventually gained a result in that the pot holes in the service road in front of the Co-Op, and the car park at the rear were filled in. We had hoped for a full re-surface, but that was a hope too far!
We successfully petitioned Wolverhampton Highways Dept to improve the road markings on the 3 way junction and island in front of Lid’ls supermarket.
We have also raised several issues with Wolverhampton Council over their actions which seem to go against The Neighbourhood Plan, in which our committee members played a big part in its creation.
All this was achieved by a small committee, who have given their time freely to work for the benefit of the community.
One of the bigger issues we have is that of the fate of the former Wolverhampton Environment Centre – WEC – Wolverhampton Council had plans to develop the site for housing, an issue which has raised concerns in the area. We hosted a public meeting in order for The Council to explain their proposals, and for residents to ask questions. This subject has been heavily debated, with people having quite strong differing views. We have been successful in bring these views to the council, and they have revised their plans, however we are still in talks, it is though, a David and Goliath situation, and we are having to choose our stone with care. The WEC situation is still ongoing, and I do not propose to debate the matter further here tonight. There are plans for a public consultation, and the details will be publicised when known.
Whilst dealing with all the above, we have also managed to have a bit of fun. We are now 18 months into a 3 year groundworks programme with Creative Black Country, which is funded by The Arts Council. We have been able to introduce a variety of events which have been for the benefit of residents. Last year we managed to run our second Barn Dance at the Light House Centre, And our second evening “fish & chip” canal cruise. We also hosted a series of puppet week-ends, which proved very popular. One highlight of the year was our collaboration with Finchfield Uplands Junior School, to put on a play at Bantock about Diwali. All the children and staff were involved, from making costumes and scenary to performing. The event was a great success, the children giving 2 performances. Their enthusiasm was amazing, and a credit to the school and the Staff.
We were also able to negotiate a considerable discount on tickets for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, performed in the Gardens of Wightwick Manor, and for the last 2 years, visits to The Grand Theatre to see the pantomime. This year we are again involved with the puppet week-ends, and two more open air events at Wightwick, - As you Like It, and a children’s interactive play, The Smartest Giant in Town. We have also commissioned two more open air plays, in July, this time in the gardens of Bantock House.
At this point I must point out that although FCCA committee were involved in these events, none would have happened without the enormous help from our CBCA mentor, Jeremy Brown, who over the past 18 months has worked tirelessly to help us arrange all the things we never realised needed arranging! I would like to put on record the committee’s appreciation of Jeremy’s good works.
Our computer drop in classes ,held at Bantock House had to stop at Christmas due to lack of funds, but with expert help from Sarron Nanan-Sen at WVSC, we were able to apply for, and get, funding from the lottery. Sessions will now resume on 22nd. June.
During the year, we have arranged other activities, under the supervision of our treasurer John Rowley, which included several litter picking outings, waterside care, and organising a group to wash down the painted murals on the road bridge atCastleroft, which had become covered in mud etc., and looked unsightly. John has also worked very hard to get our swimming club up and running, and despite several setbacks he has kept things afloat, so to speak!. Due to personal / work reasons, John is retiring from treasurer and committee duties, and so again I would like to thank him for his enormous help in getting FCCA up and running.
This brings me to the end of my report, but before I go, I would like to thank Heather, Brenda, Judith Pat and John for helping me get through the last 12 months. I have had 2 knee replacements since last June, and at the same time I have been looking after my elderly mother. Their endless practical help and advice has enabled me to continue with, and enjoy, being chairman of FCCA. Thank you all again.