The Community Association has a unique role in the village – but what does it do and what is it for? To help newcomers, and anyone else puzzled by its purpose, here are a few answers to the questions you might have always wanted to ask…
OK. Start at the beginning. When and why was the Community Association set up?
28 and a bit years ago, actually. It was a direct spin off from the Queen's Jubilee celebrations of 1977. Money left from the village’s Jubilee Fund was spent on the hard surface tennis courts on Kings Meadow. The Community Association was formed to administer the project.
That seems clear enough. Do I need to know any more?
Well I’m afraid you do, because the founding fathers – many of whom are still very active villagers – didn’t stop there. They recognised that a Community Association could do much more to "promote the welfare" of villagers through recreation and a strong community, as the constitution says. It also stresses the Association's role in co-ordinating common efforts by local bodies and individuals.
Hmm. That all sounds a bit like Big Brother to me. Why would I want my welfare promoted by a bunch of villagers?
That’s a fair point, except that you, like all villagers, are a de facto member of the Community Association simply by living in the village – unless you can find some clever way of excluding yourself. So we are all in this welfare promotion business together. Well that’s all very well, but who is listening to me? Believe it or not, everyone on the Committee – and indeed in the village - would like to listen to your views and ideas. We have an AGM every year that’s open to all (dates publicised in The Villager). If you can’t wait for that, just phone any of the Committee members listed below to get it off your chest at any time ( within reason - preferably no phone calls after 11:00pm ).
Ah, Committee members eh? I knew it. Old boys’ and girls’ club is it?
Well we hope not. As the Association is a coordinating body, the Committee does draw some members from village societies and clubs, but most of us are independent of any organisation. And by the way, if you, your partner, or anyone else you know would like to be on the Committee, that AGM is the place to get elected democratically. We really do want new blood.
Point taken, no offence. I’ll think about it. But tell me what you people do?
We try to do what you and everyone else in the village would like us to do. Over the years that has meant running the kind of events that seem to be popular with villagers – Carol Evening, Quiz Evening, the Fete, and an Autumn event that rings the changes – we’ve had wine tastings, race evenings, film shows …
So you’re a kind of entertainments committee for the village?
Yes, in a way, but there is no reason why your Community Association couldn’t be doing other things as well as, or instead of these events. And we do have another very important role, by the way. We always aim to make money from our activities so that it can all be ploughed back into the village – through grants to clubs and societies, for example. The Carol Evening profits contribute to Christmas hampers for the elderly. And last year’s Fete profits helped village organisations with grants totalling over £3,000.
You’re sounding like a group of do gooders now
Sorry, didn’t mean to. And I should stress that while Committee members work hard on these events, our role is also about coordinating the contributions of many other people. For example, although we ‘manage’ the Fete, the people who run the stalls come from many other groups in the village – the Church, the school, the WI, the Cricket Club and so on. And when we distribute the profits, we do take account of who has worked hard to raise them. OK, so who do I contact if I want to change what the Community Association does? Talk to any of us. I promise we will give serious thought and discussion to any of your ideas or concerns. It’s very important to the health of the Community Association that we canvas and listen to the views of everyone who wants to express them. We just want to make sure we are doing the things the village wants, in the way it wants them done.