2017 Chair’s report

        February 2017

Dear FCN member

Welcome to the 2016 Furzedown Community Network AGM Chair’s Report.

As a member we value your support and participation in the events that we arrange throughout the year. Each paid membership enables us to continue to promote a sense of community within Furzedown. We hope that the programme of events that FCN generated during 2016 contained something for everyone within the community.

In a very busy year, as always we began with our Annual General Meeting on January 23rd 2016 where we elected the officers and members of the FCN Committee. It was a well-attended meeting at which we looked back at our successes of 2015 and unveiled our plans for 2016. Three new members joined the committee.

The year then got off to a terrific start with Peter Pan – the Furzedown Pantomime. Although not organised by FCN we were happy to support this community enterprise in many ways and you may have seen a few committee members heavily disguised on stage! Our thanks (and admiration) to all those involved in the Pantomime for their time, effort and imagination. The four performances were a complete sell out and it was a magical and memorable production.

Once again Furzedown was involved in a hustings which took place at St James’s Church in April. A good cross-section of candidates attended including Dr Rosena  Allin-Khan who is now our M.P. Chaired by Rev Rob Powell, the church was full to capacity and live tweeting enabled a wider audience to participate.         

2016 saw a return to a two-week Furzedown Festival which contained a huge variety of events such as the ever popular Garden Gigs, local history walks and the official opening of the Community Memorial Garden at St Paul’s Church. On June 11th Graveney School hosted the completely unique Furzedown Flashback. This was a celebration of what the past nine decades has meant to those living in Furzedown; it was a “fabulous, funny and fascinating frolic” in the words of the organisers and it was indeed a truly all-encompassing evening of music and dance plus a trip down memory lane for many.                                                                                                                

The theme for this year’s Furzedown Season was Carnival to tie-in with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We are indebted to Kathy Kavan for sharing her artistic talent and designing a whole suite of posters to advertise our events. Our thanks also go to all the businesses within Furzedown who allowed us to display the posters and to all residents who put them up in their windows or agreed to have Beresford boards.

                                                                                                      

The culmination of the Festival was the Big Day Out on Saturday June 18th another successful and extremely well attended event. Although the weather wasn’t as good as last year, the sun duly made an appearance in the afternoon to contribute to the carnival atmosphere. The usual activities of crafts, games and skateboarding plus the inflatables were accompanied by a huge diversity of music and dance on the main stage. The FCN bar did brisk trade and the dedicated Pimms team were busy all day. Definitely something for all ages and tastes!                                                                                                                                                                         

We were delighted to invite the South London Jazz Orchestra back to perform at Jazz on the Lawn on Sunday July 17th. Our hosts again were the Streatham Park Bowls Club and an enthusiastic audience enjoyed the lovely grounds while listening to the sound of swing and eating delicious meals from our BBQ queen Jo or being tempted by the home made cakes on offer.  

                                  

                                       

The other staples of our calendar – the Quiz Night and the Christmas Market brought 2016 to a close. The Quiz on 21st November was full to capacity and was a fun and lively event as usual. Quizmaster Paul again had us all puzzled especially the round about bananas!

The Moyser Road Christmas Market is now a fixed event in our year, but as it continues to grow, we decided that in order to make it as safe as possible we needed to close the road to traffic. The Christmas Market Group canvassed all residents and businesses in Moyser Road for their opinion and as the overall response was positive we went ahead and arranged this. We also hired fixed stalls and were able to attract many more fabulous vendors. At 12 pm the road closed signs went up, the stalls were assembled and the stall holders started arriving. By 4pm the market was in full swing and excited children were waiting for Santa to arrive in his grotto and a special thank you to Ben for donning the red suit this year! Several choirs and a lantern parade all added to the sense of occasion and we were visited by Richard Field, the Mayor of Wandsworth as well as Dr Rosena Allin-Khan our local MP. FCN were there selling mulled wine and hot dogs and our thanks to Sainsburys Local of Mitcham Lane who donated over 100 mince pies and 150 hot dog rolls.

                           

At last year’s AGM we announced that we were planning a joint event with FACE to support their campaign for the teenage cancer chill out room at St George’s Hospital. We were fortunate enough to secure the services of Arthur Smith and the Smithereens for a special comedy night. This took place just a few weeks ago on Saturday 21st January at Chestnut Grove School. Arthur and Co performed the acclaimed ‘Arthur Smith sings Leonard Cohen’ show to a packed house.

                                

As well as this we launched the Furzedown 100 Club to also raise money for the FACE campaign. One hundred people signed up to pledge £2 a month for a year and every month we draw 3 winners and give away prizes of £50, £25 and £10. The remaining funds go to FACE and at January’s meeting we were pleased to present Graham Loveland the FACE treasurer with a cheque for £690 at the half way stage of the campaign.

Throughout the year Furzedown has been able to keep in touch through multiple social media. On Facebook 808 people liked our page; 2141 people follow us on Twitter and the amazing chat group has 2214 current members. The chatgroup continues to be a source of advice and  help as well as a place to appeal for items from phone chargers to a wooden leg! Our local MP, councillors, police and local businesses all posted so that Furzedown was always up to date on developments in the area. In June alone there were 820 messages and the major topic was of course Brexit. Other popular topics were dog poo and Chestnut Avenue. Each and every message is read and approved by our dedicated so a huge thanks to Suzanne and Vijay for their time and patience!

For 2017 we have another busy and eventful year including the Festival, the Big Day Out, Jazz on the Lawn, a Quiz and a Christmas Market. Look out for the flyers and posters advertising these events to make sure you don’t miss anything. All these take a lot of organisation and effort so we always appreciate any extra help.  Should you wish to be more involved there are a range of tasks that require many hands from delivering flyers to serving beer at the BDO, so if you think you could spare a couple of hours please get in touch. Or perhaps you might consider joining the FCN Committee? All volunteers and local residents, the Committee of 4 officers, 12 full members and 4 co-opted members meets once a month. These meetings take place on the second Sunday of the month at the Furzedown Project and are open to all Furzedown residents.

 

And finally don’t forget the upcoming Pantomime – Cinderella will be performed on February 17th and 18th at Graveney Lower School. Although not organised by FCN we are fully supportive of the panto team and hope to be there in force to cheer and boo!

Your continued support is invaluable and much appreciated.

 

Finola Williams, Chair, FCN