Although we are not complacent, our first year has exceeded our expectations. We have fifty members from thirty nine addresses, making us one of the largest village organisations. Members include those whose families have been in the village for generations and more recent arrivals, a trend that we are very keen should continue. Ten of our membership addresses are not in Buckland Brewer and we have four overseas members, representing Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We hope we can carry the majority of these members forward with us into the next membership year and increase our membership further.
5 newsletters have been produced. These are distributed by email to all but two of our members. More newsletter material is always welcome.
We have established a website that received 8000 hits in its first year and hope to continue to develop this. Please do revisit this regularly as things are continually being added. It is possible to ‘follow’ the blog section, so that you are alerted by email when new news items are posted.
We are grateful to the PCC of St Mary and St Benedict for providing us with a venue for our meetings at a reasonable rate, as other options within the village would have been difficult on our budget. Attendance usually exceeds twenty. We have had a variety of excellent and interesting speakers, many from within our own membership. We have been very fortunate that few of these have charged us anything beyond expenses. We cannot rely on this continuing and we are allowing for more realistic speaker costs in our future budgeting. Our summer outings have also been popular and we plan to replicate that pattern next year.
It is our intention that membership and meeting fees should cover the costs of our meetings and basic administration and this has been the case. We do however need to finance our various projects and acquire essential items of equipment to help us in our work. We said at the outset that we did not want to become yet another village organisation that was competing for support for fund raising events. True to our word, we have sought financial support from elsewhere. The whole committee have been involved in sourcing and obtaining a series of grants and we are grateful to our funders Buckland Brewer Parish Council who have supported us twice, The Philip Milton Funds (Community Council of Devon, Councillor Robin Julian’s locality budget and Bideford Bridge Trust) for their support.
So far we have worked on several projects:
Oral history recordings
The hill fort survey
Photographing and transcribing of the parish’s gravestones and indexing the burial registers.
Work on the soldiers of world war one, with Buckland Brewer School.
Cyndy is maintaining our ‘tomorrow’s history’ file, recording today’s events for tomorrow’s historians.
Brenda is in the process of naming those in the parish millennium photographs.
Lyn and Chris have been working on a new edition of William Rogers’ history of Buckland Brewer.
It is part of our ethos to take history out into the community and involve those beyond our membership and we hope to continue with this. We held and exhibition to co-incide with the plant sale in May and we hope to repeat this.
Plans for next year include working with the WI and others to create a snapshot of Buckland Brewer in 2015, as the WI did in 1965. We also hope to help our further flung members feel more involved by offering online discussions via Google+. We shall be extending our World War 1 research to those who served and survived and inviting members and non-members to assist.
I would like to thank all those who have helped and supported us in any way; from making the tea, attending meetings and taking part in projects to paying a subscription.
Janet Few 2014