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Our Annual Gathering

It was our AGM yesterday. For those of you who were unable to make it, here's the gist of my Annual Review:

'By way of background, Felbeck Trust was registered as a Norfolk wildlife charity in 2016. We are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, CIO, which provides the legal and financial framework to own, lease or manage land. We are governed by a Board of Trustees, who are accountable for the Trust to the Charity Commissioners and oversee the day to day management. They are supported by the work of a Funding sub-group and the Habitat Management sub-group, each chaired by a Trustee. Felbeck Trust works in partnership with a number of other local organisations: Norfolk Rivers Trust, North East Norfolk Bird Club and Aylmerton Field Study Centre and receive support and advice from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and National Trust. Felbeck Trust has an excellent website where you can find further information about our purpose, projects and events.

At this point let me pay tribute to our Trustees, to recognise their enthusiastic and unfailing contributions, including that of Adam Little our first Treasurer, and Jane Williams our webmaster, who are both stepping down in the coming year. I’m delighted to welcome Ian Bowland and Phil Harrison, who will be taking over from Adam as our Treasurer at the start of our new financial year. A big thank you also to Helen Dawson our dedicated and tireless Secretary, Kate Prout our publicity and 'social media guru' and Peter Maingay our recently appointed Volunteer Coordinator. Without the Trustees little of sustainable value would be achieved.

I’d also like to extend my thanks to our Friends, Volunteers and supporters (some of whom are here this evening) - without your concern, commitment and sheer hard work, nothing would get done!

Well, 2018 didn’t turn out to be quite what we expected when we met here last November! Not surprisingly most of our effort & energy during the year became increasingly focused on our fund-raising work in respect of Spurrell’s Wood. In a little over 12 months, between us, we raised nearly £50,000 to pay for the wood, meet legal & professional fees and commence some of the initial habitat management work. We are particularly grateful to Postcode Local Trust - supported by players of the Peoples Postcode Lottery and other grant-giving bodies like Geoffrey Watling and the British Birds Charitable Trust. We received numerous other donations, both personal and corporate, and your collective support of our various fund-raising initiatives - our sponsored nest-box event, Folk evening, Open Days, ebay sales and so on, ensured that we had sufficient funds to complete the purchase by late November. A personal thank you from me to all those involved.

Despite our unwavering focus on the Spurrell’s Wood Appeal, we have been engaged with other projects during the year: we’ve signed 10 year Management Agreements for West Beckham Green and East Beckham Common, we continue to work with Melton Constable and Thornage Parish Councils over their potential projects and we are hopeful of restarting work on Mallett’s Meadows at some point in the not-too-distant future. We continue to have discussions about new potential sites - another at Thornage and I’m visiting one tomorrow in the Beckhams. We continue to support The Swift Trust in a joint project at Cley and we are fully engaged with Norfolk Wildlife Trust through their Wildlife in Common project and the Upper Bure Valley Partnership - in their Riverlands project. We’re also hopeful of working with University of East Anglia on a Hawfinch project over the coming months.

In the two years we’ve been in existence Felbeck Trust is already making a difference: restoring habitat for wildlife, opening up access for people to learn about & enjoy the countryside, and monitoring flora & fauna to detect trends and inform future conservation activity. But none of this would have been possible without your continuing support, your generous donations of both time and money - over 1500 hours at Sustead Common alone - a huge thank you to one and all. '

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