Report by chairman Les Goddard for the year 2016-2017

FOLLOWING last year’s AGM my committee colleagues asked me to continue in the role of chair of the Association which I was happy to accept. We formally welcomed Brian Lister to the committee in the role of Treasurer and Richard Hunt adding a second ward councillor to our number.

We repeated the two major events we introduced to our programme in 2015/16 – Music on the Lawn and the Scarecrow Festival which again proved to be very successful. Our second outdoor concert featured a classical violinist and by the time this report is presented our third such event will have featured a folk band. In September 2016 our second Scarecrow Festival was, in my opinion, the best event the SCA has ever staged in bringing the whole community together. You are probably aware that preparations for this year’s event are well underway.

The festive season commenced with the Christmas tree light-up. Our grateful thanks go to those of you who responded to our appeal for donations, which went some way to covering our costs. The switch-on was followed by an entertaining evening at Sandal Castle School.  Following discussions at last year’s AGM we have pursued the planting of a “live” Christmas tree and hope to have that in place in the autumn. Early December drew another packed house to the West Yorkshire Sports Club where we enjoyed listening to the Horbury Victoria Youth Brass Band. We plan to repeat both these popular events prior to Christmas this year.

These events were augmented by a few old favourites such as the Cheese and Wine evenings, litter picks and helping local charities. Despite technical difficulties our brave bear, Scamp, was easily the biggest individual donor to local hospice charities when he made a sponsored skydive in a Teddy Bears' Parachute Jump organised by Wakefield Rotary Club.

In the current year we will again be staging a few more “firsts”. However, if you have any ideas for future functions we would welcome suggestions, particularly if you are willing to help with the organisation. One of my key aims as chair of the Association is to engage with the wider community so please let me know of any ideas you have to enhance community spirit and inclusivity within Sandal.

On the communications front, the website continues to be updated, our Facebook “likes” increased from around 1200 to over 1700 in the last year and we’re on twitter at “sandalvillage” in addition to continuing to update our members through regular emails.

So 2016/17 proved to be another good year for the Association with membership increasing substantially to over 410 households in the financial year. Thank you to those members who have continued to support the Association and we extend a warm welcome to those who have joined during the year.  We will strive to increase membership again during the coming year. Membership new/renewal letters will again be distributed to approximately 3,000 households with our autumn newsletter prior to the 1st October renewal date.

Finally, I would like to thank both the committee and the members who regularly assist us at events for their work and support during the year. This year I would particularly like to thank Mike Fewster and Richard Binnington for the refurbishment of the Violet Moxon bench on Sandal Avenue. We are anticipating welcoming Roger Brown and Sarkis Kupelian formally onto the committee at the AGM and if anyone else wishes to join us please contact myself or any other committee member.

Les Goddard

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