Following is a brief synopsis of different aspects of the operation for the past year and for each aspect, a view of the future direction we hope to take in the following 12 Months (financial year 2008-2009)
As President and speaking on behalf of the Central Coast community I thank the 07/08 committee [Nick Baron, Colette Baron, Glenn Cannard, Tim Green, Marilyn Heaton, Kelli Mason, Craig McMullen, Tracy McMullen, Brad Page, Noel Plummer, Rhona Roberts and Julie Smith] for their commitment, dedication, time and inspiration in both strengthening and growing the organisation.
As I said last year volunteers are “the key resource needed to sustain not only the philosophy but the practical aspects of presenting Brackets events”. Our regular and active volunteer numbers remain at an average of 16 at each of our events and over the last few events we have welcomed some new helpers. 12 of these people also held a responsibility on the Organising Committees for the full year and as customary we also have a number of ‘transient’ volunteers who are crucially important to ‘filling gaps’ and backing up the ‘permanents’. Particularly, I wish to commend the committed volunteers from the Northern tribe who have continued to take their event to new highs whilst achieving a high level of sustainability not only in resources and $ terms but in commitment from their volunteers and the wider community.
- Due to the importance of not only maintaining but increasing the volunteer numbers, a recruitment strategy continues to be developed and maintained to encourage more volunteers.
- It is hoped we can move toward contributing more to our volunteer costs which are currently borne mainly by the individual volunteers.
- In this coming year projects covering training and documentation of procedures will be continued.
Our membership has grown over the last year to 59.
Future: Effort will be expended to increase the number of members.
During the year additional and replacement kitchen equipment was purchased, additional leads and lights and ongoing maintenance to our ‘fleet’ [2 vehicles and 2 trailers].
- Continue with an upgrade/replacement programme for all equipment
Over the year we continued to run 4 acts on a Brackets night with ‘walk ons’.
During the year we produced 24 monthly events [incl 12 in North], 52 Djembeat nights and participated in 22 other community events, again an increase on the previous year and included Kids Day Out, International woman’s day, Whale Dreaming Festival, Dads Day Out with the Benevolent Society; ‘Stigmate’ Family Fun Day with ADSSI and Central Coast Health and a Youth Week generation celebration, to name but a few.
- Continue to support other community events whilst maintaining our monthly event frequency
- Hopefully continue with the ‘benefit ‘concept at a 6 monthly frequency
Event security has been a success in not only making volunteers feel safe but making the people who attend feel safe and secure. Thanks to MDB for their unflinching support throughout the year especially in supporting CoastFest and Brackets North
- Security will be maintained for the present and be increased as and when appropriate
In the last year attendances have increased slightly, Spring/summer average 340 per event, Autumn/winter 200 per event.
A wide range of socio-economic groups are represented as well as a diversity of cultures in both audience and performers. We continue to attract attendance from all age groups. The popularity of the events is still growing across all groups in the community. We welcome the commitment of many people with disabilities within the community who, in spite of the challenges met in accessing the venue, still support our events.
- Sealing the access road has continued to have an effect by increasing the number of visitors to the reserve and to events held at the Mud Brick Hut. Brackets as the largest regular and long term user of this wonderful community asset need to continue to be aware and notify appropriate agencies of community concerns and issues regarding the facility.
- Our positive partnership with Gosford Community transport to provide buses for our Kincumber events to ‘shuttle’ patrons up the mountain with the aim to relieve parking congestion continues. Our positive arrangement with Waterford Village to utilise their off street parking also continues.
It is with great satisfaction that in our 11th year I announce that the relationship with Gosford City Council has reached a positive and effective level regarding the management and maintenance of the Kincumber Mountain venue and its assets. Council have taken on the Bookings process and have undertaken to maintain the assets to an acceptable level in discussion with Brackets as and when appropriate. A great outcome, achieving our original objectives with income generated from hirings going back into the development and maintenance of the facility.
- Continue to work with both our regional Councils to strengthen the sustainability of our events to enable continuation of our community building activities
- We will continue working to develop and strengthen our relationships with other agencies to ensure sustainability of the organisation and events we produce or support.
Particularly over the past year with the commitment to CoastFest 08 and the work necessary in attempting to establish other events [Ipswich] more effort has been committed to administration, not only for our planned events but due to our involvement in the many other community projects. In addition, the complete integration of Brackets North and the increase in membership and volunteers that followed, as well as legislative constraints now imposed on community organisations places even greater pressure on conformance, governance and accountability than ever before.
The level of commitment needs to be continually monitored as resources are already stretched and as other tasks need to be undertaken eg; review of procedures, preparation of grant submissions, attendance at meetings and special projects, careful consideration needs to be given to priorities.
We need to consider how to resource administration requirements.
The organising committee of B&Jcc continues to embrace the use of computers for administration [accounts etc], marketing [press releases, web development etc] and communications [email, instant messaging, text etc].
This has resulted in faster and wider communications between the organising group and with outside contacts. I certainly believe that the organising committee would not be able to ‘stay on top’ of everything if it did not utilise technology as it does. It is exciting as we move forward embracing not only the lighting and sound technology utilised in presenting our events but to use radio communications, recording equipment at meetings and at live events as well as moving toward multimedia and film.
- As Brackets strives for more efficiency [volunteers have other lives] the use of technology can only increase as volunteers and performers alike adopt more efficient methods of communication especially as the use of computers becomes more widespread within community groups and individuals associated with Brackets & Jam across the Central Coast.
- We will endeavour to obtain funding for equipment to enable us to move more towards multi media and film so we may enhance our events as well as increase the skill within the community in utilising this type of technology.
Other Groups/Relationships in the past year:
Councils – We have had a strong on going relationship with both Wyong and Gosford council staff and Councillors during the year and I anticipate that that relationship will continue to grow and strengthen.
Djembeat – Percussion group, within Brackets & Jam & is comprised of Brackets volunteers & members of the wider community purely for entertainment & social discourse. This group meets every Thursday at Kincumba Mountain and visitors are always made welcome.
Finances:Thanks to Kelli Mason our Treasurer & Public Officer for getting to grips with the money stuff, particularly handling the complications of expansion along with our usual business. We are now registered for GST.
Brackets has managed to increase its working capital throughout the year.
The asset base of Brackets has increased with equipment and vehicle purchases
- To expand our operations through grants & possibly increased charges with the aim of acquiring services and equipment which we are currently unable to access, subsidising volunteer/performer costs and paying for administration services.
- It is important that within this process of expansion we avoid placing financial burdens on the organisation which can not be met in the event of a reduction in income.
Marketing in the last year has been minimal with dependence on web site, email, newsletters and word of mouth and due to the high levels of attendance at events marketing will continue at the current level.
This whole operation at both our monthly events has been an outstanding success and is a credit to the dedicated volunteers who unfailingly purchase stocks, prepare, cook, serve, sell then clean up at each event. Thanks to all the dedicated helpers who contributed throughout the year. We hope that more helpers for Brackets Kitchen functions will step forward not only to help in the kitchens at our events but offer to join the ranks of our dedicated cooks, new recipes and sharing of the load would be warmly welcomed. Also thanks to Council officers who provided advice and guidance. We have gained ‘Approval to operate a Tempory Food Business’ from Wyong Council for the Wyong LGA till 12 June 2009.
- No changes are anticipated, however it is expected that training will be encouraged in food handling techniques with new regulations coming into force this year.
- A positive ongoing relationship will be continued with council officers as appropriate.
- The ‘Fiddlin with Sound’ initiative proved such a success with sponsorship from both Workwise and Brackets it will be continued in the next year.
- New partnerships are being created to co produce events in the next year and further partnerships will be forged with other symbiotic organisations as opportunities arise.
In conclusion I would like to thank all volunteers, committee, performers and especially our audience who together make each and every event a success and I know that each and everyone will remain committed to our ideals and bring success to our future endeavours.
President - Brackets & Jam Central Coast Inc.