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  • Brookmans Park Village Day: June 16, 2012

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Offline Conor

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2012, 11:00:47 pm »
Dear Helen

Thank you for your detailed reply. I understand that you do have a fine balancing act to draw between raising money for the school and providing good value activities for the community, however following Peeplins requests, a couple of specifics for you!

(i) I understand that all external stall holders are charged to attend. Commercial organisations I can understand, but if you are claiming to be supporting the community it seems - at best - mean to be charging local charities the privilege of attending the day. Did you charge the group of kids raising money for their D of E trip to attend? What about that guy who was raising money for his sponsored cycle ride or the local scouts? I know from the minutes on the school PTA website that you made around 11,000 last year for the school - I can't imagine the amount you collect from the local groups like the above amounts to more than a couple of hundred of this. Would the committee consider not charging local voluntary groups in the future to help support the community?

(ii) Fairy cakes, 30p each? That seems pricey. I was also disappointed when I paid 2 for a hot dog not to even get a proper sausage with it - just a frankfurter. The ice cream prices were the most I have ever seen as well, although I appreciate they may not have been set by the PTA. If they were though, they were a lot higher than I have seen elsewhere.

I appreciate what you say about external inflatables etc costing money and I have been impressed by the creativity of the committee over the last few years to vary the range of activities on offer to keep everything fresh and new. I thought the live music this year was excellent.

Village Day this year, as usual, appeared to be incredibly well organised - the committee must have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to pull all the pieces together. I apologise if you found my post overly negative - it is fantastic to see so many people at a well-run day, however I think it would be even better if a bit more thought was given to the wider community.

Conor
 

Offline Helen

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2012, 11:51:59 pm »
Thanks for the specific feedback Conor, it's much more useful for us going forward.

i) Firstly, all the charities get a free pitch - it's something I would have mentioned in my previous email but to be honest, I thought it was well known that that we support & welcome local charities to the event. And no, of course we didn't charge the D of E lad!!! To my knowledge, the only exception this year was one of the charities that was new to Village Day - in their case they paid a 'lifelong memebership' fee - meaning that they will not get charged for a pitch in subsequent years. In addition to this we work with some of the charities you mention to see how we can help them further - you may have noticed that in the last 2 years we have 'donated' our very lucrative Beat The Goalie attraction to the North Mymms Youth Project to run &, consequently, to pocket the profits. So yes, your suggestion that we don't charge voluntary organisations has in fact already been implemented - probaby for decades! (one thing to note, for the sake of clarity, is that a few of the charities may take multiple pitches & in that situation we negotiate a rate).

ii) Appreciate your comments about the food. The price of cakes has been the same for years but I agree that maybe we can review this - perhaps sell cakes by the plate rather than indiviually (& do so more cheaply).

The frankfurter idea was one that we decided to go with this year as we've had requests for them in the past &, given the queues last year on the BBQ this was a quicker & easier type of sausage to cook. We made sure the signs ('American Style Hot Dog') made it clear so that people knew what they were getting. So far we have had dozens of positive comments about them but also 2 negative ones so we shall continue to gather feedback & then make a decision next year based on this. The ideal for customers would be both but it makes it much harder to cater for people, numbers-wise, & we would hate to waste the food at the end of the day.

Interesting to note your comments about the ice cream van - yours is the first comment I've received & I had no idea what she was charging on the day as she set her own prices. However, the prices she emailed to us before Village Day looked reasonable so I will investigate further.

I'm glad you liked the band, Headz - we think that live music is a really important part of the atmosphere (we loved the Herts Showband last year too)!

We would welcome feedback - good or bad (as long as it's constructive!) - either on this forum or by IM as we try very, very hard to listen to comments & act on them to improve on things the next year. We sent out a questionnaire to parents this year asking for feedback &, as a consequence, (amongst other things) brought in a wider variety of food stalls this year, including Bengal Paradise. In addition the staff at Brookmans ran our bar for us which was very much appreciated.

We know from experience that organising an event of this scale is a thankless task & one that is almost a full-time (unpaid!) job for many months of the year & we know we can't keep everyone happy. But we DO listen so, as I said, please let us know what you think!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 07:50:01 am by Helen »
 

Offline Peter Hastings

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2012, 08:05:14 am »
Yes I would always take a sausage over a frankfurter but you have to go with what is going to sell most.

The ice creams were very expensive compared to our local ice cream van here in Little Heath.

The small bouncy castle slide was 5 goes for 1 for toddlers which was great value. The larger assault course type bouncy element at 2 for one go seemed very expensive.

We enjoyed the live music. The auction seemed more of a struggle than the highlight it has been in previous years. I don't know if that was the windy weather or if it was harder to find the focus of the event with the band in one place and the arena elsewhere? Something to ponder.

I think the input of outside commercial interests is another wider debate. The people running the event have become very commercially aware and have clearly found a large source of income there.

It seemed to me to be fuller and more lively than some in the past and overall we were pretty impressed.
 

Offline sharks

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2012, 08:54:14 am »
I would just like to add that this year was the first time in 23 years that I have not attended Village Day........ I feel that the day is not a joy anymore, i don't know if its down to the people that organise it.  A few years ago I had the pleasure of helping to organise and run this event and I must say we had a really good day and raised one of the highest ammounts.

These days it seems to be all down to the Auction which I feel should be taken away.  It used to be that all the good donations were always put into either a raffle or into the tombola and this was where most of the money was raised as people would spend more to get a better prize. These days all you seem to get in the tombola is the odd bottle of wine or a can of soup. :(

Lets hope next year ir goes back to how it used to be.......
 

Offline Conor

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2012, 10:07:19 am »
Dear Helen. Thank you for your detailed reply. I am glad to hear that you are not charging some charities, however...

Thanks for the specific feedback Conor, it's much more useful for us going forward.

To my knowledge, the only exception this year was one of the charities that was new to Village Day - in their case they paid a 'lifelong memebership' fee - meaning that they will not get charged for a pitch in subsequent years.

Why?? You can't surely raise very much through that and it's hardly an incentive for new charities or organisations to get involved if they are being charged!

Quote
In addition to this we work with some of the charities you mention to see how we can help them further - you may have noticed that in the last 2 years we have 'donated' our very lucrative Beat The Goalie attraction to the North Mymms Youth Project to run &, consequently, to pocket the profits. So yes, your suggestion that we don't charge voluntary organisations has in fact already been implemented - probaby for decades! (one thing to note, for the sake of clarity, is that a few of the charities may take multiple pitches & in that situation we negotiate a rate).

Again (and just thinking out loud) -there didn't seem to be a particular shortage of space this year, so is there any need to penalise local charities in this way?

Quote
We know from experience that organising an event of this scale is a thankless task & one that is almost a full-time (unpaid!) job for many months of the year & we know we can't keep everyone happy. But we DO listen so, as I said, please let us know what you think!

I am sure people are much more ready to criticise than they are to praise, and there are a lot of positives about village day. The turnout each year - despite the best of the English Weather -  shows that by and large you have a large number of people ready to support it, but sharks comment above, 'we raised one of the highest amounts' seems to indicate that the priority of the committee at least for a few years has been to raise the maximum amount of money rather than give a true community event and I do wonder whether the priority has shifted somewhat!

Conor
 

Offline Helen

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2012, 11:17:28 am »
Thank you all for your comments. I'm afraid I'm not very good at using the 'quote' buttons so I'll just comment in general.

Village Day, in my view, is about a balance between raising money for the school & giving people a good day out. Both I & another committee member were at the primary school ourselves 30 years ago & remember Village Day with fondness. When I became Village Day committee chair last year I wanted to recapture some of the things that I enjoyed all those years ago - the dressing up, the live music, the programme cover drawing competitions, the central arena displays, the pony rides. Sadly there were no swingboats available for hire & obviously win a goldfish is now a no-no!!

So we came upon the Record Breakers idea last year, complete with the Herts Showband, & knew that what we would lose in revenue (because of nearly 400 people being involved in the World Record for 45mins rather than buying burgers & playing the Coconut Shy!) we would make up for in (hopefully!) a sense of achievement. And we received some very positive comments from so many people about how Village Day reminded them of the ones they went to here when they were younger. However, there was still that element of 'oh you didn't make as much money as previous years' which rang in our ears afterwards.

This year, yes we made some mistakes - I feel personally responsible for the inflatable assault course being so short but it was a new attraction to the hirer as well as to us so I was going to make a call on it once I'd seen it & then apprise the parent helpers taking the money to e.g. send children round twice, set up competitions etc but, what with the gale force winds, the broken gazebos, the stallholders all wanting to move inside etc we were totally behind schedule setting up & I just did not get a chance with everything else going on.

And yes, we do invite commercial stallholders in because it's a very big area & can look very empty without the volume (plus of course it's a good money-earner!). And, honestly, every year we seem to be running fewer & fewer school-run stalls because we just can't get the helpers. Every year we have lots of great ideas as to what we can run but end up scaling back when we realise we have nobody to run it. When I was at school, dozens of parents (including many men) were on the committee but, with so many more people working & trying to make ends meet, there are now just a handful of women on the Village Day committee (many of whom also work full-time).

We totally understand your point about the auction vs. the raffle &, as such, try to keep a balance between the two. The auction was much harder work on the day than it normally is & I think the howling gale was a big part of that, but we are not going to stop doing it because we have many requests for it every year & we are lucky enough to get some fantastic prizes such as meeting & greeting JLS or going for a Spurs hospitality day with Gary Mabbutt which people clamour for as these things are not avaialable in the open market. Plus of course we make alot of money for our school.

Sharks's inference is that the raffle & tombola don't give good prizes any more but I would beg to differ - maybe Sharks has just been unlucky! Some of the tombola prizes donated are fantastic - wine, bubbly, new toys & games, chocolates, toiletries, books - & we're very lucky that the parents are so generous with their donations. I think maybe Sharks is looking through rose-coloured spectacles as I remember winning many cans of soup, wine (which I'm not sure I should have been allowed!!) & one very memorable monogrammed hanky set when I was a child!

And as for the raffle, we had quite a number of positive comments about the quantity & quality of this year's prizes (I've attached the list for Sharks to see as he/she didn't come along this year) - a dozen meals or takeaways at local restaurants, photography sessions, singing lessons, tutoring sessions, beauty treatments, to name but a few. It's hard work asking for donations but the local businesses have been wonderfully generous once again & we salute them. In addition we wrote to many large national attractions for raffle prizes but sadly many of them said no or didn't reply. They must get thousands of requests at this time of the year.

Conor - we will review our charities policy again next year but I hope you understand we're trying to be fair to all of them.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 11:57:07 am by Helen »
 

Offline southbury

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2012, 12:23:06 pm »
Where is Noel Edmonds when you need him ?

For any disatisfied Tombola Prize 'winners' how about setting up a swap Shop ?

I'll go first . I offer a bottle of Blue Nun ( a cheeky 2007 with plenty of dust and sticky fingers marks on the bottle ) and I am searching for either a tin of Chick Peas or the Bronze Otter we had on the Scout Tombola .
 

Offline Helen

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2012, 12:35:00 pm »
Ooh, that bronze otter sounds like a collector's item! I'll up the ante & offer a bottle of 1972 dessert wine & a pair of girls' purple sunglasses for the otter.

Talking of swap shops, it was too late to do anything about it, but when we saw the torrential rain last Monday & the horrifying initial weather forecast for the weekend one of the committee members had an excellent idea - bring your old outgrown wellies to Village Day, go to the Welly Swap Shop stall & upgrade them for a 'new' pair! See, we do have good ideas!  ;)
 

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2012, 01:24:55 pm »
Surely it's about supporting what is essentially the local school fete.  Tombola prizes have always included the odd tin of soup - although i was lucky enough to get two bottles this year  ;D

I don't have children but went down to support the event as did a number of others i know in similar circumstances.  It is very easy to critise but usually finding help for these events is not easy - i'm sure the organisers will be grateful for any help in implementing these new suggestions for 2013.

Raffle prizes looked good i thought!
 

Offline Conor

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2012, 02:00:21 pm »
It is very easy to critise but usually finding help for these events is not easy - i'm sure the organisers will be grateful for any help in implementing these new suggestions for 2013.

Interesting thought (and trying to be more constructive rather than moaning) - I know that it must be getting harder and harder to find helpers, but have the PTA ever considered asking for help outside the school with organising the day? I know you put requests on the website for things like china for the crazy kitchen, but have you ever asked for help on the organisational front? You never know, people may come forward. OK, so they may not, but there is probably no harm in trying?

Buster - I agree that it is essentially a local school fete - the point I was trying to make originally was that if it is being branded as 'village day' rather than 'brookmans park school fete' more emphasis should be put on the wider community.

Conor
 

Offline Conor

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #40 on: June 20, 2012, 02:18:47 pm »
However, there was still that element of 'oh you didn't make as much money as previous years' which rang in our ears afterwards.

But like you said, people had a good time - I did mean to say that I thought last year's world record was a great idea. I think, from memory, you made around 11,000 for the school last year - are there any other state primary schools in the country that make that much from their school fete?

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When I was at school, dozens of parents (including many men) were on the committee but, with so many more people working & trying to make ends meet, there are now just a handful of women on the Village Day committee (many of whom also work full-time).

Would it be worth asking, like i suggested above others in the community to help then? Would the Rotary Club for example be wiling to help? Obviously you might have to share some profits with them, but that comes back to what the aim of the day is?

Quote
Conor - we will review our charities policy again next year but I hope you understand we're trying to be fair to all of them.

Sure.

Conor
 

Offline LongTallSally

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #41 on: June 20, 2012, 05:08:56 pm »
Helen,

See I'm not good with quotes either!
 
I do sympathise with your problems getting volunteers and it does seem to be a common problem these days. I was wondering if you had considered allocating stalls to either school years or classes? That way, the pool of people per stall is much smaller and from my experiences at my children's primary school, it has been very effective in encouraging more people to come forward.

Be it called Village Day or Brookmans Park School Fete, it's purpose is to raise funds for the school and it requires a lot of hard graft for everyone. I know from past involvement in school events, just how much work goes into organising events such as these.

If the pitches are free for charities, that is a great improvement and I applaud the person who came up with that idea. Makes a welcome change from when, not only did the charities have to pay for their pitch, but the school also wanted a percentage of the profits too! Though I'm pleased to say that idea got shot down in flames  :)
 

Offline Helen

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2012, 08:08:15 pm »
Thanks everyone for your comments. We'll certainly bear them in mind for next year.

I do sympathise with your problems getting volunteers and it does seem to be a common problem these days. I was wondering if you had considered allocating stalls to either school years or classes? That way, the pool of people per stall is much smaller and from my experiences at my children's primary school, it has been very effective in encouraging more people to come forward.
Yes we do it this way too. It certainly helps but we're often asking at least 1/3 class to help so it's still hard!

If the pitches are free for charities, that is a great improvement and I applaud the person who came up with that idea. Makes a welcome change from when, not only did the charities have to pay for their pitch, but the school also wanted a percentage of the profits too! Though I'm pleased to say that idea got shot down in flames  :)
Wow! Is that really what used to happen?!

I think I've kind of learnt how to do quotes!  :)
 

Offline North Mymms Youth Project

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #43 on: June 20, 2012, 09:35:04 pm »
you may have noticed that in the last 2 years we have 'donated' our very lucrative Beat The Goalie attraction to the North Mymms Youth Project to run &, consequently, to pocket the profits.

Not too profitable this year unfortunately - there are some very talented youngsters who did quite well and got a lot of footballs out of us reducing our margins somewhat! But we are very grateful to the PTA for letting us run it for the past two years (and if we are allowed to run it again next year will be changing the rules slightly...)

James
North Mymms Youth Project
www.nmyouth.org.uk - 01707 444420
 

Offline LongTallSally

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #44 on: June 20, 2012, 09:39:58 pm »
I think I've kind of learnt how to do quotes!  :)

Me too!  ;D
 

Offline Helen

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #45 on: July 06, 2012, 01:06:56 pm »
Village Day photos are now online!

Click on the link http://www.brookmans.com/galleries/ or go directly to the album in this forum's photo gallery.

Helen


Note: Edited only to add link to photo gallery.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 02:18:08 pm by David Brewer »
 

Offline southbury

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2012, 04:19:01 pm »
Th bloke in the Squirrel outfit looks like a bit of a show off !
 

Offline Helen

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Re: Brookmans Park Village Day Sat 16th June
« Reply #47 on: July 06, 2012, 04:20:19 pm »
The Hertfordshire deer Southbury, not a squirrel! Yes, I wonder who he was...?  ;)
 

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