Meeting Report October 2013

Although events for this year have come to an end, there is still much to do for this busy working group of volunteers.

Heritage Open Days
It was agreed that the daily guided tour of the Castle Heritage site on the four Heritage Open Days had been very successful despite the wet and windy weather particularly on the Sunday. The arrangement with guides at the Holy Sepulchre Church to hand over to them at the end of the FONC tour anyone wishing to tour the Holy Sepulchre worked well. As reported last month, the Heritage Open Days brochure produced by the Borough Council contained a number of errors regarding the FONC tours; although, the correct details were available on the Borough Council web-site. The relevant contact at the Borough Council had been notified that discrepancies in the publicity had caused some confusion on where to join the tour; which gave an initial impression of poor organisation. However, those members involved with the tours reported a high level of interest and had been thanked at the end of each tour. Given the demand this year, the possibility of having two daily tours next year will be considered.

Heritage Fair
There had been a steady flow of visitors to the FONC stand at the Heritage Fair. The Castle image jigsaws had proved to be a popular activity with the younger visitors and the colouring sheets and balloons had been readily scooped up.

There have been a number of requests for FONC to give talks and tours. Jon has been conducting tours of the Castle Heritage site to interested groups and Julia had recently given a talk to the Far Cotton History Group She had also given a presentation to the Year 5 group at Long Buckby Junior School; which had provided an opportunity for development and feedback of potential educational resources for use in schools.

Heritage Gateway
FONC is an equal partner in the Heritage Gateway project and accordingly, Marie continues to attend the monthly held meetings of the project board. She reported that there are positive signs that the medieval heritage of Northampton is and will be acknowledged in the town and not just in the castle area as shown in the naming of the new bus interchange. Members, whilst being fully aware that the North gate was situated at the other end of Sheep Street, acknowledged that the new interchange was located on the northern route out of the medieval town. It was hoped that this fact would be reflected in the recently announced commissioned artwork for the new building.

An amended Constitution had been drawn up in accordance with the changes agreed at the last meeting and would be posted on the FONC web-site.

It was agreed that Marie as Chairperson and Julia as Secretary would sign the Constitution on behalf of FONC members for inclusion in the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (see below).

Heritage Lottery Fund Bid
Marie further reported on progress in putting together the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a Becket event around St Peter’s and the Castle site next year to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the Becket’s trial at the Castle. In applying for funding the HLF need evidence of local commitment.  Marie had already approached two local councillors with a request to commit a sum in principle from their ‘Empowering Councillor Fund’ next year which could be included as a commitment in the bid. Both councillors kindly pledged their support; the sum together totalling £2,500.

Christmas Mailing
As a way of reminding local County and Borough councillors of FONC aims and soliciting continuing support, it was agreed to send all of them a FONC notelet containing a Christmas greeting.

Date and Venue of Next meeting
The next meeting will be held at 6pm on Friday 1st November at the Old Black Lion Pub.

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