An interview with Simon Fussell.
Our New Business Manager Simon Fussell
What are your main priorities for our charity?
There are, I think, four key objectives. Firstly to increase awareness about of the Buxton Civic Association and its importance as a guardian of the town heritage and its surrounding woodlands. This raised interest will generate more members - which is my second key objective. Thirdly we must maximise the potential of Poole’s Cavern and the Country Park as major attractions in the town and fourthly look at ways to develop new business opportunities and to generate the revenue required for BCA to fulfil its responsibilities to the town. I would encourage people to see Poole’s Cavern and the Country Park as a whole day out experience, incorporating the existing cave, Go Ape, and Country Park and additional attractions such as Country Craft days with Wild Food foraging, Flint Knapping and Falconry displays.
How else do you aim to put BCA on the local map?
Based on some conversations that I had running the successful stall, with BCA members, at the Spring Fair and the Charity Bazaar many local people are not aware that the Woodlands surrounding Buxton are owned and maintained by the Civic Association for the public. There is a vague assumption that the woods are owned by High Peak Borough Council or some other public body. So there is a need to raise awareness of the Civic Association and the work it has done, continues to do and will need to do in the future.
Some future projects include:
A NEW WEBSITE; We have plans to develop and launch a new website for BCA that will pull together the Civic Association, the Cavern and the Country Park under one consistent brand. The new website will enable members and non-members to have up to date information about their charity. It will be easier for members to comment on and raise issues.
OTHER WAYS TO KEEP IN TOUCH:
We plan to place a series of panels in the Cafe to explain the work that the Civic Association has done in the past, is doing in the present, and will need to continue to do in the future. Again this is about making people aware that the Buxton Civic Association is behind the cavern and the country park.
BUILD ON OUR LINKS WITH LOCAL SCHOOLS:
This is both to get the schools to use the woods and the cave as part of their curriculum activities but also to raise awareness about the work that the Buxton Civic Association does. Buxton Community School are interested in getting involved. In addition we will have a competition open to all local schools across the school age range to produce a painting or piece of poetry or prose that involves the Country Park in some way. This will, increase awareness of and
raise the profile of the Civic Association and give the opportunity to explain what we do to a wider audience and to attract the interest of the younger generation.
The plan is to announce the competition in the autumn with the judging to take place in the early summer.
We aim to get a survey carried out of the woodland birds. As well as being able to produce a guide book similar to the excellent one on wild flowers that was written by June Noble, it will provide us with a bench mark of species which we
can use to promote a range of educational activities with schools and members of the public. For example the sitting of species specific nest boxes in addition to the ones we already have, could enable us to set up nest cams and show the results on a screen in the cafe, “bringing the woods inside” in effect. Again this provides positive news stories as well as creating additional interest in the woods and the cafe.
Another project is to develop a corporate membership for the Civic Association and to look at ways of gaining corporate sponsorship to help defray some of the enormous costs faced when managing and maintaining woodlands. We would also
welcome the range of additional skills and expertise that companies may have to offer.
…How about an Ambassador for the Civic Association? We have had a number of suggestions but more are welcome, so if you know of anyone famous or wellknown who shares the values of the Civic Association and who might be interested then contact Poole’s Cavern or email: firstname.lastname@example.org where all ideas and suggestions are extremely welcome.