Daily Archives: 12th February 2018

Goodbye BFRA

BFRA blossoms into new Community Interest Company for Saxmundham
The Brook Farm Residents Association (BFRA) has recently undergone a major step-change, to reflect significant advances since its formation. It has grown into a fully-fledged social enterprise – the Saxmundham Music & Arts CIC (‘SMART’). It now runs as a community interest company, with the social aim of providing music and arts events, primarily for all the residents of Saxmundham. All the directors are volunteers, and all profits are ploughed back into the company to meet its community remit.
The Brook Farm Residents Association (BFRA) was formed in 2004 when the Brook Farm development was still rolling out.
Now that the Brook Farm development of c.600 homes has matured the needs for the objectives diminished. Social events such as the annual BFRA Family Fun Day, grew year-on-year and, in 2014, ‘mutated’ into the annual free summer Sax Music Fest – held on the Memorial field and open to all residents of the area.
As success grew on success, this event – the biggest free social event for everyone in the area – just got bigger and bigger, attracting an audience of over 2,000 in 2017. At the same time, costs began to rise steeply in order to put on a professional show, with workshops, a range of artists, promotion, staging, sound systems, lighting and security. Fundraising became a full time job. Various sponsors have stepped in, e.g. the Lottery, Saxmundham Town Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council and SADCIC. But to put everything on a more business-like and professional footing BFRA as an ‘unincorporated association’ has been dissolved. To help with the formation of the ‘SMART’, and gain more sponsors, Suffolk Coastal District Council awarded BFRA a grant to employ local marketing consultants Bridge Marketing to help with this growth. ‘SMART’ became incorporated on November 24th in 2017. Now all the funds and resources of the old BFRA are being transferred to ‘SMART’, with the aim of the new social enterprise becoming financially self-sustaining by 2021. And, at the same time, the aim is to develop an annual programme of various music and arts events in and around Saxmundham.
“Since setting up BFRA in 2004, and being its first Chairman, I’m very proud of this growing legacy for everyone in Saxmundham. And now, as the last Chairman of BFRA, I’m very happy to that former Chairman of BFRA, Terry Barrow, is to carry on leading the festival operation. I’m sure his tremendous past work, in getting the Sax Music Fest off the ground, will ensure that the new company goes from strength to strength” says Don Tricker, BFRA Chairman.
“We all owe Don Tricker a big vote of thanks for starting BFRA initiative over 13 years ago, when he first moved to Saxmundham, and I wish him well with his other 2 successful ventures – PASTEL CIC and SADCIC” – and not forgetting all of the Brook Farm residents and volunteers who have supported BFRA for the past 13 years, to make it one of the largest paid-up residents association in East Anglia. Without this extra help the BFRA could never have grown and flourished and we look forward to more volunteer support with ‘SMART’.” stated Terry Barrow, MD, Saxmundham Music & Arts CIC.
For further information on ‘SMART’ and the Sax Music Fest, please check www.saxmusicfest.co.uk, and those wishing to enquire about volunteering to join specific roles eg marketing with the ‘SMART’ management or operational support teams, please speak to Terry Barrow on 07771-877454.