The Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation has been established as a company limited by guarantee and was granted Charitable status in August 2016. Between now and 2020 it will seek to attract funds, sponsorship and voluntary support to assist in the town’s centenary celebrations and to create a legacy for the benefit of garden citizens into its second century.
If the celebrations are to be a success, then they must be locally rooted, springing from the initiatives of community organisations, businesses, schools, places of learning, local authorities and, of course, the residents themselves. The Foundation will work actively with all these groups, offering coordination and support in the run up to 2020.
For the Centenary to be a success, it must have an impact in the years leading up to 2020, in that year and over the longer term. voluntary effort, money and ‘in kind’ resources will be needed. Some initiatives can be achieved at nil cost if existing programmes can be adapted. The many societies and voluntary organisations that the town boasts will want to mark the celebrations in their own way and the Foundation will be there to assist.
However, most initiatives will have a cost, large or small. Some will have on-going revenue costs and it is vital that long-term costs are factored into budgeting. A legacy extending into the second century of the garden city is an ambition which can only be realised if projects are underwritten in this way.
Experience from elsewhere also points to the great value of having volunteers widely involved (the Gamesmakers made a huge contribution to the success of the Olympic Games for example and allowed many people to share closely in the excitement of the occasion). Volunteering will give both older and particularly younger people the opportunity to ‘be part of it’ which will make the celebrations even more meaningful, even more successful, even more lasting.