THE ROWLANDS CASTLE ASSOCIATION
“The aim of the Association is to conserve the character of Rowlands Castle, to provide a channel of communication on matters of local interest and to enhance the life of the village”, as stated on the RCA website
The Association has celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Coincidentally, but also appropriately, the chairman of the RCA Committee at the celebration was Catherine Billam whose father, Eugene, was chairman at the time of its inauguration over forty years ago.
“The RCA is an association formed by the residents of Rowlands Castle to represent the interests of its population. All residents over the age of 18 of Rowlands Castle, Finchdean, Dean Lane End and Forestside shall be members of the Association. Only members of the Association shall be entitled to vote at the General Meetings. There is no official membership fee although a donation is always welcome to support the activities of the RCA. Donations are collected annually.”
The Association is managed by the RCA Committee of some twelve eligible residents elected annually, who may only hold office for up to three years, and must then stand down. They may stand again several years later for a further tem of office.
“The Committee publishes a Village Magazine three times a year which is distributed free of charge to all residents. The Magazine contains a variety of articles, parish reports. A useful Village Directory lists the multiple organizations and contact numbers within the village.”
Another form of communications is ‘Grapevine’. This is an email list managed by the Rowlands Castle Association for the circulation of urgent news and information of interest within the village. Villagers who wish to take part must first register. They may then also send messages via the Grapevine co-ordinator.
A highlight of the year, the RCA organises the Bonfire and Fireworks on the village Recreation Ground on the Saturday closest to November 5th. It also organises other social events throughout the year such as Quiz Nights, a picnic on The Green to raise funds for Rowans Hospice, and a Christmas Party for children.
The RCA donates its surplus funds to support village clubs, groups and societies that need extra money for specific projects. The committee always welcome funding requests.
As a relatively informal organisation, the RCA is free to initiate new activities. In 2013, the Committee created a Rowlands Castle branch of the ‘University of the Third Age’ (U3A) for more elderly residents, which has proved very successful. In addition to its monthly meetings, U3A also has a number of groups studying topics of interest to its members. It is now run independently of the RCA.
In 2014, the RCA initiated a ‘Greening Group’ to encourage residents to live and behave in more environmentally friendly ways.
A ‘Rowlands Castle Heritage Centre’ was first proposed at the end of 2015. The RCA supported the proposal for creating a ‘virtual museum’ or website, with the prospect of a ‘real’ museum in due course. Based on existing archive, following an appeal for funding and then appointment of a web installer, the current website is being constructed.
The origin of this initiative goes back to earlier in 2015 when consideration was given to buying and displaying an iconic model railway of the village during the period of the D-Day Landings in 1944. Venues to house the model railway were considered including an option to lease rooms in the local railway station. These options remain open. Meanwhile progress continues with the website. The intention is that the ‘Museum’ should become independent with its own appropriate charitable structure.