Age Friendly Banbury moves closer to its frontline partners, as OCF hands over hosting of the project to Age UK Oxfordshire. The rest of the key partners, that have been part of the leadership group for Age Friendly Banbury since it formed in 2018, are still actively involved and committed to its success.
The leadership group is formed of Chair Sir Tony Baldry, High Steward of Banbury, Visit Banbury CIC, Cherwell District Council, Banbury Town Council, Royal Voluntary Service Oxfordshire, Citizen’s Advice North Oxon & South Northants and Age UK Oxfordshire. The leadership group is now joined by Banbury Community Action Group, who are very active in the area and already a firm supporter of age friendly initiatives locally. They run various activities and events at The Bridge Street Community Garden, where the new Age Friendly benches can be found.
Age Friendly Banbury has always been a collective of local organisations, open to sharing feedback and direction on a series of focused initiatives in the area. The key partners have been involved in Age Friendly Banbury since it officially launched in 2018, when representatives from local community organisations, along with individual older people, businesspeople and local councillors were invited to share their views and ideas about what the town is like as a place to grow old. Everyone gave overwhelming support for the new project.
Age Friendly Banbury now has a membership of around 200 older people, community leaders, local charities, businesses, and local councils. Bee Myson joined as a dedicated resource to the partnership in July 2019, having already been a volunteer. OCF is sad to be saying goodbye to Bee, who through the pandemic was able to join our virtual team meetings. Bee will continue in her role, hosted now by Age UK Oxfordshire. Bee’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the partnership has ensured a growth in support, reflected in the increase in membership, who receive a monthly email update. There are also now resources to promote the Age Friendly Banbury pledge – encouraging Banbury businesses, groups and organisations to become age friendly and help to unite the town in being mindful of its older residents and how they access services locally. Those adopting the pledge also have access to training that will help educate and upskill their employees, volunteers and management.
There have also been a wide range of events (the pop-ups!) to help connect people in Banbury and create a more age friendly community. On the International Day of Older Persons in October 2021, over 20 partner organisations gathered to share and celebrate their creative initiatives enabling older residents, through the use of technology, to continue to receive support and services during lockdown. Through the Connect! project, older individuals are also being supported in using devices and to become more digitally included.
OCF will remain an advocate and ally of Age Friendly Banbury and other partnerships in the future, whilst focusing our efforts on bringing greater philanthropic support to charitable organisations in Oxfordshire. OCF is deeply committed to tackling the most pressing problems facing our county over the long term, building thriving communities via effective philanthropy and grant funding.