The Berin Centre is a new facility serving the village of Berinsfield, which houses many low-income families. The new centre is the culmination of a year of work by the community to replace and improve on services that were previously provided by the local government-funded children’s centre.
Berinsfield is large village between Abingdon and Wallingford that was built in 1958 to alleviate the post-war housing crisis. Now, a significant number of people in the village are in low-income jobs, and many residents have no educational qualifications at all. Economic and social deprivation tends to span generations. For young people, educational and career aspirations can be low, and truancy, drug use and anti-social behaviour are common.
The village’s dedicated children’s centre had been working with preschool-aged children for many years. However, in 2015, local government cuts meant that the children’s centre lost all of its funding and was at risk of closure. During 2016–17 OCF has been working closely with the management team to provide advisory and latterly financial support, initiating a collaboration between multiple local donors who have pledged funding for the next two to three years.
The Berinsfield Employment Action Group (EAG) saw an opportunity to marry up its service engaging adults in careers support with the work of the children’s centre. The EAG has since led the creation of a more comprehensive community hub, driven by the idea that the long-term wellbeing of a family requires a focus on adults and teenagers as well the youngest children. This is now known as The Berin Centre. OCF’s Chair John Taylor has joined the Berin Centre’s Board of Trustees, and led the official opening of the centre on 8th September 2017 (pictured).
The EAG has built on existing good relationships with local businesses, such as Williams Jet Tenders, to help inspire young people to imagine a different future. Centre Manager Linda Champion says: “We are most grateful to OCF for the excellent support and advice they have given us, helping to steer us through difficult times, linking us to a wider network and working alongside us as we take our exciting project forward.”
OCF hopes this work will be a test case for other forms of strategic partnership to help similar communities across the county.
If you are interested in finding out more, please contact John Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.