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OCF is at the heart of a new Banbury partnership that has received seed funding from the Placed Based Social Action programme, initiated by the Big Lottery Fund and Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

The Place Based Social Action programme is underpinning 20 different partnerships in diverse areas across England. These partnerships now have support to develop social action plans designed to address issues important to their local communities. The programme is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery money, and OCF has been successful in securing an initial £5,000 for a project in Banbury.

Age Friendly Banbury is an exciting new joint initiative to make Banbury a great place to grow older. There are already some great groups and opportunities for older people in Banbury, but for some older people poor transport, unsuitable housing, fear of crime, lack of community cohesion, limited care and support and difficulty finding or getting to social activities can get in the way of enjoying their later years. The initial focus is on older people, but our vision is of a ‘Banbury for all ages’ – a friendly and more accessible town for everyone.

The partnership brings together: community leaders, such as former local MP Sir Tony Baldry; older people and the charities that support them, including Oxfordshire Community Foundation, Age UK Oxfordshire, Katharine House Hospice, and the Royal Voluntary Service; businesses, including Sanctuary Housing, DCSWaitrose and the Banbury Chamber of Commerce; and local councils (Banbury TownCherwell and South Northants Districts and Oxfordshire County).

The Big Lottery and DCMS funding gives local people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services, using a structured methodology supported by Locality to design their local social action plan. In Banbury, OCF is hoping to build on social action that is already happening, highlighting best practice and examples for replication. This might be achieved by, for example, making stronger and more durable connections between existing agencies and services, such as Citizens Advice, GPs and Social Prescribing coordinators. The approach is to ensure shared understanding of the full spectrum of social action, and get everyone on the same road moving forward.

The project will kick off with a wide-ranging community engagement event on 20th June 2018.

In early 2019, up to 10 of the 20 partnerships nationally will go on to be awarded funding of up to £240,000 for three years to put their plans into action. Following this, up to five of these partnerships will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024. OCF is hoping to develop a strong programme in Banbury that will attract further support.

Find out more about OCF