Oxfordshire Community Foundation is bringing 90 guests representing local philanthropists, businesses and trusts and foundations together for a 21st-birthday celebration this Saturday at Broughton Castle, near Banbury. The event coincides with the launch of a new report that reveals the dark side of Oxfordshire.
While the county of Oxfordshire has many positive attributes, it also features great inequality. For every show of affluence for which places like Oxford, Henley and Chipping Norton are known, there are clusters of individuals and families living in poverty. OCF’s new report Oxfordshire Uncovered explores the hidden social problems in the county and the effect they have on the social fabric and cohesion of our community.
To do this, OCF has gathered together information from multiple sources, such as the UK census, the Director of Public Health Oxfordshire’s report and the Oxfordshire Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, and presented it in an accessible, visual way. This reveals the granular detail of the areas of social need specific to our county.
Some headline figures are:
- 15 neighbourhoods are in the 20% most deprived in England
- Oxford is the least affordable place to live in Britain, with houses costing 16 times the local annual income
- Around 600 people are homeless
- Oxford’s Key Stage 2 (age 7–11) school results are in the bottom 25% nationally
- There were nearly 10,000 cases of domestic abuse cases involving children in 2013–14
- On average, two children in every Oxfordshire classroom are young carers, and nearly 40% of them have special educational needs
- There are over 115,000 over-65s – the fastest-growing age group in the county, with around half of people aged 65+ saying TV or pets are their main company
The 30-page Oxfordshire Uncovered report paints a detailed and vivid picture of life in Oxfordshire, and suggests some solutions to the social problems the county faces that have come from the community. Many of these solutions have been enabled by funding from OCF and its donors, and the report and event at Broughton Castle are a call to action for philanthropists, local businesses and trusts and foundations to join the community foundation in alleviating deprivation locally.
Oxfordshire Community Foundation Chief Executive Jayne Woodley comments: “Despite the best efforts of the many thousands of small local charities and their generous supporters, we remain deeply concerned by a number of simply shocking and distressing social problems here on our doorstep in Oxfordshire and within our communities.
“With this report, we have chosen to highlight just a few of these problems. However, perhaps more importantly, we also share our aspirations for how we might pool our resources, focus our collective efforts and work in partnership to find solutions that will ensure a better future for Oxfordshire.”
OCF has also just published its 21-year impact report, highlighting the work that has already been going on to nurture community-based solutions to social problems since OCF was founded in 1995. The impact report celebrates the network of donors, volunteers, charities and influencers that have helped OCF grow, and outlines the community foundation’s desired approach looking ahead to the next 21 years.
Printed copies of both Oxfordshire Uncovered and the 21-year impact report are available on request.