Leys News is a FREE community newspaper delivered monthly to over 5000 homes in Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys.


This issue includes:
  • New Blackbird Leys Pavilion
  • WANTED: Local Eco Champions!
  • Go Green on the Leys
  • Leys Community Market
  • BLAP latest!


New Parking for Blackbird Leys

29 January

High quality parking for 18 vehicles including a disabled parking bay have been provided at the junction of Blackbird Leys Road and Balfour Road. The Blackbird Leys Road scheme is the second parking scheme to be delivered this financial year as part of Oxford City Council’s Great Estates project. The scheme is to highway standards with a block paving finish and raised kerbs. New shrub beds and tree planting have been included in the finish. In addition, improvements have been made to the adjacent grassed area where bollards have been installed to prevent parking there. 

Areas that had been damaged by vehicle parking have been reinstated as part of the scheme.

Councillor Scott Seamons, Board Member for Housing and Ward Councillor for Northfield Brook, said: “This project has provided not only parking spaces for residents on Blackbird Leys road but also improved the quality of the external environment in this area—the main entrance to the Leys. Alongside the new parking spaces, new hedges and trees have been planted and the remaining grass will be protected, the end result is much tidier.

“Through this investment we are increasing the number of purpose designed off-street parking spaces, a move welcomed by local residents and a common request in our consultations surrounding Leys Regeneration.

“Our estates were built many decades ago when there were fewer cars. It’s important that we provide additional car parking spaces to meet demand and so people are not forced to park on the grass making the area look untidy.

“We have identified a number of further areas in Blackbird Leys and across the city for additional parking though with today’s financial pressures it will take time to deliver in all these areas.”

This is the second of five projects that Oxford City Council are working on to improve the parking facilities on the estates in Oxford. The team will be starting work on the third project in the series later this month at Monks Close in Blackbird Leys. Oxford City Council has approved planning permission for the five projects for this financial year, which form part of the capital programme of car parking works costing £500,000.

The Great Estates programme which alongside car parking schemes such as these will look to improve the environment in communal areas in and around flat blocks continues during the next financial year with an expanded budget of just over £1million to be spent across the city.

The Leys CDI Community Christmas Dinner - 25 December 2013

18 December

No one needs to be alone this Christmas.
The Leys Community Development Initiative (CDI) Community Christmas Dinner is available on 25 December 2013 from 1pm to 6pm at Blackbird Leys Community Centre, The Glowhall, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, OX4 6HW.

Dine-in and home deliveries for the elderly are also available. To place an order for home delivery or to book a Christmas dinner at Blackbird Leys Community Centre, please call 01865 395927.

Would you like to help?

Are you able to prepare part of the meal, deliver meals, help set up/clean up, serve, greet people at the door?
If you would like to volunteer or contribute in some way, please call 01865 395 927.

The coming of Christmas

18 December

FESTIVE celebrations started in The Leys with a very special community art project at The Church of the Holy Family.

Children from The Mabel Pritchard School helped to place a plaque on a huge advent calendar that has been created by local artists and members of the community.
The children were at the church for their production of the nativity and added the picture on their way home.

The advent calendar has been painted by Debbie Scrivener with help from Joey Philips and Poly Smart. For every day of advent,a wooden plaque has been created and a member of the community has been selected to place it on the mural. Reverend Heather Carter was so impressed with the reaction to a similar mural celebrating Easter, that the church decided to create a similar mural for Christmas.

Among those who are taking part are local MP and councillor Andrew Smith and The Bishop of Oxford. The church is also the venue for this year's community theatrical production. Rock Nativity combines traditional carols with gospel and rock music and singing and has a cast of 30 from across the community.

Written by David Wood, Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch, it will be performed at the church for three nights from December 12.

Leys News' Chairman Sasha East is among those taking part in the performance which follows the huge success of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in February.

You can follow the progress of the advent calendar mural by following the church on Twitter

Campaign to combat fuel and food poverty

31 October

WITH energy prices rising and food banks in more demand than ever, it is no surprise that many people will be faced with making the decision between eating regular meals or heating their homes this winter. In fact many food banks are already reporting that many people are asking not to receive food that needs to be cooked because they simply cannot afford the cost of cooking hot food, let alone buying it.

So how are you going to cope this winter and how are you going to make sure that you and your family stay healthy, well and warm during the colder months of the year?

There is no simple or easy answer to this extremely worrying situation, but this is a time when communities have to pull together and help each other to live as well as possible, for less.

There are plenty of resources available online that provide simple, cheap recipes that are still healthy and well balanced, and there are also plenty of tips for keeping warm and still saving on your fuel bills.

However, we would like to know what readers of Leys News will be doing this winter to ensure they stay warm and well. We are hoping that through the pages of your community newspaper, readers will contact us with information, tips, help and advice that will provide some realistic and practical solutions to anyone who is facing food or fuel poverty this winter.

We will then publish this advice in an attempt to support anyone who needs help to save money while staying well.

Our Save Money and Stay Well campaign has been launched to provide practical help to anyone who needs it. We want to hear from residents, community groups and organisations, schools, youth groups and anyone else who would like to share their ideas for keeping warm and well this winter.

Perhaps you have discovered a brilliant and easy to navigate website that offers loads of tips and advice, or perhaps you have encountered a blogger who regularly writes about these problems and is already sharing ideas.

Maybe you are a thrifty cook who can feed their family for £10 a week, or have you been slaving away on your allotment all summer to grow your own produce to save on food bills?

Have you used a foodbank and how has it helped you and your family? Do you make your own clothes, or bulk buy your oil and gas to save cash?

Whatever tips you have, no matter how simple and obvious they may be, we want to hear from you! We are planning to publish as many as we can in each issue of Leys News throughout the winter months to help everyone Save Money and Stay Well this Winter.

There will also be some great reader offers and competition prizes up for grabs so watch this space!

Please send your contributions to

Rock Nativity

30 September

A moment of laughter among some of the 25 residents who took part in a workshop for the musical, 'Rock Nativity'. It is scheduled for mid-December at the Church of the Holy Family.

The success of last year's community production of 'Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' has prompted the Blackbird Leys Choir and others to take up a new challenge.

At the time of going to press the production company still needs a young female singer, about 15 years old, to take the part of Mary. All residents are welcome to the next rehearsal which is at 6.30pm on Wednesday 2 October at the Church of the Holy Family in Blackbird Leys Road. Each weeks two-hour rehearsals will be at the same time and place. Child-care will be provided if children of budding thespians are too young to take part.

For more details contact Sasha on 07917704320

Leys Fair is Back!

30 September

By Cait Sweeney

IT IS BACK! After a two year absence, hundreds of families flocked to Blackbird Leys Park to enjoy the return of Leys Fair.

The event was organised by the Oxfordshire Play Association, who are passionate about play, and say: “Playing is magic for all ages, it excites, inspires, develops, challenges, raises confidence and, above all, it makes us feel happy.”

And a happy day it was! Packed full of free fun and entertainment for all the family; Go Karting, Body Zorbing, climbing walls, bouncy castles and D.I.Y face painting were just a few of the 80 activities on offer and most were available free of charge.

OPA are known for running play events and training throughout Oxfordshire, including one in Blackbird Leys Park last year, which was enjoyed by all those who attended, subsequently they were asked by the local parish council to organise the return of the fair, which they have been happy to do.

Organiser Jane Gallagher said: “It’s wonderful to see so many families having fun together in the park, it’s like an extended play day, with food stalls, local produce, arts and crafts, live music and entertainment too!”
The fair was funded with £10,000 of donations from Blackbird Leys Parish council and Oxford City Council; Northfield Brook councillors Steven Curran and Scott Seamons, and County Councillors Rae Humberstone and Val Smith donating £2,000 between them from their community pot. Funding also came through the housing association GreenSquare and a Community First Grant. The majority of the money raised at this year’s fair will go towards financing the fair next year.

So after a two year break, a tradition returns and after this year’s success it looks set to return again and again!

Diary Dates

20 Feb, 2014

FREE Family Dance Workshop - Leys Children's Centre, Cuddesdon Way. 10.15 - 11.45am. Toddlers and children - bring your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters for a morning of creative dance together! Contact 07746 139119.

22 Feb, 2014

Leys Community
Market at the Barn, Nightingale Avenue, 11am–2pm

25 Feb, 2014

Parish Council Meeting, 7.00pm.
For further details please go to the community website
If you would like to include your event tell us about it