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


This issue includes:
  • Success for weekly market
  • BLAP news
  • The People's Assembly
  • Leys CDI
  • Have a Crafty Christmas!


It’s time to GO Active, Get Healthy for 2015!

18 December

Do you need a little push to get back into exercise after the excess of Christmas? If so, GO Active, Get Healthy could be just right for you.

GO Active, Get Healthy is a brand new free to join programme available across Oxfordshire, designed to support people to become more physically active by connecting them with a range of activities and opportunities and will provide motivational support to help get people started and keep them on track.

If you're not currently doing any physical activity then this programme is perfect for you. You’ll be offered lots of additional support including motivational coaching on the telephone, subsidised activities and on-going support to help you make a change.

As part of GO Active, Get Healthy participants will receive between one and three Motivational Coaching sessions, all done over the phone at a convenient time, up to £100 of activity vouchers that can be used at local leisurse centre to try out a class, go for a swim or try the gym, and a further £60 of incentive vouchers for keeping in touch with the programme part of the long term support package.

There is also Information on ways to get active across Oxfordshire, with opportunities for people to let the team know what activity they would like to have available

Haven’t done anything for a while? Short on time? Need to relax? Not sure what activity to do?

If these questions sound familiar, then get in touch with the GO Active, Get Healthy Team and take your first step to becoming more active.

Go to GO Active website
ring 01865 252606
or email goactive@oxfordshiresport.org

The People's Assembly

18 December

AN organisation that aims to help people fighting for benefits and support public services is calling for new members. The Oxford People's Assembly is not linked to any political party and its aims are to support and encourage all those who would act to protect public services.

Carol Stavris from the OPA said: “The banking crisis of 2008 impacted disastrously on vast numbers of working-class people as austerity policies cut social and welfare spending. People have seen their wages held down for years, their benefits cut and their standard of living rapidly declining. Oxford housing costs are high but, generally, wages are not, so many struggle to pay their rent or mortgage, putting their home at risk. The 'Bedroom Tax' forces those least able to pay into making distressing choices. Those with a disability have had to face gruelling tests to prove they qualify for their allowances.”

It is against this background that the People's Assembly was formed, with major Trade Union support, as part of a national movement linking together local campaigns and groups into a broad network which could respond to attempts to reduce or remove community and welfare services.

The Oxford People's Assembly is supported by Oxford and District Trades Union Council, pensioner groups, student, women's and community organisations. Meetings are held regularly in venues around Oxford, including East Oxford.

If you would like to know more or become involved contact: oxfordpeoplesassembly@gmail.com or telephone 07896 687454 (Dan).


Flower Festival - Through Gates of Splendour.

08 July

Friday 18 July - Sunday 20 July 2014, at the Oxford Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1a Chester Street, Oxford OX4 1SL.

Come and enjoy arrangements from Chelsea flower show award winners depicting the lives of famous Oxford people. Festival open daily from 11am to 6pm. Admission is free, though donations are welcome (all proceeds to student hardship fund). There will be a special church service on Saturday 19 July, 10am to 12.30pm.

Craft Competition

03 June

The Leys News Sewing Bee!

Calling all sewing fanatics! We are holding an exciting competition to find three sewing champions residing on The Leys. This competition is open to anyone aged five and over living on the Leys.

For the chance to win a fantastic bundle of sewing goodies, all you have to do is design and create a product determined by which age group you fall into:
5–10 year olds: Any type of bag.
11–17 year olds: A cushion cover, with a summer theme.
18 and over: A homeware item of your choice, with a summer theme.

There will be one winner in each category. All entries will be displayed at the Leys Fair on 6 September, where the winner will be announced.

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to get sewing!

There are just a few rules:
This is a sewing competition—you must sew your item from scratch to show off your sewing and needlework skills
You may use hand or machine stitching; or a mixture of the two
You may use any embellishment and/or embroidery you like for decoration—but no glue!
All entries must be handed into the Leys News office by 1 August. Please attach a note with your contact details so that you can be contacted if you are the lucky winner.

Making the Leys Greener!

03 June

WITH at least three parks and many smaller green spaces, the Leys is an excellent playground for people and wildlife alike. Oxford City Council’s Parks and Open Spaces department manages the area through grass cutting, and litter picking, but there are many more exciting opportunities to make these local green spaces into wonderful wildlife habitats and extraordinary areas for us to enjoy.

The Conservation Volunteers are looking for people interested in making this happen. Monique van Assouw, Community Project Officer of The Conservation Volunteers, said: “Many great activities have already taken place to improve our local green spaces; 250 trees were planted in Fry’s Hill Park, the Northfield Brook was cleared of rubbish and more than 15 bags of litter were taken out of the ditches in Little Bury.

“The volunteers that came along to these activities have been fantastic. They have also come up with more ideas for activities in areas that are close to their heart! And that is what the Friends of Blackbird and Greater Leys Parks group is all about—empowering local people to transform their outdoor spaces.”
The Group receives financial support from the People’s Health Trust. It also works closely with Oxford City Council and Groundwork South. Rob Tilley, from Groundwork South, said: “It is a great opportunity for us to pull resources together to positively change the environment of the Leys and improve people’s lives.”

The Group’s programme includes a wide variety of activities, ranging from cutting back overgrowing vegetation, clearing rubbish from ditches, planting bulbs and trees to building a pond dipping platform and wildlife habitats.

No previous experience is needed to volunteer with us. All you need is enthusiasm and organisers will guide you through the activities. Activities take place every Wednesday and every first Sunday of the month. They start at 10.30am and last until 1pm.

Monique added: “Volunteering with us is a great way to improve your local area, stay active and meet new people! If you are interested in joining us, please email blackbird-leys@tcv.org.uk to receive the newsletter containing dates, locations and more. Information can also be found at www.tcv.org.uk and www.facebook.com/blackbirdleys2014. We look forward to welcoming you to the team!”

Over 50s Advice at the Clockhouse

08 May

FREE monthly, confidential advice on benefits, debt, housing and consumer issues. Sessions are held at the Clockhouse, Long Ground, Greater Leys, Oxford OX4 7FX, with a worker from the Agnes Smith Advice Centre.

Sessions are usually the last Monday of the month. To book an appointment, please tel: 395908.

Next dates: Monday 19 May (please note it's a week early, to avoid the bank holiday) and Monday 30 June, both 10am-12.30pm. (12-12.30pm is 'drop-in' - no appointment needed for this slot.)

Coffee, cake and company at the Community Centre

29 April

EVERY Wednesday from 10.30am–1pm a group of Leys residents has been meeting at the Jack Argent room for tea, coffee and company-and cake of course!

At the moment it is a small group, but organisers are keen to encourage other residents from across the Leys to drop in.

There is a voluntary contribution on arrival to cover the cost of provisions for as many drinks as people like and to stay as long as they like. The group has received really positive feedback from those attending and from their families as it gives people who don’t often get the chance to socialise an opportunity to do so.

Open day at the Clockhouse!

29 April

ON Saturday 17 May it will all be happening at the Clockhouse at the annual Open Day.

There will be bric-a-brac stalls to browse, cakes and tea in the Clockhouse café, delicious jams and chutneys, tombolas, raffles, and lots of free taster activities including yoga and card-making.

The event is to raise funds for community organisations based in the building and to promote the many different activities that go on in the Clockhouse throughout the year. It’s a great opportunity to support hard-working volunteer groups, and to find out what’s on at the Clockhouse this Spring and Summer. The open day will take place between 11am and 3pm.

For more details please ring 01865 395908

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.

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

27 Jan, 2015

Blackbird Leys Parish Council meeting. 7pm, in the Jack Argent Room, BBL Community Centre. Tel: 07754 271831
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