Banbury Community Action Group

BCAG April 23 Minutes

Chair:          Jim                       

Minutes:    Harriet

Present:      Jim S, Lynda S, Harriet J, Chris M, Lynne C, Neil W, Jenny Figueiredo (OCC), Richard Devitt (Zimbl)

See agenda item 7. BATS for guest item on EV Car Clubs in Banbury


1. Agenda item I   Welcome and apologies                                                                            Jim

A warm welcome to everyone.  Apologies from Tila R, Maria M, and Colin S

2. Agenda item II   a). Minutes of the last meeting b). Matters arising from March meeting, 07/03/23                                                           Jim

No comments were received on the minutes of the last meeting, 7th March.

Carried forward to May meeting:  the merits or otherwise of seeking charitable status or becoming a CIC

3.  Agenda item III   BCAG admin                                                                                           Jim                                                      

Total hours spent on BCAG business and projects for March were recorded – thanks to everyone for putting in time.  Harriet to ask any core members not at the monthly meeting, for their hours.  Thanks to Lynda for completing the data spreadsheet for CAG Ox.

4.  Agenda item IV   Treasurer’s report                                                                                Lynda

The balance stands at c.£5460 out of which c.£2K is ‘BCAG funds’, that is, not already earmarked for projects. 

£388 has been taken from the account by an unknown party: TSB have been informed and advise that we will get the money back.

Lynda expressed concern that we get few donations to help cover event costs and suggested that we should be more proactive in encouraging visitors to donate.

Abi is helping with the process of auditing of the accounts.  Richard D kindly offered support on financial procedures.

With considerably more funds now being handled by the Group than previously, Lynda is looking for someone to support / take over as treasurer.

5. Agenda item V   Social media, Newsletter, publicity                                                      Jim   

Stats: Mailchimp: 242 Newsletter subscribers with 173 of these voting members; Facebook: BCAG 1133 followers.  All these numbers once again show an increase on last month.  Thanks to Maria M for all the work that goes in to producing the regular Newsletter and to Jim for keeping the socials flourishing.

Harriet apologized for the further delay on updating the leaflet.  Maria’s draft does not include mention of the food action; to include this will involve a rearrangement of the text.  Jim suggested there should also be mention of the proposed Library of Things.

6. Agenda item VI   Bridge Street Community Garden  BSCG                                          (Tila)

Tila, under the Banbury Trees banner, has organised an astounding month of community tree planting during March.

7.  Agenda item VII   Browning Road Orchard BRO                                                        Colin

Colin will contact Julia at BTC to progress the question of sourcing suitable chippings for mulching the trees.  Work is still needed to check the stakes and guards.

Colin put forward the idea of a late April / early May Spring Orchard event timed to showcase the trees in blossom.  Coronation celebrations make this realistically a suggestion for 2024 rather than this spring! 

8. Agenda item VIII   Banbury Active Transport Supporters group                             Chris

Our two guest speakers gave presentations about EV car clubs now operating in Banbury:  Richard as owner of Zimbl, Jenny on behalf of OCC.

Both schemes have the potential to reduce the numbers of cars in the town and to encourage the shift from fossil fuel to electric.  Use of car clubs has also been shown to reduce the number of car miles as they encourage non car-ownership which in turn promotes active travel or public transport options.   For these reasons, BCAG will take opportunities to spread the word about the two schemes explained at the meeting.

Thank you to Jenny and Richard for attending the meeting.

Chris drew attention to the consultation out for a 20mph zone in Grimsbury.  While welcoming the initiative, BATS/BCAG has expressed disappointment that this matter is being looked at in a piecemeal fashion rather than as a town-wide initiative.  Jim has put this point forward; it seems as though OCC would prefer the broader approach but that there is local opposition to this.

The LCWIP process has again gone silent.

9. Agenda item IX     Banbury Environment Network                                                   Harriet

A meeting to set up the Earthwatch-funded water quality testing, was held 24th March, for those who expressed an interest in training following the item in the Newsletter.  The BCAG Group is now set up on the FreshWater Watch site and volunteers are beginning to test in the field and to enter data online.  Thank you to Waitrose for use of their Community Room (available foc to Banbury community groups) and to CDC for providing light refreshments.

Harriet is in discussion with CDC and Thames 21 (representing the Cherwell & Ray Catchment Partnership) about how BCAG can best ensure community engagement with the Banbury Country Park going forward.  

Working with Thames 21, BCAG BEN will be hosting a Riverfly training event in May.  This will be for a limited number of volunteers (x8) willing to commit to quite a high level of engagement in monitoring.   x4 places have been reserved for Banbury-based volunteers.  

10. Agenda item X     Climate Action                                                                              Jim

Water Action

Members of BCAG and friends were given at guided tour by Thames Water of the sewage treatment works, 13th March.  TW employees were welcoming and informative about the workings of the plant.  The meeting discussed the challenges faced in treating dirty water and the concerns about untreated water being dumped in the Cherwell and feeder streams both at the main works and by treatment works in surrounding villages.

There is work BCAG could do in educating residents about care of the disposal system (what not to flush; misconnections) and valuing and saving clean water.

Big Green Week

Suggestions for Big Green Week:  a water-themed event to be held in BSCG either 10th or 17th June.  WI who have as their 2023 resolution, Save our Water – Every Drop Matters, might be interested in getting involved.

11. Agenda item XI     Spring Give & Take                                                                     Lynda

The Spring Give & Take and Skills Swap, 25th March, Banbury Town Hall, went well.  Attendees: 160+ attendees; items donated: 286kg (equal to donations made at the G&T, The Haven, July 2022).   Only £11 raised in donations.

Plus points about using the Town Hall: generously sized hall with plenty of tables available; easy drop-off by car.  Easy to take left-over items to Salvation Army and Katherine House Hospice shops.

Draw-backs: expensive, no drop-ins by people passing due to low footfall past the entrance and off-putting not being able to view the event before going in and up the stairs.  No parking immediately close-by for volunteers.  Provision for refreshments limited to hot water urns (tea/coffee), squash and biscuits.

Next G&T provisionally to be a Seed, Plant, Produce and Garden Sundries swap at BSCG, 15th July, 12 – 2pm, to include some provision of food, overlapping with the Food Action.

Autumn G&T provisionally back at The Haven, October date.

12. Agenda item XII     Food action                                                                                 Lynne

Excellent news: we have been granted funding through the OCC Connected Communities Fund for our food action initiative.  The grant of c.£3,600 is to cover the costs of a project officer carrying out CT,ET ‘events’ over the summer and early autumn months; the fund specifically targets older residents in a multigenerational context.

Jim and Harriet to revisit the current project officer job description in the light of the additional funding.  Jim then to readvertise the opportunity.

Via Age Friendly Banbury, Harriet discussed the possibility of joining up with the RVS at the Cornhill Centre with Sarah Bray, RVS.  Sarah is keen to see this happen.  BCAG to talk further with Dan P at the Centre once a project officer is appointed.

Other possible partners at this stage: The Hill Community Centre who do a men’s breakfast club, and St Hugh’s who did popular Lent lunches, Tuesdays, and might like to continue with similar events.

12. Agenda item XIII     Library of Things                                                                         (Melissa)

No update this month.


A reminder that the 2023 BCAG AGM will be held online, 7.30pm, 5th May.

Jim reminded the meeting of the XR Walk in London, 21st-24th April and encouraged members to attend.  There has been good sign-up from other environment-concerned groups.  Earth Day is 22nd April.

Lynda will represent BCAG at the Tree celebration 1st May, Quaker Meeting House


Tuesday, 5th May, 7.30pm, Zoom.  This with be the AGM followed by the regular monthly meeting.

Those present agreed that online meetings work well, there being plenty of opportunities now outside of the monthly meetings, to meet up at the Garden or at other events.  This decision will be reviewed on a month by month basis.