Banbury Community Action Group

BCAG  September 2022 Minutes

Chair:          Jim                       

Minutes:    Harriet

Present:      Jim S, Harriet J, Zsofi B, Chris M, Jane R, Robin C, Patrissia C, Kate L, Clive, Lynne C, Barrie C, Dale H (8.10pm onwards)


1. Agenda item I   Welcome, introductions and apologies                                                  Jim

A warm welcome to everyone.  Apologies from Tila R 

2. Agenda item II   Matters arising from August meeting, 02/08                                       Jim

The Group’s insurance is due for renewal in November.  Lynda expressed concern that the current cover is out of date for our needs due to expansion of BCAG activities into new areas.  Jim offered to check over the renewal form and documents.  [For info: BCAG insurance was provided by OxCAG until 2019.]

All other matters arising are covered under agenda items.

3.  Agenda item III   BCAG admin                                                                                               Jim

Total hours spent on BCAG business and projects for August were recorded – thanks to everyone for putting in time.  Harriet to ask any core members not at the monthly meeting, for their hours.

4.  Agenda item IV   Treasurer’s report                                                                                Lynda

The balance stands at c.£12K, this mostly being grant monies allocated to BSCG projects.

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

STATS:  Mailchimp: 214 Newsletter subscribers.   Facebook: BCAG 1050 followers, BSCG 513 followers.  Up again on last month! 

Leaflet update, ongoing: Lynda will meet with Maria to discuss preparing a draft for a revised version to be circulated to core members.

6. Agenda item VI   Bridge Street Community Garden  BSCG                                          Tila

Jim gave a summary of Tila’s report.

Unfortunately, August saw x3 break-ins to the sheds with the power saw being taken along with a couple of other items and some petty cash.  It was agreed that a heavier bar be fitted across the door to the old shed.

People have been sleeping rough under the bushes and pergola; there has been evidence of hard drug use; there has been aggressive behaviour.   CDC has collected two sodden and dirty mattresses and many bags of rubbish extracted from behind the bushes.  Sadly, many plants have been destroyed or taken on days spread across the summer.

The meeting discussed this worrying trend and expressed concern for the Garden Officer having to handle these difficult circumstances.  The Garden is a public space open 24/7 and the meeting agreed this is as it should be, while acknowledging that this will inevitably bring challenges.  The community police have been alerted and will increase their presence in the area but the meeting considered it preferable if the issues could be contained without significantly increased police involvement.  The merits of CCTV and lighting were discussed but again the meeting felt that surveillance was not the ideal way forward.

All risk assessments for Garden activities need to cover the risk of injury from potentially harmful items discarded in the area; assessments must require a thorough check-over of the site prior to the activity starting.  All persons working in the Garden should be advised to wear gloves.

Tila extended particular thanks to volunteer Mush who has spent lots of time in the Garden collecting rubbish, watering, painting the shed, and generally looking after the space: his reassuring presence has been much appreciated.

The following groups visited during August: LGBTQ+, Restore, Turning Point, The Hill Community Centre.

Other activities in addition to the ongoing gardening sessions include a mindfulness meditation session, 10th September, and wreath-making workshop 18th September.  The Garden will be taking part in the International Day of Older People event 21st September, run from The Mill.

The Garden is currently displaying prints made during Liz Lake’s community printmaking workshop at the Community Space in Castle Quay.   

Great news that BSCG will be acting as a venue for this year’s Canal Day festival.  The Garden will run its own activity and will be joined by the following groups: BCAG BATS, BCAG Biodiversity with Wild Banbury volunteers, Banbury Woodcraft Folk, Greenpeace, the Green Party.  Set-up at 10am, activities 11am-2pm, packing up 2pm-3pm.  The meeting discussed the Green Party’s attendance in the Garden for Canal Day.  OxCAG requirements are that groups must not engage in party political activities.  It was agreed that there was no problem with having a Green Party stand in the Garden for Canal Day as this did not amount to active political support for the Party.  Any other political party would be welcome also, providing they could demonstrate that their aims were in line with BCAG objectives.

Thank you Tila for keeping the Garden so active despite the unpleasant issues of the last couple of months.

The meeting welcomed and unanimously supported Tila’s proposal that she work with the core group of Garden volunteers and a local artist to create a mural on the long shed.

7.  Agenda item VII   Browning Road Orchard BRO                                                        Lynda

The autumn event in the orchard this year will be ‘Great Big Green Apple Day’, 25th September, and will form part of BCAG’s Green Week celebrations.  The bid in for OCC funding includes £130 towards the cost of a new press.  In previous years, BCAG’s light-weight press has been used (currently out of action) and Harriet has lent hers.  Since this is such a popular event, it was felt that BCAG should have its own sturdier press to keep up with demand!  The meeting agreed that, should we be awarded the grant, a second press should be purchased.

There will be a late Autumn work party, provisionally Saturday 19th November, for pruning, mulching and re-staking.  Colin will again take the lead on organising.  Harriet is discussing with Tila if this could be run as part of the BSCG outreach and training.

8. Agenda item VIII   Banbury Active Transport Supporters group                             Zsofi

BATS is involved in both the Green Fair and the Canal Day festivities.

9. Agenda item IX     Biodiversity                                                                                       Harriet

BCAG Biodiversity has also submitted a small bid to OCC Big Green Week fund for support with a stand 1/10 and 2/10 at BSCG to be run jointly with Wild Banbury volunteers.  OCC has generously agreed to consider this second bid from BCAG on account of it representing a very different aspect of Big Green Week to the main bid.

10. Agenda item X     Climate Action COP26                                                                         Zsofi

The Great Big Green Week, is organized to help and encourage people and organisations to act to help tackle the climate crisis, and to protect and improve our environment.

Zsofi has been very busy pulling together the BCAG programme of events for Big Green Week, 24/9 – 2/10.  The pop-up Green Fair in the Castle Quay Community Space on 24th will reflect this year’s theme of ‘energy’.  There will be a family activity making functional pin-wheel windmills, plus the Friends of the Earth exhibition and supporting information from OCC Climate Action.  BCAG members will be there to engage visitors in discussions about energy saving measures, to signpost and to provide information.  Lorraine has provided some energy monitors to hand out.  Thanks to CDC for providing the venue and for agreeing to have the Community Space open on a Saturday.

Sunday’s event will be Apple Day at BRO (see above).

On Friday 30th, BCAG will host a showing of the new documentary ‘Women against the Bomb’, by Sonia Gonzalez, which tells the story of Greenham Common, the first all-female peace camp.  We have use of the Lock 29 Event Space, Castle Quay, foc for this event, and the film costs have been greatly reduced for us.  Thank you to AndanaFilms and to Lock 29. 

A hard copy flyer has been produced and kindly printed for free: thank you for finding the resources for that.

Congratulations, Zsofi on your negotiating skills.  Thank you for putting in so much time to ensure the events happen.

11. Agenda item XI     Autumn Give & Take                                                                        Lynda

This Autumn G&T has been booked for 15th October at The Haven.

Jim offered his house in Warwick Road as a drop off and short-term storage in the week leading up to the event.

12. Agenda item XII     Food action                                                                                  Lynne

Anaïs, OxCAG, Replenish and Good Food Oxford, is generously providing encouragement, expertise and offer of some financial support for this action.

Harriet, Lynne, Robin and Linda will meet to firm up on the aims for a trial event, then bring in Anaïs to work out the details.  The URC is keen to work with us and kindly offers The Haven as a venue.


Harriet has had a reply from Paul Almond at BTC about the People’s Park Community Garden.  Hard landscaping works are out for tender and hopefully will be completed before the end of the year.  Paul would be pleased to meet with BCAG in January to discuss what support we could offer for getting the community gardening back up and running.  Jim offered to be part of these discussions.

It was agreed that the next meeting again be online

Our thoughts continue to be with all those caught up in the war in Ukraine.


Tuesday 4th October, 7.30pm, Zoom.

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.  This decision will be reviewed on a month by month basis.