Banbury Community Action Group

Minutes of meeting 2/3/2021

BCAG March ’21 catch-up2nd  March, 2021 7pm zoom
Chair:JimType of meeting:Monthly catch-up
Attendees:Zsofi B, Kimberley D, Lise J, Harriet J, Chris M, Jill O, Colin S, Jim S, Lynda S

Welcome and introductions.  

Apologies for absence received from Berenice W

1. Agenda item II  Matters arising from January meeting, 02/02                                                                                  Jim

All matters arising are covered in agenda items below.

2. Agenda item III     BCAG admin                                                                                                                                      Jim

BCAG has 778 followers on Facebook – great work from Jim keeping this a lively place.  

The e-mail list has 199 active members; 108 of these have selected to get the Newsletter; 49 have chosen Newsletter and invitation to meetings.  The names on the list of subscribers who have not replied to the first two messages inviting renewal, will be contacted for a third and final time, and if no reply is received the names will be deleted.

We now have a record of what aspects of BCAG work each subscriber is interested in – helpful data for planning future events and projects.

Those present submitted their totals of hours spent on BCAG business and projects for February.  Total hours are submitted annually to Oxfordshire CAG.

The AGM will be held immediately before the April meeting.

ü Action  Harriet and Jim to arrange AGM.

3. Agenda item IV  Treasurer’s report                                                                                                                             Lynda

Lynda gave an update on the Group finances.  The greatest expense recently has been compost for the BSCG: it would be good to find a free/cheap supply.

Harriet contacted Seven Trent Green Power who process the green waste for Cherwell DC.  They will supply free compost… but delivery costs £250!  (for 14ton load delivered by tractor and trailer).

Lynda has not yet tracked down a good contact for Lidl.

4. Agenda item V  Newsletter                                                                                                                                     Harriet

Early February saw the ‘Biodiversity’ issue.  

February General News is also out, providing an update on other BCAG activities.

Chris offered to act as proof-reader for draft News issues – thanks for that, Chris.

5. Agenda item VIII  Bridge Street Community Garden  BSCG                                                                                 Lynda

Jim/Lynda/Harriet prepared the advert for Garden volunteers, and a lead volunteer, which appeared on Volunteer Connect (8/2).  Several people responded to the advert.  Emily at Cherwell Collective knows we have space for additional volunteers so she can direct anyone interested our way.

Jim has added BSCG to the Good to Grow map of community growing spaces as a site ‘looking for volunteers’.

Materials are on site for additional/ replacement raised beds.

Radio Oxford are looking to do an piece on community gardening and have contacted BCAG.  Lynda is taking the lead on this.

Lynda explained that there is a lot of in-county interest currently in seed swaps.  The meeting agreed that BCAG would in principle be interested in being the focus for a community seed hub, perhaps using the smaller shed in the Garden as a storage facility.   A simple ‘seed box’ approach as a place for swapping seeds is also possible.  Bodicote are using a bus centre as a seed swap point.  Under lockdown restrictions, packets pinned on a board as ‘help yourself’ could also work.   We would welcome working alongside Banbury Trees. 

Agreed it would be nice to mark ‘Good to Grow’ weekend 23rd to 26th April, with some kind of activity.  Lockdown restrictions are likely to drastically limit the options.  Gifting seeds (pumpkin seeds from Replenish, sunflower, pea) – perhaps as part of a growing kit – at community locations including vaccination stations and schools, might prove the best realistic solution.  Kimberley has contacts at Longford Park Primary and Bishop Loveday; Colin has links via Anita to Queensway; Tila has links with schools also.  ‘Nothing but Footprints’ would probably be pleased to act as a pick-up point.

ü  Lynda to liaise with Radio Oxford.

ü  Lynda to coordinate group to develop ideas for the Good to Grow weekend.

6. Agenda item VII  Banbury Active Transport Supporters group (BCAG-led project)                                              Zsofi

The BATS initiative has been progressing well:  Zsofi gave an update.

The meeting on 10/2 was well supported and there was much positive discussion following the good news announcement by CDC (Ed Frape) that Cherwell, working with OCC, is commissioning consultants to draw up a LCWIP for Banbury.  CDC are keen to work closely with BCAG in order to get the best Plan possible.  BATS will act as a central point for gathering local information.

Since the meeting, the BATS coordinators (Zsofi, Chris, Jane) have begun to enter relevant location-specific data on a spreadsheet and MyMaps.  CDC (Dan Messer) will provide hard copy OS mapping to assist.

BATS are looking to join with the Bath Road campaign to promote a broadening of ‘20’s Plenty’ across the town.

A meeting (Zoom) is booked for 18/3 to engage with all those interested in helping to build up the data.

7. Agenda item IX  Browning Road Orchard BRO                                                                                                         Colin

Julia O’Shea, landscape officer Banbury Town Council has been out on site to discuss possibilities for additional planting of fruit and other trees.  The cost will be met by the Town Council.  The TC may also be able to supply some chippings for mulching round the trees.  Local volunteers will help with the manual work in a suitably distanced way. 

Additional wildlife and biodiversity improvements are also being considered – bat boxes (the TC will assist with annual cleaning), and a wildflower area.  This would tie in well with our Biodiversity work.

Julia is very supportive of the project.

8. Agenda item X  Biodiversity Project                                                                                                                     Harriet

There was a good response to the ‘Biodiversity’ News with a number of people emailing in to offer support for a pollinator-focused, or more general biodiversity, initiative.

Julia O’Shea from Banbury Town Council (see also BRO above) is positive about the idea and will put us in touch with the new recreation and amenities manager to come in to post later this month.

Harriet is scheduled to meet again with Andy Gunn, BBOWT, to discuss how BCAG can key in with Wild Banbury.

ü  Action: Harriet to arrange an open meeting to discuss the options for this project.

9. Agenda item XI  Climate Action COP26                                                                                                                Harriet

This is a vital year for focus on Climate Action with COP26 being held in Glasgow in November.

A green heart ‘ShowtheLove’ (The Climate Coalition) card, created for us by a young resident, was sent from BCAG to Victoria Prentis, MP: we hope she liked it!

BCAG has joined the FoE Oxfordshire Cop26 Climate Alliance, OCCA and will participate in their programme.  Jill offered to be our link with OCCA: that’s perfect, thanks Jill.

To note: OCCA is holding an on-line Action Day with talks and workshops, on 27 March.

ü  Action: Harriet to send links for OCCA to Jill.

ü  Action: All.  Ideas for other Climate Action-related activities to mark the lead up to COP26? 

10. Agenda item III  guest Lise from VPRS (Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme), CDC                                                                                      

We were delighted to welcome Lise to the BCAG monthly catch-up meeting: thank you Lise for coming along. 

Lise gave a summary of the VPRS and explained how it had developed and broadened in scope, from earlier schemes.  She is responsible for the scheme in Banbury, Bicester, and Kidlington.  The resettled families are housed in the private rental sector and the scheme, which works in partnership with many other agencies, seeks to support them in a 5 year programme towards independence and self-sufficiency.

The families come from places where sharing and community are at the heart of their culture, and they are keen to become part of their new communities.

The meeting discussed ways in which BCAG might be able to welcome the resettled families and share knowledge and activities with them.  BCAG would be delighted to talk further with Lise if she feels there are links which can be made.

ü  Harriet to email Lise.

11. Agenda item XII  BCAG support for petitions etc                                                                                               Jim

BCAG is asked to lend its support to a variety of petitions and causes.  How do we decide which to support?

After discussion, the following process was agreed.  This can be reviewed if deemed necessary.

Chair and secretary (currently Jim and Harriet) make the initial decision on whether the petition/cause in question is related to our core activities. 

If the relevant time-frame allows, the petition/cause in question will be raised at the next monthly catch-up meeting – allowing members a chance to have a say – and a course of action agreed.

Should time be tight, members of the ‘core group’ (ie those who regularly attend meetings), will be e-mailed and invited to comment.

A response will then be made by whoever volunteers to do the drafting!  The draft will then be cleared with the chair/secretary or other core member before sending out.

Relevant issues for consideration this meeting:

Petition “Call for a People’s Vaccine”  lead: Chris

Response to OCC Local Transport and Connectivity Plan; deadline 29/3.  Volunteer draft – Zsofi (well done!)

World Tamils Historical Society support requested (in-box) for plans for Community Farm, to assist planning application.  We have had good links in the past with this organisation.  Harriet to assess and draft reply.


a)  BANBURY TREES  are disappointed that they will not be able to organize any community tree planting this season due to pandemic restrictions.   Cherwell DC has taken on the job of planting the saplings that Banbury Trees have secured, at the Country Park.

b) WOODGREEN outdoor pool is to open 29/3 following a petition set up by Zsofi, calling for the facility to open earlier in the year than it has in the past.


Tuesday 6th April, 7pm, Zoom.  Note that this will follow on from the AGM.