A newsletter to members of the Beckley & Area Community Benefit Society
In this newsletter (click on each item to go to the full article)
A NEW YEAR!
Happy new year to all members, supporters and friends of BACBS.
2018 has been a momentous year for the Society, and for Aimee, Joe and their colleagues at The Abingdon Arms. In their first full year of operation, the pub has gone from strength to strength. Now in 2019 we and they are looking to consolidate these gains, thus benefitting all who use the pub and take part in its extended programme of activities.
We are pleased to let you know that we have now completed the grant agreement with South Oxfordshire District Council. Weather permitting, our builders will be on site in the week commencing 21 January to start construction of the new toilet extension. The temporary toilets are scheduled for delivery and connection during the first week, following which the existing toilet block will be demolished. The construction is expected to take about six months, but we hope that can be reduced if the winter remains mild. The pub will be open as normal during the works, but the number of car parking spaces will be reduced because the builder’s compound will take up part of the car park. In addition to provision of accessible toilets, the entrance to The Abingdon Arms will be widened. There will be regular photographic updates on the BACBS Facebook page.
‘MORE THAN A PUB’ programme
The ‘More than a Pub’ programme is designed to ensure that The Abingdon Arms is, yes, more than a pub! The programme offers a range of community activities and has proved very popular with local folk and with customers from further afield. In 2019 we will continue the programme, broadening the Sunday evening talks to include other subjects of local interest such as social history and archaeology. Community events will be extended with the introduction of a community afternoon tea, on the last Wednesday of the month; and, if this proves successful, we will then introduce a community lunch. There are already monthly lunches for the ‘Men of’ and ‘Women of’ Beckley, and these will continue, but we’d like to add a monthly lunch which is open to both men and women, and from the wider community of our seven villages.
The literary talk about W B Yeats on Sunday 27th January is generating considerable interest, and may be crowded! The January MtaP programme is appended - do watch out for future developments.
You won’t be surprised to learn that organising the ‘More than a Pub’ programme requires time, effort and sometimes ingenuity! Would you be willing to join the small band of volunteers who run the programme?Yes! – please see below.
good neighbour scheme
At the recent BACBS Annual Meeting, members approved a proposal to introduce a Good Neighbour Scheme (GNS) to enable residents from across our area to reach The Abingdon Arms for social events and ‘More than a Pub’ activities even if they are unable to drive by virtue of disability, infirmity, other disadvantage or lack of transport. We want to ensure lifts are available for people in the seven villages (Beckley, Horton cum Studley, Elsfield, Noke, Woodeaton, Stanton St John and Forest Hill) and surrounding rural area which define our community. Our aim from the start has been to ensure The Abingdon Arms is a community pub which is accessible and inclusive for all. Clearly though, the GNS will not provide lifts for people who have transport but want to be able to drink alcohol without having to drive home!
There is an established Good Neighbour Scheme in operation serving Noke and Woodeaton - with Islip, the Three Parishes GNS (TPGNS) offers lifts to GP and hospital appointments, to shops and other facilities, and now also offers a befriending service for people who are restricted and possibly lonely. The organisers of the TPGNS have agreed to extend their service to provide lifts to The Abingdon Arms. There are smaller GNSs in Horton cum Studley and in Beckley, and we hope these will agree to provide lifts to our community pub. Our proposal is to develop GNSs in the other villages, possibly to create a Five Villages GNS, specifically to provide lifts to The Abingdon Arms. If this proved successful, we might be able eventually to extend the remit to offer lifts to other destinations, most obviously GP and hospital appointments, thereby to mirror TPGNS.
For this to work, we will need firstly to form a development group, ideally with representatives from each of the five villages, and then to recruit willing volunteers in each of the villages to provide lifts. Would you be willing to contribute to this ambitious but valuable scheme? Please see below.
Sam Francis, newly elected to the BACBS Management Committee, writes:
“Nearly two years on from the community’s acquisition of The Abingdon Arms, what progress has been made! However, as yet, we have no reliable way of identifying new families and others who move into our community so that we can welcome them and raise their awareness of the pub as a community asset - and of course extend to them the offer to buy shares in BACBS. Yes, shares in BACBS can be purchased still!
So to that end, I am going to take the lead in developing a community engagement programme to welcome newcomers to our project. I’ll look to prepare a Welcome Pack for new residents when they move into the area. I want to work with local representatives from each of the villages so we can identify when we have newcomers who might benefit from the pub and its ‘More than a Pub’ activities, and possibly from the option to purchase a shareholding.
I know that this would have been very welcome to us as a family when we moved to Beckley a while back, and a great way of increasing engagement in both the pub and the community.
It is very helpful to have a link person in each village so we can identify new families and others as they arrive. I would be very grateful for additional volunteers to develop contact with them.”
Could you help Sam to contact new residents, and in other ways to engage our community? If so, please see below.
call for volunteers
Our ‘village link’ volunteers are Lise Traynor in Noke, Carol Brennan in Woodeaton, Peter McCool in Elsfield, Mary Stuck in Horton cum Studley, Fariba Battye in Stanton St John, and Pru Leeding in Forest Hill. Their contributions are of tremendous value.
But, as you will have read, we need more volunteers - to help with the expanding the ‘More than a Pub’ programme, the proposed Good Neighbour Scheme, the Community Engagement initiative, and so much more! If you are interested, potentially willing to help, please do contact Mike Hobbs, BACBS Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beckley and Area Community Benefit Society Ltd
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