Bretch Hill youngsters are to be given the chance to make a difference in their neighbourhood by taking part in a new community action project.
Sanctuary Housing has provided £23,000 funding to the Oxfordshire Youth Arts Partnership (OYAP) to bring together young people from the community to develop arts, cultural events and local projects.
Supported by Cherwell District Council’s Brighter Futures in Banbury scheme, the programme will run at The Hill Centre on Bretch Hill and will see OYAP providing mentoring and support for the young people to develop community projects.
The youngsters’ initial project plans include transforming the public space around The Hill Centre and putting on community food festivals, gigs and music events for young people from the area.
The project follows on from OYAP’s similar programme with youngsters in Bicester.
Known locally as the Youth of Bicester action group (YOBs), the youngsters, with the support of OYAP, have carried out a range of successful projects in their local community including transforming empty shops into pop-up recording studios and art galleries, hosting art exhibitions and running their own community radio station.
OYAP’s director Helen le Brocq, said: “Our mission is to help young people reach their potential whilst creating a brighter future for the communities in which they live, so we are delighted Sanctuary Housing is supporting us with this project.” She added: “We help young people to get their voices heard, to become involved in the projects, to meet new people and to make a difference.
“Young people want the opportunity to challenge perceptions, make people smile and demonstrate what they can offer the community. Their ideas are always inspiring and it is a joy to support the young people and see their ideas become a reality.”
Harjinder Lota, Sanctuary Housing’s head of local partnerships, added: “We are thrilled to be a part of this creative project. It is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters in Bretch Hill.”
Cherwell District Council’s lead member for Banbury Brighter Futures, Councillor John Donaldson, said: “I think it’s a great idea to develop the skills and talents of young people in the Bretch Hill area. Not only does this kind of work build a sense of community and encourage people to take a pride in the area they live in, it also strengthens the relationships between the generations. Supporting young people to make a difference in their community is a key objective of the Brighter Futures programme.” ”
Sanctuary Housing’s funding comes from the group’s Cherish Cherwell Fund which offers grants to support community projects.
OYAP has worked with more than 5,000 young people since 2005, specialising in providing creative opportunities in the arts, helping harder to reach groups contribute to their community.