Bicester Green – community and sustainability at its best

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Bicester Green was recently awarded the Environmental Charity of the year by OCVA, and is an independent social enterprise based in Oxfordshire.

Led by the local community Bicester Green opened its doors in April 2013 with its aim “to be a one stop shop for all things sustainability and re-use”. It was set up to  make better use of resources by extending the life of items which otherwise would have become waste and to benefit the local community through providing reasonably-priced items and skills training that will help lead to employment, by teaching innovation, self-reliance and advocating sustainable living.  I became a director in the winter of 2013 – a purely voluntary position, but one that ties very closely with my day job as the Bioregional project manager for the Bicester Eco Town. My first task was to ensure Bicester Green’s continued survival and success and am thrilled that the charity won this award, amongst some stiff competition! The majority of my time has been spent guiding and helping Emma, our centre manager, in locating and bidding for funding applications.

Bicester Green offers a range of products and services, including:

  • Repairing donated items  and items found at recycling centres such as bicycles, small electrical appliances and repairing and upcycling of furniture
  • Volunteering opportunities ( and training in basic DIY and bike repair skills) for residents of Bicester and the wider Oxfordshire area
  • Events, such as ‘fix your own bike’; bespoke upcycling and repair sessions, foraging walks and talks on sustainability issues.

Bicester-green2We have approximately 21 different volunteers a week with up  to 6 or 7 per day. Our volunteers come from  diverse backgrounds, including young and old, males and female, retirees looking to pass on their knowledge and those looking to gain new skills and confidence to get back into employment. Main activities mainly include repair and refurbishment of items, such as small electricals, wooden furniture, and bicycles and projects we have delivered include ladies’ DIY courses, bike repair sessions, upcycling, shabby chic workshops and building bird boxes from waste wood.

Bicester Green is already an important part of the local community here and will hopefully play a key role in the future community development of the Exemplar phase of NW Bicester  – the UK’s first Eco Town and an endorsed One Planet Community. I look forward to seeing the charity grow as it helps to bring the community  together and promote a culture of sustainability and reuse.

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