Oxfordshire social enterprise Bicester Green won two awards at the prestigious Cherwell Business Awards in May: winning both the Charity and Community Award and the highly respected Cherwell Business of the Year 2015 Award.
Bicester Green was shortlisted for the Charity and Community Award alongside other great charities working in Cherwell, these included ARCh charity – who help children to learn to read, and the well established childrens hospice, Helen and Douglas House.
The award was presented to Bicester Green by the new Chairman of Cherwell District Council Melanie Macgee. The judging panel was impressed by the group’s work with local volunteers from all walks of life, who intercept waste items that are destined for landfill and use them for learning and sharing skills in the workshop.
As a finalist in the Charity & Community category, Bicester Green was shortlisted against all other nine finalists for the impressive title of Cherwell Business of the Year 2015. Norbar Torque Tools, the award sponsors visited Bicester Green some weeks before and were so impressed by both the activities and involvement of the business and its volunteers that they awarded the prestigious accolade to this aspirational social enterprise.
As part of the Oxford/Bicester team here at Bioregional I have been a trustee on the board of Bicester Green for approximately 18 months. Although this voluntary role is outside of my working hours, the aims of Bicester Green align very closely with Bioregional’s aspiration for Bicester.
Bicester Green opened its doors in April 2013 and has gone from strength to strength. It has recruited numerous long standing volunteers, fully refurbished 300 reclaimed bikes, repaired many more electrical items, upcycled and sold second hand furniture and delivered public training sessions that promote self-reliance skills, including DIY and bike maintenance classes.
Bicester Green has become an important part of the work Bioregional is and will be doing in Bicester in the coming years. It could help to deliver modal shift for the Exemplar phase of the NW Bicester eco-town, through providing a bike loan scheme and maintaining cycle repair stations. Additionally, it can help to foster a sense of self-reliance and resourcefulness not only for new residents of the eco-town but for all Bicester residents through providing high-quality second-hand furniture and electrical items and running upcycling workshops.
I’m hoping that these awards are just the start of things to come, it is encouraging that the Cherwell Business community really does see the value in what Bicester Green is doing. This support and recognition is just what is needed to get to the next level.