The Community First Oxfordshire story

In October 2015, Community First Oxfordshire emerged out of Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC).

ORCC was founded in 1920 and was the oldest of the 38 Rural Community Councils’ in England. Last year, we reduced our costs, built new partnerships and developed new services. This year, we are changing our name, website and office base.

Community First Oxfordshire’ follows the example of many other Rural Community Councils (RCCs) whose work is no longer confined to rural areas. We will continue to be a part of the national network of RCCs. And we will continue to provide the services of a rural community council. We will also be supporting Oxfordshire’s communities in all locations on health, housing, transport and community enterprise issues. Our mission is ‘to help communities help themselves’

How we can help

  • Knowledge and practical experience: design and management of quality projects
  • Contacts: deep reach into networks of voluntary organisations and communities
  • Track record: communities and the statutory sector know we get results
  • Stakeholder management: with the community, statutory and private sectors
  • Partnership working: collaboration is at the heart of our work
  • Best practice: advice drawn from evidence of ‘what works’ in Oxfordshire and beyond

Our Staff

Tom McCulloch

Director for Community Development

Read Bio

Tom oversees CFO’s Community Development Team. He has a Doctorate from the London School of Economics, and a Master’s degree in Sustainable Rural Development. Tom also leads on CFO’s housing, infrastructure and Neighbourhood Planning (NP) activity. He has helped build CFO into the ‘go to’ local organisation for communities seeking high quality support throughout the NP process. This is underpinned by excellent relationships with Local Authorities. Tom is a former board member of the Cherwell Community Land Trust and has led recent research on social and community infrastructure and best practice in ‘placemaking’ on new housing developments for Cherwell District and South and Vale District Councils.

x close

Emily Lewis-Edwards

Director for Business Development and Partnerships

Read Bio

Emily is our Director for Business Development & Partnerships and has a Post Graduate Certificate in transport planning. She has worked with rural and urban communities for a number of years, supports the 60+ community transport schemes in the county and managed the Subsidised Transport Consultation on behalf of the County Council. She also leads on our health and ageing work and managed the Dementia Friendly Communities project.

x close

Fiona Mullins

Community-Led Planning & Analysis

Read Bio

Fiona has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Princeton USA, and undergraduate degrees in Economics and English Literature. Her work has focused on Community-Led and Neighbourhood Planning. Previously, Fiona was Research and Intelligence Team Leader at Oxfordshire County Council, managing demographic and socio-economic analyses and presenting research data to inform policy and service delivery. Fiona is also Trustee of a local Community Centre and an initiator of a neighbourhood time-bank scheme.

x close

Sue Hunt

Oil Scheme Administrator & Office Manager

Read Bio

Sue has worked in the UK and Australia as customer services manager for a number of businesses. She manages our Oil Buying Scheme and has general office management responsibilities.

x close

Tessa Hall

Community Buildings and Retail Adviser

Read Bio

Tessa previously worked for the Community Council for Berkshire for 10 years, teaching and putting on training events, managing funding for community projects, and carrying out consultation events. More recently, she has helped communities in West Berkshire develop Parish Plans and supported them to carry out projects from the plans. She has been working with Thatcham Town Council to get their Parish Plan refresh adopted by West Berkshire Council and to reconnect with all their amazing volunteers after all the hard work of producing their plan. Tessa likes walking, gardening, reading and loves singing, co-leading a community choir in Newbury.

x close

Hilary Lombard

Community Mobiliser

Read Bio

Hilary has joined CFO as a Community and Neighbourhood Planning Mobiliser. Her role is to work with local communities to develop both Neighbourhood Plans and Community Led plans. In her previous roles, she has worked in both the voluntary and statutory sectors both in urban and rural settings. She has a wide experience of community engagement, involvement and development and is an experienced trainer in community development issues. She has also worked as a senior manager in a local authority strategy and policy unit and has been a Trustee of a national community development organisation.

x close

David Potter – Dip TP MRTPI

CFO Planning Associate

Read Bio

David is Director of Development Planning Advisory Services Ltd.
As the former Director of Planning and Transport at Swindon, David has a strong local government and planning background.  He has successfully managed every aspect of the statutory planning process working for both rural Counties and urban Boroughs.  He has managed policy teams and development control as well as working with stakeholders to improve the planning process.  More recently he has helped produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Lechlade where he is a Town Councillor as well as providing support for other town and parish councils within a contract with the Vale of White Horse. On a voluntary basis he led a Planning Aid team in Yorkshire and Humberside, winning a national award on improving stakeholder engagement and involvement.

x close

Andrea Pellegram MRTPI

CFO Planning Associate

Read Bio

Dr Andrea Pellegram has 30 years experience working in town planning in England.  She has undertaken a number of roles including: planning director in a district council, head of minerals and waste planning in a county council, private sector planning applicant for major schemes, planning inspector, trainer and coach for local councils in planning, and has worked in regional and port planning.

x close

Our Board of Trustees

Edward Dowler

John Cunningham

Chairman

Gill Bindoff

Vice Chair

Malcolm Taylor

Treasurer

Ken Atack

Sue Butterworth

Julian Cooper

Natasha Eliot

Our Patrons

Canon Glyn Evans

President

Catherine Bearder

Mike Breakell

Celia Collett

F R Goodenough

Dr J V Sharp

Our partners and stakeholders

View our Facebook page View our Twitter page