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

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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 also a board member of the Cherwell Community Land Trust and has led research for the Oxfordshire Rural Housing Partnership, on ‘Improving Delivery on Rural Exception Sites’ and ‘Private Rental Affordability Modelling’.

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Emily Lewis-Edwards

Director for Business Development and Partnerships

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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.

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Fiona Mullins

Community-Led Planning & Analysis

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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.

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Lynne Newin

Community Buildings & Retail Advisor

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Lynne has worked for CFO for 12 years. She is responsible for providing practical support to community halls and shops on their management, finance, fundraising and building improvement. She has unrivalled knowledge of this field and has advised most- if not all- community halls in Oxfordshire, receiving numerous excellent testimonials.

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Sue Hunt

Oil Scheme Administrator & Office Manager

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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.

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Our Board of Trustees

Graham Shaw

Executive Trustee

Jon Bright

Jonathan Reuvid


Gill Bindoff

Vice Chair

John Braithwaite


Ken Atack

Sue Butterworth

Julian Cooper

Sue Corrigan

Natasha Eliot

Our Patrons

Canon Glyn Evans


Catherine Bearder

Mike Breakell

Celia Collett

F R Goodenough

Peter Lund

Dr J V Sharp

Our partners and stakeholders

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