In these pages you can find a wide range of information to support volunteering and community action- use the menu on the right to navigate

Attracting Unusual Suspects

Two ‘Attracting Unusual Suspects’ events were organised by CFO in November 2017 and February 2018.

These practical workshops were a result of listening to community hall committees, parish councils and other community action groups who are concerned about the lack of new people getting involved in their community.  The objectives of the workshops were to:

• identify issues facing community action groups in getting people involved in positions of responsibility
• discuss strategies for encouraging people to get involved

The events were facilitated by Grant Hayward from Collaborent and over 100 people attended from a variety of organisations. The discussions were very interesting and many creative ideas and potential solutions were offered.

You can read the full report here: Unusual Suspects Events – Report

Why volunteer?

  • make a difference: engage with something worthwhile
  • feel better: improve health and well-being through meaningful social contact
  • move on: enhance your career prospects, try something new

Volunteering tips

  • do something you love
  • try something new
  • be realistic in terms of amount of time, degree of regular commitment, what you are willing and able to do
  • start small, do not over-commit yourself at the beginning

Different ways to volunteer

  1. Register

Register as a volunteer with Volunteer Centre Oxfordshire (OCVA), Volunteer Link Up, or Do-It. OCVA can help you to find a suitable volunteering role and provide support and training.

2. Do your own search

Find organisations that interest you and contact them.

  • Many larger charities and social enterprises are well organised about supporting volunteers
3. Initiate community action

Many people simply take action to do something they like or initiate something that they would like to see in their neighbourhood. It may be joining a letter pick, helping to run the local community shop, starting a pop up cafe in the village hall, or getting an open space designated to safeguard it for the future. There are lots of resources available to support community action volunteers. See the resources section or contact Community First Oxfordshire.

Useful links

Data sources

Community planning and volunteering can be supported by evidence which can be obtained through neighbourhood surveys and local knowledge but is also strongly supported by statistics that are available from the census and other sources.

Action with Communities in Rural England has put together data profiles for every parish which package the available statistics (as at Nov 2013)  for easy use in community plans.  The census data in these profiles, in particular, is still the best available data for small areas such as parishes.

Oxfordshire communities can download their data profiles here:

Cherwell District parishes

South Oxfordshire parishes

Vale of White Horse District parishes

West Oxfordshire parishes

Oxford City

The following are also very useful sources for information about your community:

Office for National Statistics

Oxfordshire Insight: aims to provide evidence to support strategic policy development within Oxfordshire

Parish Online: provides quality mapping and powerful tools to Parish and Town Councils

Ordnance Survey: the UK government agency responsible for the official, definitive topographic survey and mapping of Great Britain

District Data Service: The Data Analysis service helps district councils in Oxfordshire to make use of data and evidence on multiple themes, including population and households, health and well-being and communities



Resources for Community Action

Getting started

  • What is it?: Define your idea, discuss it with friends. Do you need other people? Do you need funding? Do you need expert advice?
  • Get help: Identify and get in touch with people who can help you (see useful links)
  • Get people on board: Hold an event, distribute a survey, gather email address of people who are interested, communicate with them:
    • Creating simple surveys
    • Communications strategy
    • Feedback form
    • Skills audit

Establish a group

  • Most community action needs 2 or more people to make it happen. It is motivating to work with others as well as enabling you to share the work.
  • Decide how formal the group needs to be (if at all). Does it need a constitution or terms of reference? Will it need a bank account? Can another organisation hold funds on your behalf eg the parish council or community association?
  • In taking the decision on how to set up, be aware of liability if you enter into any contracts and any other risks. If there are significant risks, consider forming a legal entity or putting your activity under the umbrella of another organisation that has insurance and limited liability.
    • Constitution
    • Terms of reference
    • Management committees

Plan how to proceed

  • Develop a project plan
  • Consider costs, identify sources of funding

Implement Actions

Maintain momentum

Volunteering while on benefits

Your community – research profiles

CFO is working with Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action to find out what the most pressing issues are in communities across Oxfordshire.

To this end, CFO has is undertaking research aimed at providing  ‘rolling updates’ of community action and service changes in communities across the County.

We hope this information will offer an overview of current and emerging issues and enable local people to connect with each other, the voluntary sector and local authorities to help address them.

Current profiles:

Abingdon Community Profile-October 2017

Berinsfield Community Profile- October 2017

Bicester Community Profile- October 2017

Bloxham Community Profile- October 2017

Carterton Community Profile – 2017

Caversfield Cluster Community Profile -2017

Chipping Norton Community Profile- October 2017

Cropredy Community Profile- 2017

Didcot Community Profile- October 2017

Faringdon Community Profile- October 2017

Great Milton Community Profile- October 2017

Kidlington Community Profile – October 2017

Launton area Community Profile- October 2017

Kirtlington Community Profile

The Bartons Community Profile- October 2017

Upper and Lower Heyford Community Profile- 2017

Wantage Community Profile- 2017

Wallingford Community Profile -2017

Witney Community Profile- October 2017



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