What does a Healthy New Town look like? – the Barton Healthy New Town Stocktake

By: Mark Horne, Barton Healthy New Town Project

Barton HNT

On the 21st September, 43 people met at the Barton Neighbourhood Centre to look at the plans so far for the Barton Healthy New Town and to get feedback from partners, service providers and the community to make sure that our priorities were a valid basis for the project, as well as hearing people’s ideas and trying to get them to sign up for getting more involved for the first stage of the project which runs until March 2017.

One of the aims of the day was to build on the innovation side of the project and to challenge legacy thinking, creating an environment where people could share ideas and new thinking.

Barton HNT

On the day representatives from community groups, charities, GP surgeries, Grosvenor, Public Health, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Oxford City Council, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford University, the NHS and councillors listened to presentations, had a chance to question the BHNT team and shared their ideas about:

  • What a healthy new town might look like
  • How to reach “seldom heard” groups
  • What might stop us achieving our aims
  • What the potential health outcomes might be

 The attendees on the day wanted the project to focus on:

  • Making healthier food options viable
  • Using shared spaces to link the communities together
  • Making better use of open spaces
  • Listening to individual stories rather than basing plans just on demographics.

 Since the stocktake, the BHNT project team have awarded

£30 000 of grants to local organisations which address issues such as food poverty, improving opportunities to engage in healthy activities (such as walking football), creating new social activities for the most vulnerable in the area, food education classes for years 1-5, cookery classes and assistance for the elderly to attend GP appointments.

 Overall, the day was deemed a success, with positive feedback from attendees, new ideas being shared and a number of attendees signing up for being more involved during the duration of the project.

 Project Summary

Barton HNT

The project aims and priorities were developed using Barton Health Plan and feedback from the community, which identified significant health inequalities around life expectancy, food poverty, mental health issues and social isolation.

 The aim of the project is to address the inequalities as well as contribute to the learning which will help create sustainable opportunities to improve the health care delivery for the whole of the current Barton community, such as the redevelopment of the Bury Knowle GP surgery and the range of services it delivers. Additionally, the project aims to model new ways of thinking in terms of the design of Barton Park and how the built environment affects health and wellbeing.

 Community engagement is central to the project, both in shaping the types of activities and services that are delivered, but also in terms of getting the widest possible range of people involved and taking the opportunities to reduce health inequalities, by putting wellbeing at the heart of the community.

For more information about getting involved with Barton Healthy New Town contact Azul Strong, Communities Team, Oxford City Council: astrong@oxford.gov.uk


RiverHack 1.0 – Connecting people-land-water for healthier rivers

By: Anne Miller, University of Oxford

Friday evening, 14th October, saw 30 curious and energetic enthusiasts come together at the Oxford Hackspace.

Despite most people feeling a bit nervous at the outset, unsure of what a hackathon really was, this motley group of students (young and old), entrepreneurs and representatives of different interest groups had a lot of fun over the next 24 hours, forging their own new community. Fuelled by pizza, pastries and the odd alcoholic beverage, we made creative use of the masses of available data to generate wacky but workable tools and projects that could help ordinary folks to understand and connect better with their local rivers and streams.

At the end of a very energetic Saturday, 6 teams pitched their projects to the judges in the Dragons Den, each with a very different focus and target audience. The judges, impressed by all 6 projects, nevertheless managed to select three for extra commendation:

  1. Dogs And Ducks
  2. Water Goggles
  3. Learning to Love our Rivers

Next steps will be to seek further support for all the projects that have potential for funding, and also to start planning RiverHack 2.0 – which we hope will build on the experiences and information which we have now gathered and stored (much of it on the Oxfordshire Open Data platform).

Still to be explored but possibly something related to new devices and tools for measuring and monitoring the water quality, so we can fill more gaps?

More detail of the hackathon and of the projects we generated are here.

This was a partnership event organised and delivered by Wild Oxfordshire, Earthwatch, AgileOx, Oxford Hackspace, CEH, and Downstreams, with support from Smart Oxford.