It was standing room only for the official launch of OX7 on 28 September– the community project designed to give Chipping Norton youth a fresh start.
About 30 supporters, friends and potential sponsors of Experience Chipping Norton’s filled The Chequers to hear about the initiative.
OX7 has been funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for two years and, with sponsorship from local business, ECN wants to make it permanent.
ECN Chairman Shaun Fagan welcomed everyone aboard, explaining more about the innovative scheme and how it will support local youngsters who aren’t employed, or in education or training.
The team at Base 33, a Witney-based youth charity, is headed by Wendy Dawson who talked about the involvement of her youth workers.
And it was smiles all round as a fascinating cross-section of the Chippy community turned up to offer their help – including representatives from local schools, the town council, business, cadets, citizens advice bureau and the Midcounties Co-op.
The Midcounties Co-op sponsored the revamped ECN website in 2016, and has been a strong supporter of ECN’s community endeavours.
Govt funded, locally delivered
OX7, otherwise known as a community digital hub, has won two years of Government funding as part of the £3.25 million Communities Fund.
But ECN wants to make OX7 a permanent part of the Chippy youth landscape – which is why the participation of a wide range of local groups, businesses and organisations is actively sought.
Broad community support will give the venture maximum impact in targeting young people not currently in jobs, education or training.
Experience Chipping Norton, in association with Base 33, will work to plug these youngsters in to the right opportunity – whether that’s a work placement, apprenticeship, training course or voluntary opening.
That involves helping them break down barriers standing in their way. If they need support with finances, mental health or addictions, the OX7 youth team can help them access the right services.
By taking a multi-disciplinary approach to problems, the team anticipates far better outcomes all round.
With the scheme’s initial planning almost complete, the team will shortly be working with OX7’s first youngsters.
ECN is producing a brochure detailing the various ways businesses and organisations can support the scheme through sponsorship, donations, service provision and work placements.
In the meantime, OX7 is seeking help from businesses who can offer potential placements, sponsorship or their support for the programme.