Guiding at Dean Court

The Community Centre is home to two thriving Girl Guiding groups, 1 st Botley Brownies and 3rd West Oxford Guides. Both groups were amongst the earliest of the regular hirers and you might have seen (or heard…sorry about that) us out and about on a walk or treasure hunt, or manning a stall at a Community Centre event.

These are both busy groups with very enthusiastic girls aged 7 to 10 (Brownies) and 10-14 (Guides). Girls join the groups to make friends and have adventures (including sleepovers and camps), and along the way we hope they build their confidence, learn team work and leadership skills, challenge themselves and learn to give back to their communities. Activities can be putting on a show, outdoor cooking (or indoor cooking), crafts, games, trips, outdoor activities like abseiling or climbing, geocaching, dance sessions or anything else the girls can come up with.

Things are about to get even louder and more fun as we’re planning to add a Rainbow unit to start after October half term. Rainbows is for girls aged 5-7 and we’re really excited to be able to offer this at Dean Court. Rainbows Look, Laugh, Learn and Love, and they have just as much fun as their older sisters.

These groups rely entirely on volunteers and are in desperate need of more help for all three groups. Volunteers come forward for all sorts of reasons and can be any age from 14 up. Do you know

someone who’s looking to get more involved in the community, wants to meet similar people, wants to gain more experience with children, wants to complete their Duke of Edinburgh service component or wants to earn a free polo shirt and unlimited s’mores? We would love to hear from them.

For information about volunteering, or about any of the other 9 units in the district, email Catriona Allen on

To enquire about a space at Guides (ages 10-14) email or for Brownies (ages 7-10) or for the brand new Rainbow group (ages 5 -7) deancourtrainbows@gmail.comJess UVIMG_9177


Work for us!

We’re recruiting! 9 to 19 hours to suit the right applicant. We know we need positivity, friendliness and amazing organisation skills. You tell us what else you can bring to the role. Pay is £8.25 per hour and hours are flexible.

Please share with friends and family. 

Email for job description and application form. Deadline for applications is 5pm on September 16th.

The Queen’s Birthday…you’re invited!

This time next week (Saturday 11th June) we will be partying to celebrate the Queen turning 90.  We’d love you to join us.

12.30 to 1.30 Bring and Share Lunch

Like all the best street parties, we’ll be asking people to bring and share food.  Please bring your favourite savoury dishes and be ready to swap and share.  We’ll arrange sweet things and we’ll also be selling hot and cold drinks.  Please label your food containers.

1.30 to 3ish Fun and Celebrations

Bouncy castle – who doesn’t love a bouncy castle

Make do and mend swap shop – we think the Queen would approve! Bring anything you don’t use (you can drop off before lunch if that’s easier) and rummage for treasures amongst other people’s donations

Crafts – craft fun for kids, including a crown making competition with a mystery prize

Owls – real life owls to meet and have a picture with

Face painting – go glam or scary

Other stuff – tbc!

3 to 5 Cream Teas from St Andrews

The lovely people at St Andrews will be serving free cream teas from the Orange room.  How very, very kind is that?

No tickets needed, but bring change for bouncy castle, drinks or donations towards running costs.

If you’d like to lend a hand for any part of the day we’d love to hear from you.

Please tell your friends, family and neighbours.  Everyone is welcome to drop in at any time.  Oh, and like and share us on Facebook!


Queen's Birthday pic



The power of the people!

One of the things we have been doing from day one at the Centre is to carefully watch our energy use. You might have noticed stickers and signs encouraging doors to be closed, and lights turned off, but what you can’t see is the care that Rachael our Centre Administrator gives to setting the heating timers for our hirers’ sessions.

By doing this we can save both money and reduce our impact on the environment. Saving money also means being able to direct our limited resources to other more beneficial activities as well as helping to keep our hiring charges as low as we can.

Now that we have reached the end of year two at the Centre we are delighted that our energy use in the year to March 2016 was up 11%. On the face of it you might think why are we delighted? The answer is that at the same time our letting income was up a massive 79%! *

This means that for every pound of letting income, our energy use was down a massive 38%!

Neil blog 2

I would like to say a big thank you to Rachael, the Trustees, and you our hirers and visitors for your support in managing our energy use. Also, when you are next at the centre have a look at our annual update on energy, waste and water. Finally, I hope you can be inspired to see what you can do in your own home. You have the power!

Best wishes


Eco-Team Lead

* Please note these figures are to be confirmed at the AGM.

We’re hiring!

Are you a friendly, community-minded human being with good organisational skills and the ability to use (or learn to use) Twitter, Facebook and WordPress? Are you available for 9 hours to be spread over Friday-Tuesday and to include some hours at the weekend? Would you like £8.25 an hour? Do you dream of working closely with our lovely existing administrator Rachael?

We’re looking for a second administrator who can take responsibility for our publicity and general communication with the world – you might have noticed we’re a bit sporadic with updating the website! They will also be able to increase the time that we can staff the centre for by working some of the weekend. Job description as follows:

Job description

  1. To market the Community Centre and DCCA events to local groups and individuals using all available channels including the website and social media, with appropriate direction and support from the Trustees and Volunteer Team.
  2. To co-ordinate the upkeep of our website (currently WordPress), mainly through blog posts and simple site admin (training provided).
  3. To take bookings, confirm that they comply with the Bookings Policy and confirm the booking with the hirer using the standard confirmation form.
  4. To deal with emails and other correspondence as necessary.
  5. To greet hirers for sessions taking place during working hours and ensure the centre is clean and tidy.
  6. To book cleaners and other contactors as necessary and occasionally undertake light cleaning duties if needed.

For more information and an application form, please e-mail If this isn’t you, do you have any friends who might be interested? Send them our way!

Bring on the brunch

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and here at the Community Centre we couldn’t agree more. Especially when it’s our very own Community Breakfast!
Come on down this Sunday 14th and start the day Dean Court style. There’ll be our trademark bacon baps and waffles, proper coffee, juice and Sunday papers to boot. Younger brunchers can let off some steam in the main hall, refuelling when necessary!
If you think you’d look good in one of our aprons (and who wouldn’t?!), then new volunteers are always welcome. Or just come and complime 

nt us on our cooking skills!

We’ll be open for business between 9 and 11.30 am….see you there!

One lump or two?

Whether you’re a latte lover or Americano addict, here at the Community Centre we think a cup of something warm is always a Good Thing. So, we would love you to join us at Community Coffee, our new(ish) social group.

We’ll be putting the kettle on between 10 and 11.30 am on the first and third Tuesdays of the month and all are welcome, young or old. There’ll be papers to be read, biscuits to be dunked, cake to be nibbled and socialising to be done. All for just £1.50 per session.

As always, volunteers are more than welcome to get involved. Maybe you could help some of our less mobile supporters attend by giving them a lift? Meet and greet like a pro? Or do you pride yourself on your tea-making skills and think you could lend a couple of hours per month? Whatever you can offer, we will gratefully receive! Contact Rachael on and have a chat if you would like to know more.

If you know a family member, friend or neighbour who may be interested in coming along but is unlikely to see this post, please do let them know (or give them a lift!).

Pop these dates in your diary and give Community Coffee a warm welcome!

  • May 5th
  • May 19th


Your Eco-Team and CAG need you!

At the forthcoming birthday celebrations (this weekend!) there will be a joint stall for the Eco-Team and Community Action Group (CAG). We need your help and we’d be delighted to discuss with you ways in which you might be able to help either or both of these two volunteer groups.

The Eco-Team


We are a team of volunteers that helps the community centre to fulfil its’ ‘eco-ambitions’. Last year we successful attained the Eco-Centres award and we have just drafted a plan for what we would like do in the coming year. That’s where we need your help. We have a list of things we would like to do, which this year are mainly on the themes of energy, healthy living, and bio-diversity, but we need help to do them. Could you join the team and help us?

The Dean Court CAG


We are a team of volunteers in the Dean Court area and are part of a 50 strong network in Oxfordshire at the forefront of community led action. We organise events and support action on issues such as energy, waste, transport, food, and biodiversity. Recent events included a litter pick and seed swap evening. We are always keen to have more people to help run and take part in our events. Could you help us?

We will both be at the event this weekend, on or near the stall, and we look forward to seeing you. Please come and say ‘hi’.

Neil Clark                    Naomi Sharland

Eco-Team Lead          Dean Court CAG

All hands on deck!

It was a favourite saying of my ex- Royal Navy grandfather and we NEVER questioned him!  Oh, I wish I had the same clout . . .
But the success of our First Birthday Celebration rests with all of us. So, please, get out those blue tee-shirts (or buy one if you like!) and come and help us on (or before) our First Birthday weekend, 11th – 12th April.  There is much to be done, and, as the old saying goes:  Many hands make light work.  (Not my grandfather’s, that one – he didn’t believe in light work.)
You can easily tick what you can do in 30 seconds on our form here: Sign up page.  We will also need cakes (can anyone make a fabby birthday cake for us?  Otherwise it will have to be a less-than-fabby one made by me.  And I might be better employed in touching up the paint on our totally wonderful building.  But that will entail someone getting the paint down from the roof space. I can supply   the ladder if you can pick it up.)
So here’s the list of things-to-do:
Cakes – LOADS of cakes (special plea from Anna . . . well, OK, to be honest, from me)
Birthday cake: Large no. 1 in DCCC colours. 
Paint re-touching – get paint from roof space – I can supply ladder if you can pick it up.
Donations for the Tombola
Photographs!  Can anyone cover the event for us, featuring loads of blue tee-shirts?
Window cleaning So we can sparkle our way into the next year!
Priscilla Waugh


Will there be a drought this summer?

Who knows? But there is an increasingly serious side to the issue of ‘water stress’, as it is known, around the globe and even here in the UK. I chose to write about water this month because last Sunday it was World Water Day. According to the UN, 20 litres of water per person per day is enough to meet the basic hygiene and food safety needs, and according to Waterwise we use 150 litres each in the UK.


Fortunately, right from the start the Community Centre has been well equipped to minimise its water use. The toilet cisterns are low capacity with dual flush, and the taps in the toilets are auto shut off. And, from monitoring our water meter that was installed last summer we know that we do indeed use a very low amount of water.

If you want to make some changes at home too, then just contact Thames Water, or search their website for ‘Freebies’. They have a selection of gadgets that they will send you absolutely free of charge (up to two) to help you in various ways to save water, and if you are metered, save money too!

Best wishes to you all,


Eco-Team Lead