We need a hero…

It’s time to celebrate the heroes of Dean Court again in our annual cake-eating tradition also known as the AGM! We would love the pleasure of your company for an hour on the afternoon of Sunday 16th October, at 3pm. We’ll all eat cake together, some of us will give a brief run down of what’s been going on this year, everyone will vote on some things that let DCCA carry on doing what we’re doing, and we’ll big up someone from our community who shows us all what community spirit looks like.

Can you think of anyone that we should be celebrating? We’re keen to find people in our community who selflessly give up their time and energy for others, or to generally make the world a better place to live! They don’t have to be connected to the Community Centre or to DCCA, this is just about celebrating the marvellous people around us. Please send us an e-mail (deancourtcc@gmail.com) by Tuesday 4th October with the name of your person and a sentence or two about why they’re so brilliant, and we’ll try to make sure they get a mention at our meeting. We’ll also be selecting one person as our Volunteer of the Year.

Please do come and join the party! We need a certain number of people there to make it a proper meeting, and you’re guaranteed a free slice of cake and some tea, as well as lovely local friendly types. We look forward to seeing you.



Volunteer Of The Year

This year at our AGM (5th October; put it in your diaries now!) we will be awarding the first ever Dean Court Volunteer Of The Year!


We want to celebrate the great and amazing people that are found all over Dean Court, so if you know someone great and amazing who selflessly gives up their time to help others for free, then please nominate them! They might be someone who helps listen to readers in a school, or who visits folk who can’t easily leave their homes. It might be someone you know who’s involved with a voluntary organisation like the Scouts or Guides, or there might be someone who just goes out of their way to help others whenever they get a chance.

The only essential feature is that the person must live in Dean Court (as defined by this map). Feel free to nominate friends, neighbours, your child’s brownie leader, etc.. You don’t have to tell them you’re nominating them but we’ll let you know if they’re shortlisted so you can make sure they come along! Please write us a short blurb about what makes them the Dean Court Volunteer of the Year and send it to us at deancourtcc@gmail.com. If writing’s not your thing, then send us the name of the person you’d like to nominate and your phone number so that we can ring you up and talk to you about them instead. The entries will be judged by a panel from the Community Association Management Team and the closing date is Sunday 28th September.

In summary:

  • They must live in Dean Court
  • Any voluntary activity counts
  • Tell us why they’re great! at deancourtcc@gmail.com
  • Closing date 28th Sept.


We look forwards to being deluged with e-mails about all the great people in Dean Court!


Volunteer of the year banner


Volunteer of the Month (belatedly!) – Jackie Cartwright

August’s Volunteer of the Month comes to you substantially late, for which I apologise, but with an exciting addition at the end… read on!




Jackie Cartwright is a team member who turned up at exactly the right moment. Trustee (in both senses!) Derek was always clear that he would step down from being the Treasurer when the Community Centre opened its doors (although I don’t think any of us envisaged he would serve for so long!), so we had plenty of warning of what was about to unfold, but unfortunately knowing what’s about to happen doesn’t always mean that you can magic a new treasurer up! Fortunately for us, the wonderful Naomi Sharland was on the case and got talking to Jackie at another local event, resulting in Jackie agreeing to take on our accounts and bring order to the finances of our new business!

We on the team are extremely grateful to Jackie for her constant good humour and willingness to ask the tricky questions! She keeps us all on track with the finances, which let me tell you is NOT a small task, but one that Jackie manages with verve and aplomb!

Jackie ensures that we are careful with our money – not only missing out on the opening ceremony so that she could make sure our cash did not go missing, but producing monthly reports so we can see where it’s going, and liaising with our independent examiners to produce the (highly complicated) annual accounts. Because Jackie’s on the team, you can be sure that every penny of your donations and hard-won fundraising is being used in the wisest way possible. The volume of information and detail she produces each month is incredible and so very useful to the Trustees.

It may be hard to believe, but all this is what Jackie does in her spare time – she has a day job working for another charity and is also a proud (and busy!) grandmother. Her house is always warm and welcoming and no piece of financial jargon is too much trouble to explain.

We marvel at your capability and are so glad you’re on the team Jackie, thank you.


Coming soon: Volunteer of the Year!

That’s right, it rhymes, so how could we possibly not include it in our forthcoming AGM?! For this year’s AGM (5th October, put it in your diaries now!), we are looking for a Dean Court Volunteer of the Year. More details to come soon, but do start thinking about who might be worthy of this prestigious award. The only 2 criteria are that the person needs to be:

  • Involved in voluntary work (not necessarily connected to the Community Centre)
  • Living in Dean Court (map here)

Who’s your volunteer of the year?



Making history: Our first paid job!

Just in case you didn’t know you could make history by having a job, let me inform you: Thus far in its four and a half year history, Dean Court Community Association has been an entirely voluntary organisation. Not one of our amazing team have received a penny for their hard work. Currently, the centre is cleaned, the bookings are taken, the doors are unlocked, the cafe is run, the website is updated and much much more by a team of dedicated, hard-working volunteers, to whom the community owes many, many thanks, so THANK YOU if that’s you!

However, it’s time to add something new to the mix: a paid member of staff. This person will have no less love for Dean Court than all our volunteers, they too will be motivated by a passion for all things community and they will be more excited than we are about being our first staff member. I can’t wait to introduce them to you, but we don’t know who it is yet…

Could it be YOU?! Someone you know? A neighbour, a friend?


Here’s the official job advert:

The Trustees of the newly opened Dean Court Community Centre invite applications for a Part-time Receptionist/Administrator (10 hours per week) on a fixed term six month contract to deal with lettings and the general day to day running of the centre.

The Administrator is likely to live locally and be willing to work flexible hours to cope with the varying demands on the Centre. If you are friendly and motivated with good organisational skills and a keenness to help our community to grow, then please get in touch with us!

Deadline for return of application forms:  Monday 15 September 2014.

I really hope that if you click on the link below, you’ll be taken to our Job description and our Application form. To apply, send the Application form and your CV to  us at deancourtcc@gmail.com. Even if you don’t meet every criterion on the job description, it’s worth applying because you might be exactly what we’re looking for and we just didn’t know it!

Job description Centre receptionist administrator

Application form Centre receptionist administrator


July’s volunteer of the month: Fiona Wheeler


I’m slightly reticent to start writing about Fiona’s amazingness, because the truth is, she’s so brilliant that there are bound to be several things I’ll accidentally miss out on account of not being able to hold all her many lovely qualities in my head at once… but here goes. You can add in what I’ve missed in the comments section below!

Fiona is, quite simply, outstanding. She first came on board the Community Centre project only a few months ago when she saw news of our intended Summer Fun Day and willingly got involved (without coercion or bribery) to run my favourite stall that DCCA has ever boasted at any of its events – a free baby guinea pig cuddling corner. Since then, she has rapidly become a lynchpin of the Community Centre project and I can tell you with certainty that the grand opening of the centre would never have come to such brilliant fruition without Fiona’s spreadsheets, unfailing humour, and incessant badgering of anyone who might give us a raffle prize. And all this despite being very poorly the entire week before and duration of the event. Her ability to handle large volumes of detail is unparalleled and she is constantly modest about her talents and gracious in pushing others into the limelight ahead of herself.

All those who have ever had the good sense to e-mail us with a booking enquiry will have encountered Fiona’s prompt helpfulness and unerring sense of humour arriving in their inbox. No matter what the request, big or small, outlandish or simple, Fiona is adept at putting everyone at ease and letting our customers know how important they are to us. She will always go the extra mile and is ready to help out at the drop of a hat.

Not content with managing all our customers, their bookings and the invoicing, (I know, now you’re wondering what the rest of us actually do!), Fiona is also spearheading our brand new community initiative, Sunday Community Breakfasts, and has single-handedly created this endeavour from scratch. And did I mention she helps with guides, runs the local brownie pack and mentors young people? And breeds baby guinea pigs? And has a full-time, fully-demanding job as a solicitor?

Fiona, you’re incredible. We don’t know how you do it all, but we’re glad you do!

– Anna

A New Lease of Life for Dean Court Community Centre!

The moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here… the lease was completed at midday today and Dean Court Community Centre is now ours for the next 25 years!

The Vale of White Horse District Council have issued us with a lease for Dean Court Community Centre 3 years to the day after the fire that burnt down the old building. How’s that for awesome timing?!

If you’d like to come and take a peek inside, we’ll be holding a press event at 5pm tomorrow (Friday) followed by an opportunity for anyone to drop in and have a look around the new centre until 6:30pm. We hope to organise a proper open day at some point in the future with a bit more notice, and there will also be our grand opening weekend on 5th and 6th April


Many, MANY thanks to all in DCCA who have been involved in getting us to this point, if I miss anyone off this list then I apologise and will add names later, but you all deserve some public recognition for being so great and for helping on the journey of the last 4 years. So, roughly in order of involvement, thanks Priscilla Waugh, Judy Roberts, Simon Shaw, Philip Hawtin, Maggie Wang, Jonny Kennedy, Sue Davis, Ruth Hettler, Paul Hettler, Annie Lewis, Rach Gallant, Stuart Larkin, Tim Hubbard, Dan Jones, Emma Bartlett, Eileen Elmitt, Phil Gallant, Liz Pestl, Mike Carter, Derek Rawson, Brian Sharland, Neil Clark, Brian Dent, Nasrin Dabri, Justin Andrewes, Naomi Sharland, Fiona Wheeler, Jane Harris, Bryan Goudman, David Wenham, Clare Wenham, Giorgio Bagordo, Jackie Cartwright… you are part of a legend ;).

I know there are many more who have popped up to help at crucial moments with fundraising events, minute taking, and advice giving – your help has been invaluable also, and you are much appreciated!

Thanks too, to those who ran the Social Club faithfully for so many years – I hope you will enjoy the new Centre and be at home here.

Here’s to the next 25 years!

Anna x

* with many thanks to Lizzie Hollow, previously of Pinnocks Way, for the awesome pun in the title.

Day 155: How green is eco?

Image Image







As you will know from previous blogs, Dean Court Community Centre is working towards the Eco-Centres Award. This is a journey and as with all journeys you first need to know where you are right now before planning where to go next! That’s what our Environmental Review is about and we are nearly finished in building (pardon the pun!) the picture of how the Centre impacts on the environment.

As you can imagine, there isn’t an endless pot of money to go ‘100% Eco’ from day one. Fortunately, the Eco-Centres award programme also recognises this and does not expect perfection before the award is given. They recognise that money and people are not endless resources and so they only ask that you show good progress and know where you are going!

The centre, like all of us individually, is on an Eco journey. So although I can get very excited by the movement operated LED lights in the toilet block, there is still the original and very solid, but uninsulated, concrete floor in the main hall. Apparently the option to dig it up was not an attractive one!

Neil Clark, Eco-Team

Day 152: I’m glad this makes sense to someone!


On Monday, Naomi and myself (Neil) made a visit to the centre to tie up some loose ends with our environmental review for the Eco-Centres programme.

Energy was on the agenda today and we were particularly keen to understand where and how energy is used in our new building. For many years I have enjoyed programmes such as Grand Designs and the thing that never ceases to amaze is how anyone can make sense of the mass of wires that eventually accumulate near the fuse box. Well, today we found the Dean Court version of a Grand Design (see photo).

It is with great relief and respect that we have Jim, our electrician whom we met today, and he knows what they all do!

Neil Clark, Eco-Team