When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
First Open Day shows Leys' community sprit
Life on an Oxford estate was celebrated with its first big community open day.
The inaugural event in the Leys showed off the work of 27 local organisations – letting residents see what is on offer.
Groups based at the Barn, the Clockhouse, the Dovecote and Kingfisher Green, all took part as residents were shown everything from archaeological finds in the area to exercise classes.
Elisha Meade, who teaches Zumba in The Barn, said: “I have lived on the Leys all my life and what today represents is the community spirit that has always been here.
“It reminds people of what is going on here and also brings people together. It depicts what Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys is all about.”
She said it would be great to hold the event annually, adding: “Next year it will be bigger and stronger.”
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “It is a great thing for the community because there is such a wide range of activities.
“There is something for everybody.
“This is sensationally good today and I hope they will organise it every year.”
He added: “There is already a strong community here but this makes it even stronger.”
Vicky Holloway, 40 of Comfrey Road, said the day was likely to help build a stronger community spirit as it brought people together.
She said: “It’s such a big area, sometimes it’s hard to get to know other neighbours. So I hope it does.”
She added: “It’s nice to have something like this to bring the children to.”
Organiser Ines Kretzschmar, from the Leys Housing Consortium which owns the buildings, said about 500 people had come along to Saturday’s event.
She said: “It’s a fantastic atmosphere and it’s all because of the hard work of local groups who have planned the event over the last three months.”
She said the hours volunteers put in to the estate were worth more than £100,000 last year and was something to celebrate.
Sally Meachim, from the Clockhouse project which caters for over 50s on the Leys, said the event was worthwhile as so many people had turned out.
She said: “It’s really good to let people know what’s happening as this is their centre.”
And Gerry Webb, 66, who runs an IT project for the over 50s, said: “It brings the community together which is a good thing.
“Blackbird Leys for a long time has had an unfair stigma. It’s a really safe and clean place to live now.”