Support for rural services
West Oxfordshire District Council has earmarked £27,815 to support ORCC’s (Oxfordshire Rural Community Council) work to maintain and improve services in rural areas.
The grant is a joint initiative with other Oxfordshire local authority partners to fund three areas of activity managed by ORCC, they are: a village shops development worker post, rural transport improvements and community development work.
Village shops development worker
Established in 1999 the Village Shops Development Worker post has been a real asset for independently-owned and community-run shops. In the last 10 years several new shops have opened and Oxfordshire now has one of the highest number of existing and emerging community shops in the country with 16 open and 2 in the pipeline. West Oxfordshire has the highest proportion of these – eight out of sixteen. These are at Ascott-under-Wychwood, Chadlington, Charlbury, Filkins, Finstock, Leafield, Tackley and Wootton.
Oxfordshire’s long-standing village shops partnership work is recognised nationally as good practice in the promotion of rural economic wellbeing. The Commission for Rural Communities will be featuring ORCC’s support for village shops as a case study in a national report.
Transport is a necessity for people living in rural areas and ORCC helps to identify local transport needs and solutions. It also advises on the set up and running of community transport schemes.
ORCC’s community development work includes parish planning activity, assessing community needs and identifying ways of meeting them.
Cllr Jill Dunsmore, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "ORCC provides invaluable support for the rural community in West Oxfordshire, especially at a time when many villages are losing important amenities. Their work is very much needed and is very visible in many of our villages. We are pleased to be funding our share of maintaining ORCC support.”
Meryl Smith, Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Rural Community Council said, “ORCC very much welcomes the Council’s continued support for these key areas of our work aimed at supporting rural communities to work together to help themselves and to improve access to services. We look forward to building on a long history of partnership working with the District Council for the benefit of its rural residents.”
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