VOLUNTEER organisations in a town in Oxfordshire gathered together to share ideas about how they can prosper in 2020.

Thirty five representatives from 25 different groups in Bicester came together for a community networking event last week hosted by Bicester Town Council and Cherwell District Council's Healthy Bicester partnership.

As well as a chance to interact with each other, delegates were offered presentations, learning about the funding and training opportunities available to them.

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Bicester Town Council leader, Councillor Richard Mould said: “This annual event is important for both the volunteer organisations who attend as well as the town as a whole.

"Bicester Town Council places a huge amount of value on residents who give up their time to help benefit the community. They are the heartbeat of our town and events such as these are crucial to help them thrive.”

The event was held at the council's offices, The Garth, and one of the groups that attended was Bicester Green Gym, an environmental group that encourages locals to be more eco-friendly.

Bea Foster from Bicester Green Gym said: “Having the chance to mingle with other like-minded organisations was extremely useful, opening our eyes to ways in which we can further develop in 2020.

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"We’ve got more ideas about attracting new members, as well as learning about different funding pots available, to help make planning for the future much easier.”

Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing, Councillor Andrew McHugh, said: “It might seem a simple thing, but offering a community networking event to volunteer organisations can make a real difference to these groups and the community as a whole.

"Volunteers are the glue that binds the community together and it’s important that we do everything we can to support them."