Staff at a popular environmental organisation jumped for joy when a construction company pledged to kit out their new premises for free.

For the past five years, Bicester Green, an organisation that teaches and enables sustainable living, has operated out of three 40ft shipping containers at The Garth, in Bicester.

With the temporary planning consent on the containers ending in March 2023, the outfit was in need of a new home for their activities.

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Centre Manager Celia Cornforth said: “After several near misses we have finally found a home for part of our organisation to move into, 16 Sheep Street (formerly Dorothy Perkins), a retail unit that has sat empty for a few years.

“We will use this space as a sustainability hub, with our own shop moving in, with a zero waste shop courtesy of our partners Nothing but Footprints, the newly launching Bicester Green Library of Things, workshop space to run courses, and our volunteer run bike workshop where we recondition donated bikes and sell them, repair customer bikes, run Dr Bike sessions and service various bike library stocks.”

Having secured this location, Mrs Cornforth and her team contacted one of their supporters to see if they could help by leveraging some of their purchasing power for the essential works on the site.

Which included replacing fluorescent lighting with LED and changing the front doors to reduce the need for a heat curtain.

Mrs Cornforth added: “What happened next is the stuff of fairy tales.

“Following an onsite meeting with Parkway MK Construction they have set about a schedule of works on our behalf that is basically a DIY SOS job on the space, providing free labour to achieve all the works required.

“It doesn’t stop there; they have secured monetary donations – in the thousands - from customers for materials and equipment to use on this project.

“Their suppliers have pledged further generosity our way with a free kitchen, flooring, ceiling tiles, paint, skip and all the materials needed, and their subcontractors have confirmed provision and/or installation of replacement front doors, installation of LED lighting throughout, servicing of the VBAC system, Alarm service, CCTV and servicing of the heat curtain.”

Work commenced on the new premises on Monday.

Mrs Cornforth added: “Myself and everyone at Bicester Green are absolutely stunned at the generosity, it’s incredible and it’s given us a real lift for what happens in the future.

“We’re currently tucked away, but with this new premises we can reach so many more people and make a big difference towards climate change and saving the planet.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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