Pupils at 32 north Oxfordshire schools will soon be enjoying new bike libraries and extra-curricular activities, after a large government funding award from the Opening School Facilities Fund.

This funding is part of a total investment of £500,000 for the county and will see North Oxfordshire School Sports Partnership working with Active Oxfordshire and districts across the county to support schools to open up their facilities outside of the normal school day.

Cherwell is the first district to benefit from this funding and it is expected that others will follow in the near future.

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Cherwell District Council has provided £70,000 of forward funding to enable the bike libraries to be installed, while the North Oxfordshire Schools Sports Partnership is co-ordinating delivery.

Schools have been applying to fund the projects they want to see delivered in their areas, based on a series of options offered by Cherwell, including swimming, outdoor gym equipment, and Youth Activators breakfast clubs.

In response, Cherwell and British Cycling are delivering 120 new bikes to schools across the district to host bike libraries.

Dean Woodham, Partnership Manager at North Oxfordshire School Sport Partnership, said: “School grounds have so much potential to offer outside the normal school day for families and their children, and we are putting this substantial funding award to work to empower the schools who want to achieve this.

“There is a special focus on doing more with girls, disadvantaged pupils and pupils with special educational needs and we are working with each school that applies to us to understand what is best for them.”

Councillor Phil Chapman, Portfolio Holder for Healthy Communities, said: “Each of the schools that has applied to us has its own vision for how the Opening School Facilities Fund can deliver for them.

“Whether it be through our existing partnership with British Cycling, or through the work of our Youth Activators, I am determined that the council will play a big part in helping children access a greater variety of activities during evenings, weekdays and holidays.”

Josh Lenthall, Chief Executive of Active Oxfordshire, said: “This is a welcome investment into our county which will make a huge difference in helping local children and families to be more active together.”

Heidi Yates, Cherwell’s British Cycling community developer, said: “Cycling does wonders for young people’s health and wellbeing, and through British Cycling’s close relationship with Cherwell District Council, we’ve been able to make the most of this great funding opportunity to deliver six bike libraries at schools in Banbury and Bicester.”

Four schools in Banbury and two in Bicester are each receiving 20 bikes, which will be stored in secure new bike shelters.


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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.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1