Wellbeing Project

Kidlington community helps guide wellbeing project through COVID and beyond

The K5 Better Together partnership has lived up to its name, gathering members from an array of different community groups online for the project’s first annual stakeholder meeting.

Led by Cherwell District Council’s healthy place shaping team and supported by key partners including Kidlington Parish Council, the wellbeing initiative has been running in Kidlington and the surrounding villages for the last year.

A zoom meeting on Thursday 28th January saw more than 40 community groups represented at the annual partnership conference, where the projects’ priorities for improving health and wellbeing  were reaffirmed, and new initiatives discussed in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell District Council’s lead member of health and wellbeing said: “Healthy place shaping is a key focus for Cherwell. Working from the grassroots up, we can learn more about our communities, what they do well and how we can support them to be even happier places to live. But this approach is only possible with the engagement of local stakeholders, giving up their time and energy for the benefit of the whole village. To have more than 40 groups represented at the first annual conference shows just how passionate partners are about the project and their community.”

The K5 Better Together partnership has been developed as a bespoke offering for Kidlington and the surrounding area. It takes on some of the most successful strands of Cherwell’s first place-based wellbeing project, Healthy Bicester, whilst ensuring the project is tailor-made for the unique communities of OX5.

During the online meeting, members discussed the core goals for the K5 initiative, including connecting communities; reducing social isolation and loneliness; and improving physical and mental wellbeing.

While delegates reaffirmed their backing for the key principles, new areas of concerns were also raised. These included supporting groups needing help for the first time due to the financial effects of COVID and engaging new members of the village who, prior to the pandemic, had spent their working day away from the local area.

Cherwell’s healthy place shaping team will now take the learning from the event to develop the programme, adapting some areas to reflect the new challenges presented by COVID-19, before reporting back to partners in readiness for the months and year ahead.