Banbury International

When we set up Visit Banbury we were absolutely determined to promote everything that was positive and community focused about Banbury.IMG_5154

We think we’ve done a reasonable job so far with lots of events, lots of social media supporting local businesses, organisations, events and people and a fair amount of community cohesion to help bring people together around the town.

However, eighteen months ago we never dreamt that we would be needing to promote community cohesion in the way we feel we need to now.

Recent events have meant that both anecdotally and via official reports, the UK is seeing an increase in the amount of hate, racism and xenophobia shown to people who just days ago were treated exactly like the rest of us.

We know for many people this is not a new phenomenon as they have frequently experienced racism but for a whole group of people who have made the UK their home, all of a sudden the UK rather than being a tolerant, welcoming and open society has become at best unfriendly and at worst hostile and nasty.

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So having attended BBC Breakfast’s Live TV broadcast from Banbury market place on Saturday morning Steve Gold and I sat and had a cup of tea at the Whistling Kettle and decided that irrespective of the political pros and cons, Visit Banbury needed to make some sort of stand in solidarity with all of the nationalities living and working in Banbury.

We decided to be the catalyst for a wider group of people to be able to show that they too were standing in solidarity with their neighbours regardless of race nationality or ethnicity.

And so was born “Banbury International”.

Banbury-Internation-Facebook-Group-Cover-Image (1)On Sunday morning, after quickly making contact with a number of different groups including Jake and the Banbury Community Action Group, the community focused folks at Naomi’s café, a network of positive individuals linked to a Visit Banbury initiative and also a dedicated Visit Banbury French speakers group in and around Banbury, we suggested to hold an event on Saturday 16th July in the BCAG Community Garden behind Naomi’s café and in order to quickly organise it, set up a closed Facebook Group for anyone who wanted to be involved.

After about 6 hours, 31 people were in the group and the event had been pretty much set up except for a few more specific details.

Following lots of frenetic messaging and emailing on Sunday afternoon and Monday, a group of us got together on Tuesday evening to finalise some of the details and the result of that is a free community event starting at 12pm which will be bringing together all of the communities in Banbury in a show of friendship solidarity and peace.

There is going to be live music, arts and crafts, activities for the children, a big table for everyone to bring food and share it amongst themselves and a pay bar at Naomi’s café.

There will also be a symbolic tree planting as a lasting sign of our community growing together.

Other details as yet are a little bit fluid as we want this to be an organically developing event, not too structured but more about being together sharing a common bond as human beings who just happen to live and work in Banbury.

Please keep an eye out for a Facebook event and posters and flyers around town in the coming days and please share them with all of your contacts so that as many members of the diverse communities attend and continue to build strong bonds across the town.

As some of you may know, the Visit Banbury initiative is based on ideas and an ethos developed by the Eden Project called The Big Lunch and Big Lunch Extras and we think this is a fitting way to continue to develop and sustain an amazing community network in Banbury.

Big love to you all and let’s make friendship and community a stronger force than fear and hatred.

Banbury-International-A4

Another Positive Perspective 

One of the great things about being involved in promoting Banbury is that you get to know lots of other people who share our perspective.

They also have the view that Banbury has lots to offer and a latent potential ready to be realised, if only people were to accentuate the positives rather than to dwell on the areas to improve (which town doesn’t have those).
One of those people is US expat Deborah Menikoff Simmons who blogs about all sorts of wonderful things Banbury-based. 
Here is Deb’s great blog page – give it a good read because it is a good read!

Blogging about Banbury 
Blog & biog photo credits: Deborah Menikoff Simmons / Neil Simmons

Positively Brilliant!

As you may know, one of the underlying concepts for the Visit Banbury initiative is positivity and I just read this great article on LinkedIn by Keeran Gunnoo which really shows what important forces optimism and positivity truly are.


I for one will be heeding much of the advice to boost my positivity levels. Tim

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/optimism-artform-5-ways-unleash-your-positivity-keeran-gunnoo?trk=prof-post&trk=v-feed 

Amazing art in Banbury and villages – Artweeks is here 21st – 30th May!

Guest Blog by Ella Hendy, artist & local Artweeks co-ordinator

Ella

If you’ve been in and around Banbury over the past couple of weeks, hopefully you’ve noticed the familiar blue and black logo, and lots of art, popping up.  This can mean only one thing – Oxfordshire Artweeks is on its way to our part of the county!

Artweeks Logo

We’re lucky here in Oxfordshire that we have the biggest and the longest running open studio event in the UK.  It’s already kicked off in Oxford city and on 21 May, Artweeks comes to Banbury and surrounding villages.

More than sixty painters and designers, potters and sculptors, photographers, jewellers and textile artists will be opening their homes, studios and other venues to showcase their talent through exhibitions and demonstrations.  And if you have spotted the displays already up in the former Moss Bros shop on the High Street or Banbury Museum shop, you will see that we are indeed a talented lot here in Banbury and villages.

This is just a taster – there will be so much more to see during the week!  There are a number of new Artweeks artists this year (including myself), and lots of familiar Artweeks faces, with some amazing new creations to show.  We’ve all been working very hard to make it a week to remember.

In Banbury itself there are seven different venues plus The Artery and a wealth of different creations to uncover – from photography to digital art, oil paintings to mixed-media canvases, glass work and jewellery.

Banbury Artweeks

There is a varied exhibition at The Mill on the theme ‘In a Land Faraway’.  And if you like what you see of Caroline Chappell’s work in the town centre in Hamptons, why not head to Middleton Cheney to see her at work in her home studio.

Venture further afield and discover a wealth of art in Sibford Ferris where the Temple Mill opens its doors to invite you in, or in the National Herb Centre at Warmington where four artists host a large exhibition of varied styles.  Enjoy rural watercolours amongst the agricultural machinery in the magnificent Swalcliffe barn; pots for pleasure and purpose in an Old Pig Pen Pottery in Bloxham and hand-carved spoons by master wood-worker Martin Damen in Great Bourton.  In Culworth see stone lithography prints inspired by the circus, or take a trip to Warden Hill where the Cool Contours arts and crafts centre where the tutors showcase their talent.

Artweeks 5

And that’s just for starters – there’s plenty more amazing art to uncover in Adderbury, Twyford, Deddington, Kings Sutton, North Newington, Milcombe and Sibford Gower too.  So best to pick up a copy of the Artweeks guide, one of our local trail maps, and plan your route!

Artweeks 1

I for one am very excited about Artweeks.  I’ll be at Naomi’s Café Bar with a new series of paintings, and my paints.  I’ll be offering you the opportunity to make your mark on Artweeks too, with a large interactive piece I have created for the week.  I hope to see you there!

Artweeks 2Anne Donnelly

Artweeks 3

Steve Gold

You can download a digital copy of our trail map here and for further information on artists, venues, and exhibitions visit www.artweeks.org  You can also keep up to date with all our news via our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/OxfordshireArtweeksBanbury

Our thanks to Hamptons, Senecio, Banbury Museum shop, Banbury Library, and Banbury Town Team for your support with our trail maps, taster exhibitions, or information displays.

Catch Ella @EllaartUK, Steve Gold @SteveGold123 and Oxfordshire Artweeks @OxonArtweeks on Twitter

Eating together makes you happier


Taking the time to sit down together over a meal helps create social networks that in turn have profound effects on our physical and mental health, our happiness and wellbeing, and even our sense of purpose in life.
http://bit.ly/1WraUN1

There is a growing number of Big Lunches taking place across Banbury and they are so easy to organise – go for it ! See the Facebook page Banbury Big Lunchers.

For more on organising a Big Lunch, see The Big Lunch info

The above blog was published on http://www.thebiglunchers.com

Love Is….Banbury – we have a winner!

So, after a number of entries to our Saint Valentine’s competition in conjunction with The Italian Larder, Visit Banbury can now confirm the winner of the delicious Tiramisu Panettone & Prosecco.

 The fabulous prize donated by The Italian Larder.
The winner chosen by random on Saturday morning was Guillaume Grall.

  Here is Guillaume with his prize and his wife Dawn & son Thomas.

 Guillaume’s main reason he loves Banbury.

Thanks for taking part everyone and keep a look out for future competitions with local independent businesses.

#Visitbanbury

Love is…… Banbury

Do you remember those 70s cartoons of the little man & woman with the message “Love is…..”?

www.loveiscartoon.com

To celebrate the anniversary of the Visit Banbury “Be Positive About Banbury” video which we gifted to Banbury on St. Valentine’s Day last year and to give someone a special treat, we have a little competition for all of our Twitter followers & Facebook likers. And we have taken inspiration from those famous cartoons.

Our friends at The Italian Larder www.theitalianlarder.co.uk


also have something to celebrate as this is their first St. Valentine’s Day in their new location on Wildmere Industrial Estate (close to Banbury Gateway Shopping Centre) and so they have very kindly donated a Tiramisu panettone & a bottle of Prosecco for us to give as a prize to one lucky follower or liker of the Visit Banbury Twitter feed or Facebook page.  

How to Enter
All you have to do is ensure you are following http://www.twitter.com/VisitBanbury or have liked http://www.facebook.com/VisitBanbury and send us a tweet or a Facebook message with the hashtag #LoveIsBanbury and tell us what is the ONE thing you most love about Banbury.


You can also find The Italian Larder on Twitter & Facebook

http://www.twitter.com/Italianlarder

https://www.facebook.com/theitalianlarder/

Ts&Cs

Closing date is Midnight on Friday 12th February 2016.

All entries received with #LoveIsBanbury, an item which you love about Banbury and which are verifiably from a follower or liker of the Visit Banbury social media channels mentioned will be entered into the competition and one entry will be drawn at random.

The winner will be advised on Saturday 13th February.

Prizes will NOT be sent by post / courier so please ensure you could collect them from the Visit Banbury team in Banbury.

The winner agrees to take part in promotional photography & authorises Visit Banbury to retain ownership of the photos taken and to use them in Visit Banbury social media / internet or print media publicity.

Neither Twitter or Facebook are involved in this competition run by Visit Banbury in conjunction with The Italian Larder.

The decision of Visit Banbury is final and Visit Banbury reserve the right to withdraw the competition if circumstances dictate.

E&OE