Support of the Cherwell Collective

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the Parish Council was approached by a resident with a request to use Exeter Hall whilst it was closed to the general public due to Covid restrictions. The Council quickly agreed to help and allowed the newly formed Cherwell Collective the use of its facilities for storage and distribution to residents of Kidlington. We worked closely with them in those early days to encourage volunteers, find grants and identify people in need in our community.

Over time the Council’s support increased and we allowed the Collective the use of many of our community facilities including:
  • Free, exclusive use of the barn at the rear of Exeter Close to use for storage and distribution for the Cherwell Larder and Party Library.
  • Heavily discounted use of the Main Hall on Thursdays and Fridays for the Larder, WISH and the Climatarian Kitchen
  • Free use of the Main Hall on Saturdays
  • Free use of the catering kitchen on those days and many other days when required or available 
  • Free use of three allotment plots for Cherwell Larder and Harvest @ Home
  • Free use of many of the Council’s green spaces for Harvest @ Home
  • Access to grants to run initiatives such as Winter Warmer, King’s Coronation.
  • Discounted use of the bar area for office space.
The Council reviews all of its fees and charge every year and implements the increases each April. In doing so, we look at comparative costs at similar facilities and many other factors. The increases to the hall hire charges were in line with previous year’s increases and remain much lower than similar facilities in the area in order that we can support other initiatives and local organisations.

The Council felt that it was important that it be as transparent as possible regarding its support of the Collective and last year asked them to formalise their requirements by applying for grants from the Council in order for us to consider what discounts to apply.

Recently Cherwell Collective was lucky enough to receive a grant in excess of a million pounds from the National Lottery which has helped them to grow their organisation far beyond the village so that they could help to reduce waste across the county and beyond. Whilst the Council endorses the Collective’s aims, it feels it cannot use Kidlington residents Council Tax to support the wider Oxfordshire community. In their recent grant application it was acknowledged that the majority of the Collective’s users are not Kidlington residents.

We were informed by the founder that the primary reason for the larder’s decision to reduce hours at Exeter Hall was in order to help set up more localised infrastructure across the county. We had also been aware that the amount of food available on larder days had dramatically decreased which we were informed was due to some large organisations no longer supplying their excess.

 Cherwell Collective logo


Cherwell Collective


Cherwell Collective

The Council was able to consider the grant applications from Cherwell Collective at its meetings in February and March and agreed to discount the hire costs by 60% based on the requirements stated in their application. This discount is only slightly smaller than the discount of 66% applied up to now.

Kidlington Parish Council continues to support Cherwell Collective in many ways and it is disappointing that the founder has misinformed members of the public and the press about the process we have been through. Whilst the Collective currently operates as a business, we hope that we can help to support them in their transition to a properly constituted charity which may give them access to further funding streams.