Oxford City Council is launching a new campaign, #WeAreOxford, to celebrate the people and communities that make Oxford a great city.
The campaign is a response to the uncertainty that Brexit has caused for many in Oxford, and a recognition that sharing experiences is part of what makes for stronger, more positive communities.
The Brexit debate has divided communities across the country over the last three years, and hate crime statistics in Oxford show a 29% rise from 2016 to 2018. The campaign is being launched in Brexit week to focus on our shared futures.
The council is creating a £35,000 grant fund that will support charities and organisations to provide activities that bring different communities together. The grant scheme will be launched on 10 February, full details will be released at the launch.
The council will be running an online photo competition in February for people to celebrate the places and activities that make them feel connected and proud to be part of Oxford.
The council will also be celebrating Community Heroes, people whose efforts to create welcoming, positive neighbourhoods and communities deserve recognition. Oxford is one of the most diverse cities in the UK, and there are many people, of all ages, who give their free time to create welcoming, safe and enjoyable places for people from all backgrounds to come together.
The Council will also involve existing activity and groups in the campaign, such as youth clubs, cultural activities and the Museum of Oxford, and will encourage other Oxford organisations and partners to get involved through their own events and activities too.
Explaining the aims of the campaign, City Council Leader Susan Brown said
“Oxford means many different things to different people – education, history, Minis, Harry Potter – but to those of us who live here it means home. It means the number 5 bus, our football team, friends and family, the kids’ school. These are things that make us feel part of the place, feel safe and welcome.
“With this campaign we want to celebrate the things we have in common, whatever our background. Oxford is a hugely diverse city, not just in language and culture but privileges and opportunities, and while that brings many benefits it can also make it harder to recognise our common values. We’ll be funding activities that bring people together to share experiences and build a future we all want to be part of in Oxford.
“But the council doesn’t build communities, people do. We want this campaign to be a way for people to celebrate what makes their lives in Oxford good, we’re kickstarting the conversation and providing some funding but we can’t do this without the people of Oxford. We want people to get involved in the conversation about what makes them feel proud to be part of Oxford.
“There’s amazing work going on all the time, and great people showing us how we can create that safe, welcoming home city. These people and places are part of what makes Oxford so special for those who live here, that make us all feel We Are Oxford.”