A day of fun and games to celebrate Healthy Bicester

Healthy Bicester

A free open beach, music and dance performances and cookery demos were among the fun and healthy activities that were available ate Healthy Bicester.

On Saturday 13 May Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Oxford Academic Health Science Network and A2Dominion Housing Group launched the Healthy New Town Programme in Bicester town centre with a fun, action-packed day for people of all ages to enjoy.

The event kicked off at 10am with a health walk and a social cycle ride, starting at the top of Sheep Street; and a board game café at the Methodist Church. It finished at 4pm after the sandcastle competition in Market Square.

Ian Davies, Cherwell’s director of operational delivery and executive leader of Bicester Healthy New Town programme, said:  The day was  a great celebration for Bicester and its residents. The town has been awarded Healthy New Town status because we really aim to make health and wellbeing the focal point of the town’s growth.

“Healthy Bicester is taking shape and it’s worth celebrating this by offering residents a type of entertainment that is healthy and fun. At the same time and more importantly, it’s not just for kids and young people, families and older people also found many activities to enjoy.

“With this launch event we are asking all residents to be part of Healthy Bicester because adopting a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, it can be enjoyable and fun.”

In 2016 the Government awarded Bicester Healthy New Town status with the aim of using the town’s growth to tackle levels of obesity and social isolation. Therefore, the two key priorities of the programme are to increase the number of children and adults who are physically active and of healthy weight and to reduce the number of people who feel socially isolated.

Mr. Davies continued: “We will provide all the support possible to help residents adopt a healthier lifestyle. At the launch event there were cookery demonstrations to teach people how easy and affordable it can be to take control over calories, sugar, salt and fat intake.  Furthermore, all the social activities scheduled for the day were designed to enable people to connect with others in their community, which can really help combat loneliness”

Steve Hornblow, Project Director at A2Dominion, said: “Following the launch, we will now be implementing Elmsbrook’s first Healthy Walk which will be promoted via our resident’s home information tablet, the Shimmy – encouraging volunteers to train with us as Walk Leaders.

The initiative is being managed by our own Travel Plan Coordinator, Suzannah Gore to champion sustainable travel options, and we hope to get this event off the ground as soon as possible, following the success of Healthy Bicester.

The health of our future residents has always been important to us.  Elmsbrook provides adaptable, efficient homes to meet the changing needs of residents, as well as ‘walkable communities’ with bus stops within 400m of every home. We are looking forward to promoting further schemes that encourage walking, cycling and public transport to support Cherwell District Council in its healthy initiatives.”

Launch Programme

•         Enjoy the beach atmosphere All day Market Square Beach
•         Plant and grow your own food All day Bottom of Sheep St
•         Use our table tennis table All day Outside the Library
•         Bike MOTs and bike tagging All day Pioneer Square
•         Outdoor gym equipment- test your fitness All day Sheep St
•         Pedal your way to a free smoothie 11am-3pm Bottom of Sheep St
•         Games café- scrabble, chess, bridge 10am-12.30pm Methodist Church Hall
•         Taster health walks 10am&11.30am Top of Sheep St
•         Social Bike Ride- adults 10am Top of Sheep St
•         Sheep St Dash- family fun run 10.30am Top of Sheep St
•         Strength and Balance session for older people 10.30am Methodist Church Hall
•         Punch and Judy Show 10.45, 12.45, 2.45 Market Square Beach
•         Dance for older people session 11am Methodist Church Hall
•         Cooking for one food demo and tasting 11am Bottom of Sheep St
•         Toddle to the library for story time 11am Garth Park
•         Fun table tennis session 11am-12 noon Outside the Library
•         Activator Games for kids 11am-12 noon Garth Park
•         Bands in the Park 12-3pm Garth Park skate park
•         Healthy cooking on a budget food demo and tasting 12.15pm Bottom of Sheep St
•         Ballroom dance demo and chance to try some steps 12.30pm Methodist Church Hall
•         Try Zorb Football 1-3pm Garth Park
•         Kids interactive food workshop 1.30pm Bottom of Sheep St
•         Watch or join in with a Zumba Gold dance session 2pm Methodist Church Hall
•         Healthy Summer treats food demo and tasting 2.45pm Bottom of Sheep St
•         Sandcastle building competition 3pm Market Square Beach
•         Music and Dance performances All day Various town centre locations
•         Special Offers on healthy food All day Various town centre stalls and eateries
•         Baby and feeding-friendly space All day Methodist Church Hall


Bicester Healthy New Town programme is a Partnership Group involving over 30 local organisations.  Led by Cherwell District Council it includes North West Bicester’s lead developer A2Dominion, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, Bicester Town Council and other local community groups and organisations, health care providers and both Oxford and Oxford Brookes Universities.
The Bicester bid was secured through the innovative approach being undertaken at Elmsbrook, to create a place where sustainable and healthy living becomes the norm.  It will provide greater opportunities to assess and share the health and well-being benefits of living in an exemplary development and test new ways of delivering health services including patient-activated self-care, all of which can be applied to Bicester’s wider 13,000 home strategic growth.

More information about the Healthy New Towns programme in England at https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/healthy-new-towns/