Annual Report 2018

DRARA Events  Annual Report 2018 (Tamasin Lilwall and Clare Ridley)

DRARA events aim to provide opportunities for our community to come together to meet neighbours, build friendships and celebrate our community.

In line with discussions at last year’s AGM and the resulting DRARA’s priorities, we gave a particular focus to encourage and appeal to those who haven’t previously attended DRARA events, as well as to those living in our community who are bit more isolated and fancy coming along on their own.

  • To that end, Lazy Sundays at Restore was born – members of our community, meeting up for free tea and coffee, chat, board games, newspapers on occasional Sunday afternoons in Restore’s Garden Café.   These events, which have taken place roughly every month, have had great attendance, from DRARA residents; from those living here for many years to those new to our community; individuals and families; and a very wide range of ages.
  • Also, to support this aim of providing more regular get-togethers, DRARA in the Park returned, after a break in 2017 – the open air version of Lazy Sundays, held in our wonderful South Park a number of times over the spring/summer, has brought together people from across our community to play outdoor games, paint banners, and also sit and chat.
  • In the absence of a DRARA community centre, these provide our pop-up version, and we are really pleased with how these are developing and involving those who may not have attended DRARA events before.

In November, over 80 people pitted their wits at the DRARA Charity Quiz…. a great evening, which together with the raffle raised £330 for YoungDementia UK and £330 for Seesaw. A huge thank you to George, James, Jan and Pete for making it all happen.

In December, we held our first ever DRARA Living Advent Calendar.  Each day of December, another window in our community lit up with a unique display, and Clare released the clue by DRARA email to reveal the location.  By Christmas day, our DRARA community was dazzling with Advent Windows, topped off with trees into the DRARA area decorated beautifully by the environment group.

Just before Christmas, we all gathered in Little Minster for Mince Pies and Carols – this year as part of the Great Christmas Get Together – such a fantastic turnout, delicious mulled wine and mince pies and some wonderful singing!  Thank you to Victoria and Vanessa for leading on this once again.

Our bi-annual DRARA Freecycle days were held in March and September – a very useful opportunity to give unwanted items a new home and find some treasures.

Open Gardens is a much loved fixture in our DRARA events year, and in May, Rebecca, and her team of willing open gardeners, organised an amazing Open Gardens once again – beautiful weather, a really high turnout and an array of amazing gardens to inspire and delight.  Open Gardens ticket sales raised £420 for the Porch homelessness charity, and Nick’s garden teas and plant sales raised a further £501 for Oxfordshire Mind and A Place to Be.

Lovely weather and a great turnout for our DRARA Meal in the Street in June – all centred around our shared dinner, but with lots of other treats… the pool (thank you to the firemen!), Roz and Ingrid’s cake stall, Rebecca’s jams, the plant stall, face painting from Lucy, creation of shark hats with Tam and (definitely a first!) an on-site pizza oven where Gianluca and Fabiola created a seemingly endless stream of delicious pizzas!  The atmosphere definitely enhanced by our amazing array of DRARA resident musicians… Spinal Dad, Neville, Lucy and Paul, and the evening topped off with fireworks.  This is the biggest event of the year, and required much work for the events team in planning and on the day, hugely helped by many offering a hand on the day itself.  Special thanks to the residents of Minster Road, who hosted it once again (particularly George, Maggie, Paul, Mitch, Ron, Roz, Ingrid, Catriona, Rob).

Then the very next day, DRARA had its first ever presence in the Cowley Road Carnival Parade!  An enormous shark, inspired by the Headington Shark, created by Emma Boor in the lead up to the carnival, was then painted by Tam and Ron, decorated by an army of kids at the Meal in the Street (with added glittery inspiration from Emma!), and then paraded down the Cowley Road at the carnival!  We did DRARA proud – a great turn out to accompany the shark in the parade, and some wonderful shark children-eating drama lead by Clare and Emma.  Thanks must also go to Father Phil for letting us store (and paint!) the shark in the Church porch, Val and Annie Sloan for the paint, and to Paul for raising the idea of us joining the parade in the first place.

Meal in the Street raised £234 to support the wonderful Cowley Road Carnival. This was supplemented by DRARA to enable us to continue to donate the £250 so valued by Carnival.

Film in the Street didn’t take place this year, due to a number of logistical and resourcing issues, however as it was actually torrenting down on the night we had scheduled for the film, it turned out to be a fortuitous decision!  We very much hope this can return next year.

And finally, plans are currently underway for our autumnal gem – Warneford Meadow Apple Day, which we organise together with staff from the Warneford Hospital, and with essential apple-pressing assistance from Rupert Griffin (Tiddly Pommes).  Baking competition, apple pressing, fresh juice, conker competitions, tea and cakes – this promises yet again to be a lovely celebration of the very special meadow and community orchard.

It has been a busy year for DRARA events, the additions of Lazy Sunday and DRARA in the Park meaning that we have had an event in almost every month of the year!

It couldn’t happen without so much involvement from many individuals within our community who put much thought and effort into planning events, applying for licences, designing and printing posters, delivering flyers, displaying posters, storing equipment, helping on the day… and of course then coming along and joining in.  A special thank you must go to Deborah Tricker, once again, who provides a lot of support with events, particularly with printing and publicity, and to the church team, especially Rosy, for lending us tables and chairs.  Thank you too to our councillors Tom Hayes and Jamila Azad for your support.

2018/19 plans have already been made – we hope to repeat many of the successes of this year, and are always up for new ideas!  But to do this, we do need more people involved – especially with leading the specific events and publicity.  We will be holding a meeting of all those involved in DRARA events in November, to make plans for the year – we would love to see you if you would like to get more involved, in big or small ways!  Please contact Tamasin, events@drara.org.uk.

And a note from Clare… As this year ends, I will be stepping down in my job sharing with Tam on Events. I will continue to lead on the Freecycle and Advent events, support the communications and be a helpful pair of hands where possible! Over the past 4 years It has been a true pleasure to continue and evolve the fabulous events we put on for our community. I know that Tam with the support of Deb and the rest of the team next year will be brilliant.