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Ideas wanted following this year’s successful Didcot Garden Party

Over 1,200 people are estimated to have joined this year’s successful Didcot Garden Party to watch free performances, play cricket, football and rounders, and take part in skating sessions in Didcot and surrounding villages.  

To help families facing rising costs, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils hosted a series of fun, free performances, activities and sports events for residents to come along to and enjoy throughout the summer holidays. The events coincided with the publication of the district councils’ refocussed delivery plan for the garden town, which aims to help improve the lives of residents.

The events ran from 23 July to 31 August with over 1,000 people estimated to have attended the ten family friendly performances and arts activities at Cornerstone, which were themed around health, wellbeing and the environment. All the shows, such as Arbor – a story about a giant tree and The Rascally Diner – a show about food choices, took place in the courtyard area outside the arts centre.

Another 200 children, aged from five years to teenagers, got involved and learned how to perform new dance routines, brush up on their cricket, rounders and football skills, while others learned how to use a map and compass while taking part in Xplorer orienteering events. During the six-week programme, active sessions took place all over Didcot Garden Town including at the District Community Centre on Great Western Park, and at Edmonds and Ladygrove Parks. Free coaching sessions were also given to keen skateboarder and scooter newcomers to help them learn new moves and play entertaining games at Sutton Courtenay’s skatepark.

After such a successful summer programme, the councils want to hear from anyone who came along to attend one or more of their free events to tell them what they thought of a performance or activity they joined. Ideas on what new activities people would like to see in the future are also welcome.

People can provide their comments and ideas on a short survey available at up until 30 September.

Cllr Robin Bennett, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We’ve really loved putting on the free Didcot Garden Party performances and sports events again this summer to help people get active, get creative, and learn how they can help to tackle climate change. Being able to make use of the wonderful outdoor spaces available in and around Didcot was great. We hope everyone who took part enjoyed this summer’s activities, and we want to hear from residents and visitors on what other activities we can put on in the future.”

Cllr Judy Roberts, Cabinet Member for Development and Infrastructure at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Initial feedback has been really good so far, especially from some parents who struggled to find free enjoyable activities for their children during the summer holidays. If you came to one or more event, tell us what you thought about them. All ideas and feedback are welcome!”

Initial feedback shows that families from Didcot were the largest attendees to the events, and people from across South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse districts also came to watch performances in the courtyard at Cornerstone and take part in the sports and activities around the town.

Once the feedback from this year’s garden party has been gathered and presented to the Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board, the councils hope to use the information to develop next year’s garden party and other events in and around Didcot.