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Lottery puts Rose Hill back in bloom again
Buy this photo » Cooks, from left, Sadida Milak, Jamila Begum, Parveen Akhter, Shazia Rashid and Khamim Hussain. Below, front centre, with residents is Fran Gardner, the Rose Hill Community Worker for GreenSquare. Pictures: OX61665 Jon Lewis
ROSE HIll feels like a community again.
That is the view of one resident, two years on from the £361,714 lottery boost that was awarded to improve the area in 2011.
Now, with the five-year community programme in its second year, the estate is reaping the rewards of the cash injection through projects such as Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, community celebrations and the monthly health bus.
Rose Hill mum-of-three Stephanie Ballard, 26, who volunteers at Alice and Margaret House’s weekly lunch and whose children go to the youth club, said: “The lottery funding itself has made a massive impact because of the amount of things organised for the community.
“The youth club is priceless. A lot of children use it. It is so popular.
“It actually feels like a community again.
“There was a stage we went through in Rose Hill when we wouldn’t go out because it was too dangerous.
“I think it has brought everyone back together as a community.”
Because of the popularity of Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, an extra session will run from this month to accommodate the growing membership.
In the past year, the group has grown from 13 children aged six to 11 every week, to about 40, and it now has more than 60 registered members.
Thanks to lottery funding, hundreds of Rose Hill residents have enjoyed two community Christmas parties in The Oval and an Eid party last year.
Mum-of-two Hafsa Akkas, who works at Rose Hill and Littlemore Children’s Centre and is the leader of the Asian women’s group in the estate, said: “It has changed a lot because people know each other and there is lots of respect – whereas before people would walk round with their own things to do.”
Ms Akkas, who lived in Rose Hill before moving to Headington, said: “It is quite nice getting the whole community together.”
A health bus, a mobile clinic offering free check-ups with a nurse once a month in The Oval, also visits thanks to lottery cash.
Before its arrival, the nearest health centre for residents was Donnington Health Centre in Henley Road.
After the success of the initiative there is now a permanent health clinic proposed in the city council’s new £3m Rose Hill Community Centre, which is planned for Ashhurst Way.
Fran Gardner, a Rose Hill community worker running the scheme on behalf of the lottery, said: “Having the health bus come to the estate monthly has increased opportunities for residents to access health professionals and services.
“On three occasions, the nurse has diagnosed dangerously high blood pressure in a patient accessing the health bus and we have immediately been able to get the person to their GP.”
At the last count, 387 adults and 377 children had benefited from health services as a result of the project and 112 adults had said that they would not have sought medical advice if it had not been for the health bus.
Flu jabs will also be offered this year thanks to the success of the bus.
In another initiative, the lottery cash has been used to fund fitness and gym sessions for women and a slimming club this year.
Ms Gardner said: “Many residents are unable to afford to attend fitness classes or the gym and these weekly sessions make such a difference to so many women in particular.”
The cash also saved the Asian lunch service in Rose Hill, which faced closure for lack of funding earlier this year.
The scheme relies on volunteers dedicating their time – amounting to more than 1,200 hours between December 2012 and July 2013. A total of 62 volunteers regularly help out with projects.
Volunteer Jamie Clark, 26, who works on Rose Hill News and at the junior youth club, said: “People are talking to each other again and there are lots of different things going on and the future is looking bright.”
Ms Gardner said: “There is no doubt that lottery funding can change lives for the better.
“We are able through our work on Rose Hill to give people better chances in life with their health, well-being, skills and confidence.
“We can react to people’s needs whatever their age and support them accordingly.
“Already, as we near the end of year two, we can see and feel a difference – people smile and are so positive about the project and want to take part. It’s great and very rewarding.”
- The health bus will be offering flu jabs to Rose Hill residents on Wednesday, October 16, from 10am to 12pm. Patients with Donnington Health Centre can book to have their flu jab on the bus.
Fran Gardner said: “I am really delighted that the Donnington practice has decided to offer flu jabs right here on the estate.
“Many people would not otherwise go and get this vital protection because it would mean another trip to the surgery. It’s great news.”
How Asian lunch found recipe for success.
ROSE Hill’s popular Asian lunch was saved by lottery cash when it faced closure earlier this year. The lottery-funded Rose Hill Regeneration Project now helps to cover the cost of ingredients at £30 a week.
This meant the lunch could continue this year, having run at Rose Hill Children’s Centre in Ashhurst Way every Thursday for seven years.
Cooks Khamim Hussain, Shazia Rashid and Sadida Milak prepare traditional recipes including curries.
Friend Parveen Akhtar acts as an interpreter and helper.
Ms Akhtar, 39, of Iffley Road, said: “It is very nice. The money has helped.”
More than 40 adults and children attend every week.
The £2.50 lunches are offered from noon every Thursday.
Classes pack a punch.
FREE exercise classes were set up earlier this year. And they proved so popular that an extra class was set up a week after the launch in February.
About 20 people attended the first lottery-funded class at Rose Hill Community Centre, so the class was divided into two.
Boxercise participant and mum-of-four Lubna Mahmoud, 46, who lives in Littlemore, but used to live in Rose Hill, said: “The lottery funding is really helpful.
“The class helps people to do exercise, to look after yourself and to meet people.”
The free sessions will start again at the end of this month, although the date is yet to be confirmed.
For more information and to book a place, call or text Fran Gardner on 07770 324277.
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