FAMILIES in Wood Farm flocked to a “safe space” created to give people somewhere to go on the estate on a Friday night.

The gathering at Wood Farm Children’s Centre was part of Holy Trinity Church’s outreach work in the area.

About 60 people enjoyed free meals, spent time playing games with their families and met church workers, police officers and neighbours.

The Rev Alastair Wood, from the church in Headington Quarry, said: “The aim is to provide a safe space for people of all ages, particularly young families, to come and have their evening meal with us and to enjoy getting to know each other, building community spirit, sorting out problems, doing activities and having some fun time together.”

The pilot event took place for the first time before Christmas, and last week’s session marked the beginning of a regular event on the last Friday of each month from 5pm to 7pm.

A hot meal – tortilla wraps, stir fry, baked beans, cheese and oven chips on this occasion – is provided free along with activities. On Friday police officers organised pancake day-themed activities, while at the pilot evening families made giant puppets.

Mr Wood described the atmosphere as “friendly and fun”.

He said: “There were a few folk chatting to PCSOs about concerns they have in the neighbourhood, while we were talking to some of our young mums who were about to have babies and one or two were talking about having their children baptised.”

He stressed that although the event was organised by the church, it was open to all and the focus was on being a community together.

He said: “We identified there were quite a few people who hadn’t got anything to do on a Friday evening, there are very few community facilities in Wood Farm and the only pub on the edge of Wood Farm has just closed down.

“I think the atmosphere has been very good. People have remarked on how lovely it’s been at the end of a busy week to come and have a meal, and have kids involved with various activities. Then when they get home they go straight to bed and the adults can chill and relax.”