Estate fun day tells of a happy Leys ever after

Eight-year-old friends Allise Watson and Chamarly Jackson

Eight-year-old friends Allise Watson and Chamarly Jackson

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

THE BEST of life on Oxford’s biggest estate was on show at a fun day for neighbours. More than 500 people – including grandparents, youngsters, mums and dads – got together for the event at the Leys Community Centre.

The event on Saturday showcased the work of Blackbird Leys groups based at the centre and was organised by Oxford City Council ’s community development team.

Alev Kilinc, 32, of Acacia Avenue, was there with her two daughters Yezda, three, and Zerya, six.

She said: “It’s a good event and we enjoyed it. It’s nice to meet your neighbours.”

A copy of the mosaic marking 50 years of the estate took pride of place at the event after it was installed on the wall of the centre earlier last week.

The original mosaic, which was unveiled five years ago, had to be taken down last year due to weather damage and it is now being pieced back together.

Council officer Val Churchill said: “This event is about bringing people together and the opportunity to have some fun. It’s to make people smile and mingle.

“It’s a really good estate and there are some lovely people. We are celebrating that.”

The Your Community, Your Centre, Get Involved afternoon included a bouncy castle, refreshments, and entertainment and displays from local groups.

Mandy Ishola-Falomo, 39, of Blackbird Leys Road, said: “I am new to the estate so this has been a perfect way to meet some neighbours and get to know more about the place. It’s a great community event.”

East Oxford MP Andrew Smith told the Oxford Mail: “Events like this are so important in bringing the community together and bringing out what a strong community Blackbird Leys is.

“And it shows what community organisations we have her and how much good will there is here too.

“It’s a great area. Days like this celebrate that.”

His wife Val, estate city councillor, said: “It’s great to have the centre open so that everyone can see what we do and what a good community it is here in Blackbird Leys.”

Community centre manager Jayne Watson, 45, of Acacia Avenue, also praised the event, adding: “It’s wonderful. It shows all the good in the community.”

Pcso James Kachellek, of the Blackbird Leys police neighbourhood team, handed out leaflets and freebies.

He said: “It’s a brilliant community event.”

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