OXFORD’S key workers and volunteers have remained resilient and continued to work hard to keep the city running throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

To thank the enormous list of people who work every day to help the community in Oxford, the city council commissioned a community artist Andrew 'Mani' Manson to paint a huge colourful mural.

The mural, right, is a celebration of all the city's key workers, from delivery drivers to nurses, care workers, police and binmen.

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It is due to be installed at Rose Hill Community Centre this week, but the painting has also been printed onto postcards with 9,000 delivered this week to tenants in city council homes across the city.

A further 1,000 will be added to food parcels.


On the rear of the postcard is a short message of thanks from councillor Susan Brown, the leader of the council. The message says: “Despite these difficult times, our communities have once again shown incredible strength and resilience.

“Across the city you have made sacrifices to keep people safe and have supported each other. I want to thank you all – together, we are Oxford.”

Joseph Barret is the council's hub co-coordinator at Rose Hill, which is one of five locality response hubs set up across the city with the help of Oxford Hub.

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This charity organisation normally runs youth and community programmes in the city, but during the pandemic, many of its volunteers have adapted their roles to help the vulnerable.

The Rose Hill Hub started to work with SOFEA, a Didcot-based surplus food charity, to distribute food to the most vulnerable. The Hub has also been making sure members of the community who are shielding are looked after and have their prescriptions and food delivered to them.

Mr Barret said the 'thank you' mural was great and reflected the community coming together.


He said: “Mani brings the community together with the work he does, we have supported the community with the resources we have, the community is supporting themselves by coming together and supporting their neighbours.

“I think with the perspective of Covid, the silver lining of such a terrible pandemic has meant that across the country people are now working much better together.”

Mark Chandler is the manager at the Oxford City Council contact centre which has been working behind the scenes with Oxford Hub to reach out to the vulnerable.

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Mr Chandler explained the team has been making calls to residents on the shielding list and those over 70 on the electoral register to make sure they are receiving the support they need. The contact centre then refers vulnerable residents to the Oxford Hub for help.

Since the help line opened on March 9, the team has answered nearly 4,000 calls and made 7,000 outbound calls to residents.

Key workers in Oxford Direct Services (ODS) – the city council's contracting arm – have continued to work throughout the pandemic, from staff keeping parks and green spaces open, to highway maintenance teams filling in potholes and keeping the roads safe and critical services such as bin collectors taking the rubbish.


Highways services have continued to work and taken advantage of the reduced traffic to make some repairs. Since lockdown began ODS has repaired 1531 highway defects, including 638 potholes, and completed 381 inspections.

The bins have continued to be collected throughout lockdown despite staff shortages, sickness, and huge adaptations to daily routine.

Maria Warner, waste and recycling services manager said: “The guys were working above and beyond when they were potentially concerned about their own safety.

“They were turning up every day exceptionally proud about what they were doing and the reaction they got from the public with the amount of lovely letters they had on the bins made them feel really appreciated.

“They wanted to continue to provide the service for the city, and nothing stopped."