I was delighted to visit the brilliant Sunshine Centre in Banbury today. I caught up with the Centre’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, John, and Centre Manager, Jill. It was great to hear more about the important work the charity has been carrying out to support the community throughout the pandemic.
Their outstanding Children’s Centre provides childcare for over 100 local children. I saw first-hand the fun and nurturing environment on offer for children. The Centre also run a number of activities for parents and early years to get involved in together, such as ‘Baby Massage’ and ‘Mini Movers’.
I was really interested to learn more about some of the courses on offer for parents, including self-esteem, antenatal and post-natal parenting classes. Jill told me about their very successful ‘Own Your Own Life’ programme, designed to help women who have been subjected to abuse to regain ownership of their lives. The Sunshine Centre stayed open throughout the pandemic. A superb team of volunteers provided food parcels to vulnerable residents during lockdowns. The Centre has now returned to operating a Community Larder which allows anyone to come in and collect food if they need it.
I was further pleased to hear about how the Centre is preparing to support any Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Banbury over the coming weeks. The team are determined to ensure that they can offer their full range of current services, as well as any additional support which might be required, to those fleeing this awful conflict.