Dec 2017:'Tis the season to be jolly

Dec 2017:'Tis the season to be jolly

Christmas markets, bright lights, glitzy shops and snow have all been a  part of making Oxford’s Christmas a memorable one in 2017.  And as the year comes to an end we remember just a few of the highlights ...

We celebrated two anniversaries with our 90th birthday, followed by 40 years of the OPT Awards.

The kettle sang, the bubbly was poured, and the candles blown out on our giant birthday cake as we celebrated our 90 birthday with OPT our friends at the Painted Room.   It is heartening to look back on all that has been achieved over the years, and to look forward to all that we can make happen with all the support of our growing membership.  Today that ‘jewel in a sea of green’ talked about back in 1927 is still recognisable without holding back the inevitable and positive change that must happen in a living place.

The OPT Awards began to mark our 50 birthday and to see what’s been achieved with the scheme over the past 40 years makes us feel proud.  The awards celebrate positive regeneration in Oxford, whether the restoration of Oxford’s heritage or the creating of something new and exciting.  This year, the Oxford Times hosted 40 in 40 showcasing 40 years of winners, and inviting readers to vote for their favourite.  We were thrilled when the Oxford Castle Quarter was named as the winner, a site with a thousand years of history that is still relevant and loved by Oxford people today, indeed their favourite.   

And then this year’s Oxford Open Doors!  This was our favourite yet with over 90,000 visits to explore ‘Hidden Oxford’ and many smiling and happy faces as we all waited together as those magic doors opened for us and invited us in.  Once again we thank all of our venues and volunteers who help make this annual September event so memorable.

But 2017 wasn’t all celebrations, the team have been working hard every single day to deliver OPT’s mission of preservation and positive regeneration, to keep our city moving forward without losing the charm of its ancient buildings and its beautiful green setting.

The city and its surrounds will face great challenge in the years ahead with pressure to build tall, and to build outwards around the edges, eating into the green belt and exploring ways to build within the flood plain.  100,000 new houses are already planned and as the year came to an end the corridor from Oxford to Cambridge came into focus with the governments ideas for a further one million new homes.    Oxford is a wonderful place to live, it has world class universities, bringing some wonderful and very clever people to our place, people who are at the very heart of the UKs economy and future well-being.  How we can work with partners to ensure that Oxford remains the wonderful place that it is to live and work will be hard – but we will do our best.

As a charity, we couldn’t carry out this mission without our members and this is where we want to reflect the most.  Our members are the people who support our work through their generosity and we couldn’t do any of this without you.  Thank you.  

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2018

All the team at OPT.