There have been no changes to the OARA constitution during 2015. The membership card scheme introduced in 2O12 was retained in 2015 as was the £3.00 minimum annual fee. Card-holders are entitled to various discounts negotiated with local stores. Holding a card is not mandatory for membership which was and continues to be based on residence within the OARA area. Membership fees of £449.O0 (£452.50 in 2014) were collected during the year. The OARA Committee membership was elected for the year to 31 December 2015 at the AGM on 20 April 2015. There have been three ordinary general meetings and eight committee meetings during 2015′ Membership of the Committee and minutes of all meetings are available on the OARA website at:

During 2015, the Greening Group has concentrated on maintaining the planters in Avenue Road and Alma Road and the cut-through from Gordon Ave to Westwood Road. lt also gained permission to plant and maintain a border in Clifford Dibben Mews; the preparation and initial planting for this was funded from a Waitrose Community Grant. The Group has also supplied a number of planted half barrels sited on various property frontages without full front gardens. Some have been co’ funded by landlords. The Group plans to complete its signature tree planting project during 2016.

A fourth ‘Big Lunch’ street party event was held in the summer. OARA also held a ‘get to know each other soup party in October for residents and students. The weather was kind to both events. A Christmas party was held at the Guide Dog Public House. All three events were well attended and benefitted from live music from locally based bands including the Ukofonics. OARA has organised twice-monthly litter collections around the area throughout the year to improve the appearance of
the streets. The local police Community unit has continued to support OARA, but changes in personnel and base have meant they attended fewer OARA meetings. OARA has taken a keen interest in local planning issues, but these have not had financial implications in the accounts.

The Common Ground charter developed by OARA in 2014 aims to maintain the positive aspects of the area to make it a better place for all to live through the identification and promotion of common values amongst residents, local businesses, landlords and the students and others who rent their properties. One landlord has made donations to OARA in return for members keeping the bins of his houses tidy, and OARA hopes that other landlords may follow suit in 2015.

ln 2013 OARA launched the Bevois Mount History Group which has produced calendars for 2015 and 2015 with historic photos and pictures of the area. Its current project is to raise funds to finance a locally themed mural on the side wall of “Bitter Virtue”. The Group’s Facebook page may be found at:

OARA starts its sixth year of operation and will agree its priorities for 2016 at the AGM on 26 January 2016. OARA has now built up sufficient reserves to allow it to consider making bids for grants which require some match-funding.

Andrew Haslehurst,

The accounts can be viewed in the PDF accompanying this article.