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Sanctuary Housing - Cherwell

Sanctuary Housing manages more than 5,400 homes in the Cherwell area of North Oxfordshire.

We have a wide range of homes available to rent or buy and are committed to providing quality homes and excellent services that meet the needs of the local community.

A Cherwell resident outside her home.

General rented housing provides affordable homes for people on low incomes. Our rented properties are available at lower rents than the open market.

If you would like to apply to live in a Sanctuary Housing home, please call us on 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511. If you’re already a Sanctuary Housing resident or live in one of our homes in a different area of the country, you may be able to transfer to us.

Change of circumstances

Should your circumstances change, please let us know by filling in the 'Change of Circumstances' section on our online form.

Sanctuary provides high quality schemes which benefit from a scheme manager service, allowing residents to live comfortably, securely and independently.

Residents have their own self-contained accommodation; services include a dedicated scheme manager responsible for the management of the building and communal areas, 24 hour in-house telecare service and a separate 24 hour phone line to report any repairs or raise enquiries.

For further information:

  • For further information about housing for older people in the Cherwell area, please call us on 0800 917 0092 or 0300 123 3599.

A young couple outside their home in Cherwell

Cherwell Community Award winners and guests

We were pleased to host our first ever Cherwell Community Awards; with a special ceremony presented by Banbury Sound’s breakfast show presenter Kirsty Leahy. The evening was a thank you to everyone who has given something back to the community and to our winners, nominees and those who helped make the awards evening memorable.

The midsummer themed ceremony at The Great Barn saw seven individuals and organisations rewarded with trophies for their dedication to the community.


Cherwell Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Community Achievement Award

For exceptional overall contribution to the local community and for encouraging community spirit and pride in the neighbourhood.

Winner: Gareth Jeremy (the Rotary Club of Banbury)


Cherwell Volunteer of the Year Award

Volunteer of the Year Award

For positive contribution to volunteering within the district and encouraging others to volunteer.

Winner: Kirsty Evans (OYAP Trust)



Cherwell Partnership Award

Partnership Award

For continuous effort to connect and work positively with other individuals, community groups and organisations in the area.

Winner:  The Hill Community Centre



Cherwell Sports Personality of the Year Award

Sports Personality of the Year Award

For working tirelessly to encourage participation in sports and fitness activities in the area for the benefit of the community.

Winner: Dave Earle (Spit n Sawdust Gym)


Cherwell Green Fingers Award

Green Fingers Award

For working to improve local green spaces and places for the enjoyment of others.

Winner: Banbury Community Action Group



Cherwell Most Innovative Community Project Award

Most Innovative Community Project Award

For the most innovative and inspirational community project within Cherwell District.

Winner: OYAP Trust



Cherwell Young Achievers Award

Young Achievers Award

For achieving wonderful things and carrying out activities to the benefit of the local community.

Winner: Billy Foster (from the Nicodemus Trust)

For more information, please contact the Cherwell Neighbourhood team at: cherwell.communityawards@sanctuary-housing.co.uk


Guests at the Cherwell Community Awards event

Sanctuary in neighbourhoods

Bretch Hill

Our approach to regeneration in Bretch Hill is about involving everyone with a positive interest in the neighbourhood: whether they rent from us or own their own home; whether they go to school in Bretch Hill, or run a business.

Members of the Vocal Band Choir performing on stage.

The choir was launched in 2011 by local resident Simon Hill, who runs a music production company. With the help of Sanctuary staff and financial support, the group has grown in numbers and welcomes people of all vocal abilities.

How we’ve helped

  • Funding from Sanctuary and partner organisations to cover room hire, equipment and CD production.
  • Staff have volunteered 10 hours of their time.


  • Choir attended by 15-20 members aged between five and 60-years-old each week.
  • Released a CD which has had tracks played on BBC Radio Oxford. Income raised by sales has been invested back into the community.
  • Improved intergenerational relationships in the community.
  • Members regularly volunteer their time to help the group flourish.

Family holding teddy bear plush toys.

Bobbie became involved with The Hill Youth Project after supporting her nephew get involved with activities in the area. After being made redundant, Bobbie began volunteering on a number of projects which eventually led to her getting a job at The Hill.

How we’ve helped

  • Sanctuary provided £22,000 to The Hill for a youth worker who then supported Bobbie.


  • Bobbie has volunteered for the past two years, contributing more than 250 hours of her time.
  • Bobbie helps run two football teams for youngsters aged between eight and 17-years-old.
  • Bobbie has been involved in the Pimp my Bike scheme to improve young people’s road safety.
  • Bobbie has also been involved with the Fixers project which has seen youngsters help regenerate the youth centre.

Barbeque at the Sunshine Centre.

The Sunshine Centre is based in the heart of Bretch Hill and offers residents a one-stop-shop for health services, education and community activities. More than 20 groups use the centre each week. The centre was refurbished in 2006 which has given the building a new lease of life.

How we’ve helped

  • Supported projects, including a support worker for victims of domestic violence.
  • Staff have volunteered 40 hours of their time.
  • Awarded £3,000 to support Job Club.
  • Provided funding for a new kitchen to support community events and group activities.


  • Up to 25 groups use the centre each week meaning around 700 people have access to activities and services.
  • Attained Children’s Centre and Learn Direct status.
  • Job Club attended by around 25 job seekers each week.
  • Plans to extend midwife services to provide antenatal education.


Our approach to investing in Cherwell is about involving everyone with a positive interest in the neighbourhood: whether they rent from us or own their own home; whether they go to school in Cherwell, or run a business.

A youth receives instruction whilst working with wood.

Restore works to train volunteers to become employment coaches and to give clients with mental health needs the encouragement to believe in their aspirations. Coaches work to build confidence, and to develop skills such as CV-writing and interview techniques.

How we’ve helped

  • £20,000 support from Sanctuary Group over 2 years.
  • 10 hours of Sanctuary staff time in 2014/15.


  • Development of Recovery College in co-production with Restore clients to support people with their self-care and recovery.
  • Developing partnerships between Restore and other local health organisations is providing a joint approach to mental health services.

Fred Riches plants crocuses in the garden

Fred Riches, a member of the rotary club of Banbury, has championed The World Health Organisation’s cause of eradicating polio by 2018. Fred has organised projects in Sanctuary Retirement Living schemes and involved children from local schools in events ranging from crocus planting to concerts. This project has been supported by Cherish Cherwell fund in the last 2 years.

How we’ve helped

  • £1,000 Sanctuary funding to the Rotary Club of Banbury for the Crocuses for Polio project.
  • 10 hours of Sanctuary staff time.
  • 500 hours of time from members of the Rotary Club of Banbury.


  • £5,000 raised in 2014 used to vaccinate children against polio, and Sanctuary Retirement Living schemes are now annually involved with fundraising and raising awareness through bulb planting.
  • Largest musical collaboration between Banbury Area Secondary schools to date at the Crocus Concerts, which has developed a basis for future generations.
  • Awareness raised in the wider community about the impact of polio in the developing world.

Children take part in the youth project

An independent charity since 2005, OYAP Trust’s artists and volunteers have worked with over 20,000 young people in Oxfordshire. In 2013, funding from Sanctuary’s Cherish Cherwell Fund and other local partners enabled OYAP to launch its Youth Action Team (YAT) project. Three YATs are based in Cherwell, encouraging young people to engage in positive social action and helping them to change perceptions about young people within their neighbourhoods.

How we’ve helped

  • £20,000 investment from Sanctuary Group to set up and run Youth Action Teams in Cherwell.
  • 15 hours of Sanctuary staff time.
  • Four Youth Action Teams have been set up: two in Bicester and one in both Bretch Hill and Grimsbury, Banbury.


  • Development of a variety of skills among young people including leadership and teamwork.
  • An enhanced sense of belonging to a neighbourhood for the young people and those who benefit from their community based activities.
  • Changing perceptions of young people by bringing together young people who have a strong sense of community and want to make a difference.

LoveSport - Activate Banbury

Young Banbury residents can get fit for the future through our Activate Banbury programme, which has kicked off until 31 March 2017.  See what's on offer below!

Love Sport logo

A range of exciting free sport and fitness sessions for 8-16 year olds are being delivered around Bretch Hill in partnership with Cherwell District Council's Recreation and Sport Activators.

Give it a go

Multi-Sport sessions take place twice a week, and youngsters can simply participate on a "turn up and play" basis.

Professional guest coaches from local sports clubs are also attending some of the sessions to provide their tips!

  • Day and time: Mondays 3.30-4.30pm
  • Venue: NOA Football (North Oxfordshire Academy Astro)
  • Day and time: Thursdays 5.45-7.15pm
  • Venue: Banbury Early Intervention Hub

Wheelchair dance sessions (PDF 396KB)

Love Sport Banbury inclusive wheelchair dance sessions

All available sessions can be found in our Love Sport Banbury Sessions Timetable (PDF 248KB).

Share your stories and get involved in the discussion. If you're taking part in an activity, tweet us @HelloSanctuary with a picture using the hashtag #LoveSport.

Find out more about Love Sport here.