2017 here we come. Why not start the new year afresh by taking up some do-gooding resolutions? There are so many interesting and inspiring activities to try in Oxford. We've picked out a selection that could help improve your life and the lives of those around you.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Get fit: that old mantra always muttered forlornly this time of year. Getting into shape doesn’t have to be a trial, however. There are lots of ways to slim down (or beef up) while having fun – especially in Oxford. For those who enjoy dancing, Salsa Oxford runs weekly classes in the Old Firestation. Group sessions are always social and have a range of abilities, and for those really looking to set the floor alight there is one-to-one tuition available on request. Salsa Oxford also runs twice weekly Zumba nights, just in case you needed even more Latin rhythm in your life.
If you’re bursting to get outside, maybe the Ramblers are the right fit for you. This nationwide charity helps set up social walks in and around local areas, and they have a particularly vibrant Oxford branch. There are ten different walking groups across the county, with special sessions for kids, young adults and serious hikers. Perfect for those who like a natter as they trek. If you need to up the pace, however, try Park Run Oxford. Park Run is a timed 5km run hosted in loads of cities through out the country. In Oxford, the local race kicks off at 9am every Saturday in Cutteslowe, and is open to all ages and speeds. The race is always social event and a great way to meet other people trying to get fit!
Photo Credit: Richard Penn
Arts, Crafts & Culture
Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to pick up a new skill? If so, Oxford – cultured city that it is – has a whole host of workshops, courses, talks and events for you to get stuck into. To get really clued up on the world of art history, you can’t do much better than attend one of the Ashmolean’s monthly workshops. These day-long courses are held by world experts and provide in-depth analysis of some of the gallery’s great works. The next session takes place on January 26th and explores the vibrant brushwork of John Constable.
Equally, you could produce your own masterpieces with Lisa Jayne Art Studios. Lisa Jayne Bloomer is an artist and teacher with over 15 years experience, and she and her team of instructors provide an array of courses on painting and drawing for adults and kids. Classes run week to week, or you can cram all your creativity into a whole day session. An arty alternative is offered by Illyria Pottery. This much-loved ceramics boutique also holds workshops, primed to teach you handbuilding and wheel-throwing techniques. Truly the pick for those looking to get their hands dirty!
Photo Credit: Lisa Jayne Art Studio
Volunteering & Charity Work
A great way to have a good year is by doing good – and Oxford offers lots of opportunities to make volunteering your New Year’s resolution. For the green-fingered among you, why not dig up OxGrow. This community garden resides on Hogacre common and is dedicated to educating about food growing. There are group sessions every weekend for you to learn as you grow, and special seasonal events occur regularly throughout the year. Maybe you prefer prepping food to planting it? Oxford Community Dinners might be the dish you are looking for. Community Dinners supplies free meals for any who want to attend, rotating between churches in the Oxford area. You can volunteer by serving on the day or pre-preparing your own hearty feasts.
Age UK Oxfordshire offers another great way to get charitable. This organisation connects volunteers to elderly members of the society, facilitating lots of activities you can engage with and support. You might end up giving a computer skills tutorial, or even assisting an exercise class. There are lots to ways to get involved, and helping out can lead to learning skills and gaining qualifications.