BEN Barford Environment Network

We are a friendly, informal group that looks for ways of greener living in our villages.

To join or learn more, contact John O’Brien:

B.E.N Barfords’ Environmental Network Charter, October 2021.  

Aims and Objectives: The network aims to communicate, share and facilitate sustainable initiatives, and a transition to net zero carbon living for all our communities within Barford St Michael and St John.  

Membership: The network is open to all residents and village-based businesses. It is a non-political, not for profit, community led group. There is currently no subscription for joining. A voluntary annual £10 donation towards costs of activities will be gratefully received.   The network encourages members to express and follow their areas of interest or expertise.   

Meetings: Meetings of the wider BEN network will be bi-monthly, initially online. The group also meet at the monthly Barford Village Market held in the Village Hall. Additional smaller interest groups and socials can be organised as needed.  

Aspirations: ·       To promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of resources within our villages. ·       

BEN aims to acquire and share information and knowledge across the network and to all the homes and families within our 2 villages for the benefit of all within our community.    ·       

BEN wants to work with the wider partners and existing organisations to help develop and implement and disseminate sustainable ideas and policies into change at local, grass root level. These include Hook Norton Low Carbon, DEN, Low Carbon Hub, Community Action Group Barfords’ Parish Council, Cherwell District and Oxfordshire County Council. ·       

BEN aims to support our residents to make decisions with independent information and research on how best to transfer towards sustainable living, preparing for future changes in policy and legislation.  


Helping our planet breathe.

John O’Brien – BEN

In 2021, we formed Barford Environment Network (BEN) inspired by the work of our friends at Deddington Environment Network (DEN).

Our aim is to support the communities of Barford St. Michael and Barford St. John to be able to access the advice, support, and funding available to make all aspects of our lives as sustainable as possible to reduce our resource use, carbon emissions. This will lessen the burden we are imposing on our planet, allowing it to breath and hopefully protecting it for younger generations and those yet to come.

We are hosting our first community evening

at 7pm on Thursday 3rd March

in the Barford St. Michael Village Hall,

postponed from January to allow the current COVID wave to pass. We’ll be joined by Dr Tim Lunel from The Low Carbon Hub, Oxford, who will explain how our homes and way of living can become more sustainable in 2022. You can also hear about The Oxford Artisan Distillery sustainable gin making and sample some of their excellent products when most of us will be past our dry January. Do come and join us.

We’ll also be hosting an online BEN meeting at 8pm on Thursday 17th March for those who are interested in joining our group to learn about how you can make a difference for our communities in 2022. Please email John O’Brien at e: if you’d like to join us for either meeting.

In addition, DEN have been running a heat pump trial in partnership with Project Leo, a cross sector energy trial project in Oxfordshire. They are interested in hearing from residents of Deddington or Duns Tew who are looking into installing a heat pump, and residents of Barford St. Michael and Barford St. John who have a heat pump already installed.

They are exploring how heat pumps can decarbonise heating in homes in rural communities – in the context of the development of a smarter, more localised, zero carbon energy system.

If you’re keen to install a heat pump, or already have one, they’d love to hear from you.

To take part, you need to:

  • Want to install a heat pump, or already have one
  • Agree for them to monitor and test your use of the heat pump through to June 2023

Joining the trial means you can access a range of benefits including a one-off payment of £300 and advice about optimising your heat pump installation and operation. If you are interested, you can sign up at  or by calling The Low Carbon Hub office on 01865 246 099.

And if you are interested in joining BEN do come and see us at the monthly market in the village Hall, where we have a stand or join us on 3rd March.

Happy New Year from everyone at BEN and best wishes for a safe 2022.

John is a member of BEN and DEN and lives in Barford St. John with his wife Anne and daughters Lois and Nikita.


Barford Environment Network (BEN) launches with an organic toast!

Barford Environment Network was launched with a community evening on Thursday March 3rd, 2022, at the village hall.

We were joined by Dr. Tim Lunel of Low Carbon Oxford and Hook Norton Low Carbon, Sam Thomas of Oxfordshire County Council and Edward Pickles of The Oxford Artisan Distillery and had a great turnout from the community.

Dr. Tim Lunel explained to us how we could make our homes more sustainable with the addition of better insulation and heat pumps. Sam Thomas explained the grant funding that is available for homes within our community that have an annual income of £30,000 or less and need help heating their homes. And finally, Edward Pickles shared with us the Oxford Artisan Distillery mission to work with local organic farms to grow their exclusive heritage grain to create their spirits. We finished with a tasting of their excellent vodka and gin.

BEN aims to communicate, share, and facilitate sustainable initiatives to support our community with transition towards net zero carbon for our Barford villages.

Membership is open to all residents and village-based businesses. We are non-political, not for profit, community led group.

Come and join us if you’d like to get involved, you can meet us at the Barford Market where we have a stall each month or by contacting John O’Brien on e: or t: 07711 032137.

You can view the slides from our launch event in the pdf below.