Nature-based activities for children- a booklet of fun ideas for rain or shine.

A book packed full of amazing nature activities, we hope this booklet will help explorers of all ages have fun and learn outdoors. Learn three simple but super-useful knots, build a den, make a hammock, identify the footprints of common Oxford animals, make art from found objects  recognise familiar flowers, build a bug bedroom, identify some common insects and try out basic foraging. Or…its a bit wet outside, try the Rainy Day Bingo game.

The booklet introduces lots of fun activities to try out, rain or shine, with clear instructions alongside 80 beautiful illustrations by Stig. Perfect for a weekend outside.

In May this year we were happy to launch  Flo’s first in-house publication created by Victoria and Stig. Over fifty explorer packs were created and given to local families to encourage outdoor adventures, which are great for body and mind. This booklet makes a great gift and you can buy one for a donation in the refill shop, or download your own copy here.

You can  pick your copy at one of our Nature Explorers Sessions, or in the Refill shop or you can download your free copy right here: Download Outdoor Explorers booklet by Flo’s


Have you always wondered what goes on behind our fence? Now is your chance to see!

Come and join us for our next Open Day on

Friday 13th October from 9.30-10.30am!

As well as seeing the nursery, you will be able to visit our adventure session at The NaturEscape in the park (meet at the nursery and I will walk you over at about 10am).


We are so proud to be a CoOperative – run by and for local people working to make Florence Park and Cowley a better place to live,  meet, work, eat and play.

 In 2018, local people came together with the view to taking on the running of the former children’s centre after it was left empty. We wanted to bring back life to the centre and make it an inclusive, vibrant hub that was run by and for the community. We decided that setting up as a Co-Op  would mean there was a democratic and resilient way to run our organisation.

Why is Flo’s a CoOp?

We started Flo’s  to create a place that could be a central place for people in Cowley and Florence park to connect to each other and to nature. We wanted to respond to local needs, provide useful services, create change and create community! But to ensure that true power remained in the hands of  local people, we also needed to establish ourselves as an organisation that is not owned by any individual, but by the people who work, volunteer and live here.  Anyone can be a member of Flo’s  and this makes sure we are:

  • owned BY the community, FOR the community
  • A member-led organisation where local people can vote on how the CBS is run
  • All income generated flows back into our community – it keeps wealth local and creates real change. 

The legal status of the CBS protects Flo’s so that all income generated must be used for community use by law. You can join us and become a member too! 

CoOps local and global

There are a huge number of CoOperatives around the world– workers coops, housing coops, community coops. CoOperatives are owned by their members who democratically elect a leadership board and where all members vote on key decisions. It is a resilient form of doing business because it puts power into the hands of many. 

There are 10 values that all co-ops are based on

  1. Caring for others
  2. Democracy
  3. Equity
  4. Equality
  5. Honesty
  6. Openness
  7. Self help
  8. Self responsibility
  9. Solidarity
  10. Social responsibility

Inspiring CoOps around the country

There are loads of amazing CoOps big and small across the UK. Last week Flo’s were lucky enough to be invited to speak at the annual CoOps Congress- sharing how we raised £50,000 through community shares to open Flo’s. You can watch some of the inspiring speeches on their website here– for example hear the Shadow Minister for Leveling Up talking about why CoOps are an important part of putting power into the hands of  economy for a fairer future. 

Some of the brilliant and inspiring projects we met were:

There are also lots of CoOpS in Oxford too-  like CAG, Dragonfly and the Digital Commons Cooperative, as well as lots of organisaitons that support CoOps like CoOperatives UK, CoOps Future and the Owned By Oxford project.

At Flo’s Trading we want to do it all! 

We want to provide a lovely, inclusive, reasonably priced cafe and refill shop for our community. To support the best, local, greenest suppliers AND to support our staff properly with decent pay and training. We also want to provide a nurturing environment, which employs and supports those with otherwise limited opportunities, and contribute significantly to the running costs of the centre – inorder to keep it in community ownership, provide nursery meals at zero profit, and support OX4 food crew initiatives such as Pay as You Feel Mondays….. 

Can we do it all and survive? To be totally honest I really don’t know…. And if we can’t, what do we prioritise?  It feels like the odds are increasingly stacked against ethical independent businesses like ours with costs going up, staff faced with higher cost of living and recruitment a particular challenge in our sector. 

Unlike our competitors we haven’t had tens of thousands of pounds to invest in professional kitchen equipment or company training schemes or fancy marketing or refurbs. We dont push our staff to maximise every second of their time, or benefit from bulk buying procurement. Yet we HAVE to keep prices accessible.

In this season of hibernation and consolidation, tons of behind the scenes work is going on stringently analysing costs and deciding how to balance our uncompromising principles. Is our ambition of charging less but spending more than our competitors totally naive? Well, maybe. But the spirit of Flo’s runs strong in our blood ; the spirit that says just because it’s idealistic doesn’t make it impossible.  Our whole concept is idealistic – and don’t we need more idealism right now? We have achieved the seemingly impossible before, and we hope that by honouring our values and paying attention to the delicate balance of really caring about our people, we will find a way to have and to give it all.

If you have any requests, suggestions or expertise to offer Flo’s Trading we would love your support – please email

‘Every purchase you make at Flo’s allows the centre to flourish and plays an useful role in the community‘

Pippa Hamwee- Trading Manager at Flo’s, 2nd February 2023

The words and tune from ‘In the bleak midwinter’ are in my head.  The news is full of awful stories, the nights are long and cold.  So many people seem ill or depressed.  With the many ways in which news can reach us it is hard to switch off, and social media is full of opinions, judgement and anger.  Even the birds are suffering right now with avian flu!  The longest darkest night is right before Christmas – and this year even the moon will be dark on the Winter solstice.   

And yet there is beauty everywhere, and  I see people are doing small and big acts of kindness.  Our café at Flo’s is full of smiles and warmth.  The birds are appreciating bird feeders in gardens.  The winter sun shines a low reflected light that, if you can just get outside and notice, gives trees without leaves a special beauty.  Many of us are planning to surprise loved ones with gifts, or will be gatherings with good food on our table, raising our glasses. 

Our friends at Oxford Community Action are planning to provide a Christmas Day meal for those that would like to join.  No questions asked.  Anyone can come along. 

Or if you have no room at your table, or you have no table, it is easy to be included and include one more in your plans by making a donation.  By donating just £10 you will be sharing your Christmas dinner with others.   I just have.   It’s easy and takes just two minutes.  You can donate here. 

Annie  Davy, 20th December 2022


This week we were honoured and delighted that People, Place and Participation Ltd won the UK’s Social Enterprise Award of the Year in the category ‘Place-Based Enterprise’  for its work creating Flo’s – The Place in the Park.  It seems almost inconceivable now that our much loved and well used community enterprise hub, was just a twinkle in the eye of its founders 5 years ago when we persuaded Oxfordshire County Council to take a leap of faith and give over this building for use by the community for the community.  Over the course of the last 5 years we have grown a childcare nursery, a cafe and a ‘refill shop’ for basic foodstuffs.  Flo’s also houses the Isis community midwives team and hosts many other organisations, whilst working with others to deliver numerous community programmes for people facing barriers to accessing the support they need.  

Colleagues Makena Lohr, Communities Manager, and Candida March, Interim Director attended the award ceremony and accepted the trophy from the generous sponsors, The Esmée Fairburn Foundation.  Makena Lohr said: “We’re delighted to be recognised as the Place-Based Social Enterprise of the UK 2022.  Flo’s is the effort of local people coming together to make a difference in Cowley, Oxford – it’s an experiment in bringing together the local economy with providing vital community services … and its working.  A good example is that on Mondays, lunch & drinks at Flo’s cafe are on a “pay-what-you-can basis ”

Candida March, Interim Director, who was also the first person to be Chair of Flo’s, has seen its journey from the beginning.  She is care-taking the role of interim Director with support from Annie Davy, another founding member – whilst we look for the right person to take the organisation forward to its next phase.  We know this will be an important pivotal next step for the organisation. 

We have a talented team and we are very proud of what has been achieved. But we are acutely aware that there are many and growing needs in our community.  There is a 13-year life expectancy gap between some communities living in East Oxford (OX4) and the wealthier, better known parts of Oxford City.  There is real food insecurity and inequality and there are many families needing more support and  fairer chances to get the skills, jobs and health services they need.

This is the season to be grateful and we are particularly appreciative of the many other enterprises who have supported us, such as Aspire Oxfordshire who helped us in the early stages, and the support and solidarity of other enterprising local organisations such as Makespace, CAG Oxfordshire  and Oxfordshire Social Enterprise Partnership Our dual landlords, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, have also played their part, supporting where they can, and we have received funding and support from many organisations.  Without this support we would not have been able to achieve what we have.  The last four years have been an exciting journey for Flo’s and most of all we could not have done it without the support  of our local community – our members and volunteers, our team and board, and our customers  – who have given so much good will.  Thank you – we cannot be winners without a little (or a lot) help from our friends.










from Left to Right: Candida March- Interim Director, Makena Lohr- Communities Manager, Veda Harrison – Director of Creative, Confident Communities & a Fairer Future at Esmée Fairbairn Foundation