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Help for people experiencing rough sleeping this Christmas

Partners in the Oxford Homeless Movement are providing services for people experiencing homelessness over the Christmas period.

Festive events include a number of Christmas lunches and parties, with services also continuing to provide food and hot drinks for homeless and vulnerably housed people.

Christmas meals and parties

The Oxford Community Soup Kitchen – more commonly known as Ma Smith’s – held its Christmas lunch yesterday (Wednesday 18 December).

Yesterday evening, Aspire held a Place at the Table festive dinner at Yarnton Nursery for the people it supports who are facing homelessness, poverty and disadvantage. It provided people with a hot meal, company and a Christmas gift, as well as the opportunity for them to get specialist housing and employment support from Aspire.

“I spent a lovely evening with Aspire staff and guests and a number of volunteers who kindly gave up their time to help make the event go smoothly. The atmosphere was brilliant, everyone was so relaxed and there was lots of laughter whilst eating the delicious meal served by Yarnton Nursery. This was a memorable event and showed the amazing relationships that have been built up. I was delighted to be there representing the Oxford Homeless Movement partnership.

Looking forward to attending Monday’s Christmas party with Oxford Homeless Project at the Asian Cultural Centre.”

Yvonne Pinner, Project Manager Oxford Homeless Movement

Next week, Oxford Homeless Project is holding two events in East Oxford. On Monday 23 December it will hold a Christmas party at the Asian Cultural Centre, starting at noon. On Christmas Day it will host a Christmas lunch at East Oxford Community Centre between 1pm and 5pm.

On Christmas Eve Crisis Skylight is holding a breakfast for people sleeping rough at 40 George Street between 9.30am and 11.30am. This is part of a programme of holiday activities that includes trips, games and wellbeing days.

For the third year, the Oxford Christmas Lunch will take place in the King’s Centre in Osney between 12.30pm and 4pm. This provides food and companionship for more than 500 people and is available to anyone.

Services open during bank holidays

The Bonn Square hub is open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Crisis Skylight is open from 9am to 1pm on Christmas Eve and from 9am to 4.30pm on New Year’s Eve. It is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The Gatehouse is open from 5pm to 7pm on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. It is closed on Christmas Day.

Day services at O’Hanlon House are open from 10am until 3pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve

Luther Street surgery will open normally from 8am to 6.30 pm except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The outreach and assessment team, OxSPOT, is running a normal service between 9am and 5pm except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The Porch day centre is open from noon to 4pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Turning Point is open from 9am to 2pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

“I encountered a lot of homeless people during my career in London. There are complex reasons for homelessness and sometimes it was just two or three bits of bad luck together. It’s good to acknowledge that I’ve been fortunate and to give something back to the community. I enjoy cooking and volunteering as a chef for Crisis, this is just my small part in a much bigger effort to help people back on their feet.”

Stuart Rushworth, retired police inspector and volunteer chef at Crisis Skylight Oxford this Christmas

“Christmas is a time of celebration and Oxford’s charities and community groups work hard to make sure homeless and vulnerably housed people aren’t left out in the cold. Everybody can do something to help and it’s not too late. Why not visit our website and see how you could give your time, money or help in kind to people experiencing rough sleeping this Christmas?

“This Christmas we’re aiming to raise £150,000 for charities helping people sleeping rough and to deliver new services to prevent and reduce rough sleeping. If you agree with us that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford, please give what you can and Oxfordshire Community Foundation will double your donation.”

Jane Cranston, chair of Oxford Homeless Movement

How you can help with Oxford Homeless Movement

Oxford Homeless Movement is a partnership of the many organisations working to ensure that nobody has to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford. It is hoping to raise £150,000 for charities helping people rough sleeping and to deliver new services reducing homelessness.

Between Sunday 1 December and Monday 6 January, Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) is pledging to match any donation to Oxford Homeless Movement through a Christmas match fund.

OCF’s pledge to double the difference will apply to one-off and repeat donations made during the Christmas period. When eligible for Gift Aid, a typical £30 donation will be worth £67.50 to beneficiaries of the Christmas Match Fund.

You can donate online at www.oxfordhomelessmovement.org.uk/donate

or by sending a cheque to:

Oxford Homeless Movement
PO Box 941
Oxford OX1 9TQ