OCF’s festive appeal to help homeless people in the city has received a brilliant public response, with £38,000 raised for Oxford Poverty Action Trust (OxPAT), to be matched pound for pound by OCF.
The match funding campaign was launched on 10th December, offering generous members of the public a 1:1 match on any donations to OxPAT until Sunday 6th January. OxPAT is a local charity with a 20-year history of giving funding to the key delivery organisations specialised in helping homeless people in Oxford.
The total of £76,000* will be distributed between nine different delivery partners who provide support with physical and mental health issues, access to benefits and accommodation, workplace skills and much more, bringing about lasting improvements and helping change people’s lives.
Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Paul Roberts, CEO of one of the beneficiary organisations Aspire Oxford, said the funding was vital to help organisations ‘to collectively respond to Oxfordshire’s growing homeless crisis’. He added: “The money raised will enable Aspire to support homeless people into employment, prevent vulnerable people from slipping into homelessness and support rough sleepers into secure housing.”
Jayne Woodley, Chief Executive at Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF), commented: “We’re delighted with the fantastic response to our Christmas Match Fund appeal to help homeless people in Oxford this winter, with many people donating online and as part of festive collections in the city. This proves what we knew already – that people in Oxford are compassionate and generous, and really want to help tackle this distressing problem.
“However, we want to make it easier for people to help – either by giving their money or their time. We feel our campaign has only scratched the surface of the potential to tackle homelessness in this city, and we want to reach every person with a desire to help. Oxford is not the only place affected by rough sleeping and homelessness, and there are many lessons to be learnt from successful projects in other cities and countries. So OCF will continue to work on this issue in 2019 – in particular through our partnership to tackle rough sleeping, currently known as the City Conversation.
“This partnership is linking up charities, businesses, councils, the police and the universities to come up with a city-wide response to homelessness, which will include more streamlined ways to give. The partnership is taking on board best practice from other places to do this, and encouraging more collaborative working between the different agencies.”
*Update at the end of January 2019: a final count of donations received by post and in OxPAT’s donation boxes brings the total raised to £43,000, plus some separate donations raised and matched by OCF. This means the total amount given to beneficiary charities will be £88,000.