JUST one pound can put a meal on the table for a homeless person in the city this Christmas.

With funding cuts to Oxford largest homeless charities, the Oxford Mail is appealing for readers to help change the lives of those without a roof over their head at this special time of year.

The cash donated will help staff at Oxford Homeless Pathways, a charity supporting rough sleepers for more than 30 years, continue to provide their expert support.

Donate here 

Jason James, a support worker at O’Hanlon House, told the Oxford Mail how a present at Christmas could make all the difference in turning lives around.

The 37-year-old, who was homeless himself for about 15 years, said he was living proof of services provided by the likes of OxHop worked.

Oxford Mail:

Support worker Jason James

He added: “People at this time of year think about family.

“Every homeless person has their own story and some may not be able to see their family or feel embarrassed to. 

“We are passionate about supporting people here. I’m passionate about helping people.

“Just giving someone a meal or a present can make a difference. When I received one, it was so nice someone thought about me. It can make people feel cared about and make them feel that they have something worth living for.”

With the bite of ‘devastating’ government cuts poised to take a huge chunk out of the charity’s services, staff and volunteers have called on the people of Oxford for support to try to raise as much as possible over the festive period.

The message is simple – together we can save lives, we can change lives and we can rebuild lives.

WHAT does Oxford Homeless Pathways provide?

  • O’Hanlon House: A 56-bed hostel in the centre of Oxford that provides 24 hour support.
  • Julian Housing, a variety of supported housing in the community, with over 150 units of accommodation in 28 properties in Oxford and Abingdon.
  • Oxford Homeless Medical Fund, which raises donations to support welfare, educational and medical services for homeless people in Oxford, and also runs a volunteering service to help the homeless attend health care and other appointments.

New chief executive of the charity, Claire Dowan, has launched a crowdfunding page together with the Oxford Mail for members of the public to help fund a range of items from a hot meal costing £1 to 10 sleeping bags and roll mats costing £250.

She said the people and businesses of Oxford could make a real difference to the lives of the homeless, as the charity looks to maintain its current level of accommodation in light of funding reductions.

Ms Dowan said: “OxHop is a charity working with local people who are homeless and it’s a charity in our community.

“As a society collectively, we have a responsibility to look after vulnerable people in Oxford and we recognise there are homeless people that need our support, especially a this difficult time of year.

“We have to make sure we are available when people feel more lonely, isolated and suffer the elements more.”

Ms Dowan said the fundraising campaign was not just getting people to donate money, but to show them where their cash is spent in providing services to the homeless.

She added: “A person can see that they can pay £1 and provide a hot meal, but also can see they can provide a kettle for someone who is moving on from the pathway.

“It allows people who donate to see the impact of their funding, which is really important.”

The launch of the campaign comes after concerns were raised that a homeless ‘epidemic’ will hit Oxfordshire due to the closure to two of county’s largest shelter providers.

Last month, Oxfordshire County Council announced more than 200 beds for the homeless would go when Simon House Hostel in Paradise Street and OxHop accommodation Julian Housing in Collins Street are ‘decommissioned’ by April 2018 because of £1.5m cuts over the next three years.

It means 154 out of 286 beds in the county will be still be scrapped – despite the county council, all five district councils, and the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group chipping in to provide £2.94m until 2019.

For charity OxHop, the cuts mean 83 beds it provides through Julian Housing accommodation in Oxford are at risk of closure in 2017.

Ms Dowan said she hoped the campaign and a new fundraising team hitting the ground in the new year could ease the blow.

She added volunteers at the charity made a ‘huge difference’ to continue services.

She said: “We are all aware that central government funding is decreasing on a backdrop where a need for homeless services is ever increasing.

“We are working hard to develop a new management strategy, improve our fundraising and raising our profile to tell people about the good work that we do.

“There are no promises. I do not know whether we are going to be able to provide these 83 beds, but we are working hard to do that.”


  • Hot meal: £1 to provide someone with a hot meal each day. OxHop provides food for up to 80 homeless people each day, and their kitchen is run almost entirely by volunteers.
  • Towel: £5 can ensure someone a towel when they come into our building, so they can have a hot shower.
  • Kettle: £12 can ensure someone has a kettle when they move in, for that well earned first cup of tea in their new home.
  • Bedding: £30 could buy someone a new set of single bedding for their room in either O'Hanlon House, Julian Housing, or even for their own independent home.
  • Gym access: £50 can pay for five people to have access to a local gym.
  • Construction skills certificate scheme: £100 can pay for five people to get qualified via the Construction Skills Certification Scheme. Anyone who wants to step foot onto a construction site must have this qualification.
  • Sleeping bags and roll mats: £250 can supply sleeping bags and roll mats for 10 rough sleepers 
  • Computers: £500 could buy two computers to be used for IT training, CV writing, and job applications.

To donate visit the crowdfunding page here