PEOPLE who want to help rough sleepers this Christmas can double the difference their money will make by donating to Oxford Poverty Action Trust.

In a campaign backed by the Oxford Mail, Oxfordshire Community Foundation will match any donation to OxPAT through its Christmas Match Fund, from today until Sunday, January 6.

Cash from this fund will go to nine agencies, including Aspire, The Porch and Simon House, to directly help the homeless in Oxfordshire.

Rough sleeping has increased dramatically in recent years and on any night there could be more than 100 people sleeping on city streets.


Oxford Mail:

OxPAT is a charitable trust which operates with the full support of the city council and offers an alternative to giving money directly to rough sleepers.

OCF will give £1 for every £1 donated via OxPAT's website, or city centre collection boxes, with OCF matching donations up to £50,000, and organisers are hopeful that a total of £100,000 could be raised.

READ AGAIN: 'Bold and brave' solution needed to tackle homelessness in Oxford

Last month the council, which has won about £1m from the Government's Rough Sleeper Initiative to provide extra beds this winter and next, pledged to seek funding to ensure winter-long beds were provided for all rough sleepers by next winter.

Welcoming the new fundraising drive, city council leader Susan Brown said: "We know that people who live in and visit Oxford want to help rough sleepers, and this Christmas you can give even more by donating to homeless charities through OCF’s Christmas Match Fund with OxPAT.

"By giving to OxPAT rather than directly to individuals on the street, you can be sure that your money will provide the support needed to help people rebuild their lives.

“We welcome OCF’s generous pledge to match fund your donation, and I would urge anyone who wants to help rough sleepers to donate to OxPAT this Christmas."

Oxford Mail:

OxPAT distributes the money it receives to core agencies providing welfare services, rehabilitation, accommodation and training and education to help people off the streets and to rebuild their lives.

This year, its nine core beneficiaries are Aspire Oxford, Crisis Skylight Oxford, Elmore Community Services, Emmaus Oxford, Homeless Oxfordshire, Oxford Street Population Outreach Team, The Porch Day Centre, Simon House, and SMART/CJS (Howard House).

Jayne Woodley, chief executive of Oxfordshire Community Foundation, said: "The disturbing sight of people sleeping on the streets is just the tip of the iceberg – and here at OCF we believe we can do better.

"We believe everyone deserves the dignity of a place to call home. We have chosen to partner with OxPAT because they have been working in the city for over 20 years, offering a tried and tested alternative to giving money directly to people on the streets."

Paul Roberts, chief executive officer of Aspire Oxford, said: "There's nothing wrong with being compassionate - giving the homeless some hot food, for example.

"But if you are going to give money then it is much better directed through OxPAT, as it will go directly to agencies which can help in a more structured way.

"Aspire works with other agencies to get homeless people back into accommodation so that they can start rebuilding their lives and navigates them to the services they need."

The council is providing up to 215 beds for Oxford rough sleepers this winter, including 41 new spaces funded by the Government’s temporary Rough Sleeper Initiative. The council has won up to £1m in RSI funding to provide extra beds and services this winter and next.

RSI funding means the council is spending more than £2m in tackling rough sleeping in 2018/2019.

On top of this, a group of Oxford churches will open 20 beds every night from New Year until the end of March, through the Oxford Winter Night Shelter.

READ AGAIN: New homeless hub opens in Oxford vity centre.

Rev Mary Gurr, the city's homeless chaplain, said earlier that five extra churches were joining seven already involved in the project.

During prolonged freezing weather, the council will also activate its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol and open extra spaces for any rough sleeper who wants to come inside.

The council is also working with OCF and local homelessness organisations to develop a citywide rough sleeping partnership, with the aim of ensuring that no-one should have to sleep rough in Oxford.

The partnership is expecting to launch a rough sleeping charter and website in early 2019.

OxPAT was set up in 1996 with the aim of supporting local good causes that help homeless and vulnerably housed people.

READ AGAIN: Churches step up efforts to help Oxford homeless.

Where a donation is eligible for Gift Aid, this means a £10 initial donation will be worth £22.50 to Oxford homelessness charities.

  • You can make a Christmas Match Fund donation to OxPAT on the Charities Aid Foundation website HERE
  • More information about what the council does to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping is at