A CHRISTMAS Match Fund to help rough sleepers in Oxford has already raised thousands of pounds.

Between Sunday, December 1 and Monday, January 6, Oxfordshire Community Foundation is pledging to match any donation to Oxford Homeless Movement, a partnership of organisations working to ensure no one has to sleep rough on the streets.

A target of £150,000 has been set for the match fund, which is running for the second year, with the backing of the Oxford Mail.

Oxford Mail:

Now organisers have revealed that John Lewis department store and the Westgate Centre have stepped in to make donations of an undisclosed amount.

READ AGAIN: £150,000 Christmas Match Fund target to help rough sleepers

Jane Cranston, chairwoman of Oxford Homeless Movement, said: “Since the Christmas Match Fund opened on Sunday we’ve raised over £6,000 and donations are starting to come through strongly.

“ I’d like to thank everyone who has donated so far and also the Westgate Fund and John Lewis & Partners for their contribution to the match fund.

“What we’re aiming for is a whole city response to the rough sleeping crisis, so please donate and the generous Christmas Match Fund will double the difference your help will make.”

Last year the match fund raised nearly £90,000 for the city’s homeless charities.

OCF’s pledge to ‘double the difference’ will apply to both one-off and repeat donations during the Christmas period.

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When eligible for Gift Aid, a typical £30 donation will be worth £67 to beneficiaries of the match fund.

Staff from employment charity Aspire Oxford and other homelessness agencies are backing the match fund.

OCF has been a major local grant donor since 1995, working to improve the lives of the county’s most disadvantaged people.

Last year OCF awarded more than £1.2m in grants and this year has funded more than 1,300 groups to date.

Oxford Homeless Movement was officially launched in October, bringing together groups and agencies working to tackle homelessness.

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The rough sleeper problem has got worse in recent years and the city council has responded by spending millions of pounds in a bid to combat the issue.

More than £3m has been spent on Matilda House, a new homeless shelter in Rymers Lane, which opened in September.

Oxford Mail:

And good progress is being made on the refurbishment of the former job centre in Floyds Row, off St Aldates.

The new facility for rough sleepers is costing about £1.8m and is expected to open in the new year.

Visit oxfordhomelessmovement.org.uk/donate