A CHARITY that provides food, shelter, and well-being support to those who are homeless or vulnerably housed is asking for donations to help refurbish its new site.

The Porch, on Magdalen Road, has been supporting people across Oxford for the past 30 years, and over lockdown was providing meals to over 200 people each day.

Since the demand for its services almost tripled throughout the pandemic, it is now looking to refurbish its newly-purchased building so it can provide a safer setting and more support for those in need.

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Roger Lewins, building campaign manager at The Porch, said: “Food is just one of the things we do, and it is the most visible to the public.

“But we do a lot more welfare and mental health support, as well as employment support, with people on a one-to-one basis.”

Mr Lewins added: “We are currently doing this from a very cramped and old building on Magdalen Road - we’ve been here for a very long time and cannot provide all our services to our members, especially those who need wheelchairs.”

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In January 2020, the organisation decided to take over a former church, less than 100 yards away from its current building.

It hopes that it the new site can provide more people with meals, showers, and laundry facilities as well as expanding space to provide therapeutic services.

The new site will also have wheelchair lifts, meaning those with mobility issues will be able to access more of The Porch’s services.

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Mr Lewin said: “Covid has had a big effect on people, and unfortunately the knock-on effects of the pandemic will continue to trickle down for a long time, therefore, the demand for our services is expected to stay really high, which is why we need more support than ever.”

Due to the ongoing Covid crisis, The Porch lost a lot of financial support it would usually receive from funding programmes as their focus moved towards assisting the emergency response.

In the new building, there will be a larger dining area, two activity rooms, a quiet room, and women-only areas.

There will also be a computer room and a training kitchen to help The Porch’s members learn more skills that will help with employability.

Through crowdfunding, the charity raised £22,500 for a new kitchen, and has now extended its campaign to raise a further £18,500 for a platform lift for wheelchair users.

You can donate to The Porch by visiting crowdfunder.co.uk/allunderoneroof