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3 October, 2018

Three ways students can make real change happen

Three young people, Emma, Ben and Mark, stand at the top of one of the 3 peaks.
Emma, Ben and Mark conquered the 3 Peaks Challenge

Welcome to Oxford! Whether you’re a returning student or a brand-new fresher, you’re probably busy enjoying all the city has to offer. You may have also noticed lots of people sleeping on the streets. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and hard to know what you can do to help. But every year passionate students volunteer and fundraise with us, making a real and lasting impact.

There are loads of ways to get involved with our work. Here are some suggestions to get you started; there’s something for everyone, no matter how little time or cash you have. Together we can support people out of homelessness.

Volunteer with us!

54% of UK bosses say they would be more likely to employ someone who had volunteered than someone who hadn’t.

The best way to see how great an impact you can have is to volunteer with us. We have lots of flexible opportunities to fit around your studies. You could:

  • Prepare and serve meals at O’Hanlon House, our 56 bed hostel
  • Help to sort winter donations at our storage facility
  • Get involved with our activities programme – help to run an existing session or set up your own e.g. technology lessons
  • Set up a donation welfare point – we need welfare items all year round, so why not set up a collection point? Keep an eye on our Amazon Wish List to see what we need.

You could even become a student ambassador for Homeless Oxfordshire. Representing the charity, you will help to change student’s perceptions of homelessness and bust myths surrounding homelessness.

We think our volunteers are amazing, but you’ll benefit too by:

  • Improving your employability skills
  • Using your free time in a rewarding way
  • Meeting new people

2. No time to volunteer? Spread the word!

Even if you can’t find the time to volunteer, maybe your friends can? Help us spread the word about our work to other students.

  • Follow us on social media; sharing our content on your own channels and/or posting to your university’s Facebook page is a great way to raise awareness of our services.
  • Nominate us as your Charity of the Year; whether through the uni, college or Raising and Giving society, being Charity of the Year helps us to support more people off the streets. We can help you with the application.

3. No spare cash? Fundraise!

Money raised by students helps us to be here for the people who need us most. It helps us to provide long-term support for individuals, from paying for nutritional meals to work-based skills courses to help someone back into employment.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Host a Big Sleepout; arrange a mass sleep out in a secure location
  • Hold a bake sale; show off your baking skills at your Student Union
  • Host a pub quiz; test your friends’ knowledge at your local pub
  • Challenge yourself; run, swim, cycle or climb, take part in a sponsored challenge
  • Or choose your own idea, no matter how big or small.

How your support helps

We are the largest provider of temporary accommodation for homeless people in the county. But we are more than bricks and mortar. We deliver support services within our hostel and community properties, to help people tackle the root causes of their homelessness and move forward. Last year we supported 550 people on their journeys out of homelessness. We could not do it without you.

What now?

So, what are you waiting for? Make a lasting impact while you study, get in touch with us; we’d love to hear your ideas!

Email or call us on 01865 304 697 for more information about how you can help.

Let’s work together to get people off the streets for good.

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