The Porch has been providing freshly cooked meals, showers and a wide range of support to homeless and vulnerably housed people in Oxford for over 30 years. We are proud to be part of a network of crucial services in the city and we are unique in providing cooked lunches, showers and each of our services all under one roof. Demand for our services has nearly tripled during the lockdown periods - we are now serving about 200 fresh meals daily alongside other types of help on mental health, welfare and employment.
Our existing Porch building is ageing and cramped and could not meet the growing demand for our services, even before Covid. Desperately in need of a larger space, in January 2020 we purchased a former church just 100 yards away. This much larger building will help us provide many more people with meals, showers and laundry facilities and will mean we can expand our range of therapeutic services and support. It will help us meet increasing demand and the new challenges of Covid and its fallout – the need for safety indoors and the social and economic impact in the coming years.
Keys to the new building - "from house to hall!" (Photo: Oxford Mail)
The Porch has worked with our service users (members) and architects to design a complete refurbishment of our new building with the vision to create a vibrant local hub for day services here in Oxford.
The new building will provide a safer setting, a much larger dining area, additional showers and washing machines, a quiet room and women-only areas, in addition to two activity rooms, computer room and a training kitchen. Crucially, all our services and facilities will now be wheelchair accessible for the first time. We have chosen the best value plan for the refurbishment and have made good progress raising the funds, but now we need your help too.
In these difficult times, more people than ever need our help. We have been asked to expand our service through the Covid pandemic and now support about triple the number of vulnerable people we would normally expect. Unfortunately, most national funders have put on hold funding to large projects such as ours. We are grateful to all those that have supported our plan to date but we need a further £270,000 to finish the refurbishment and fully open up and run all our services from the new church building.
Despite Covid and this tough funding climate, we have been using the new building as much as we can – providing cooked lunches and evening meals at the door and, for our rough-sleeping members, showers, laundry and meals inside in a Covid-secure setting. On Christmas day, we served 45 Christmas lunches in the building but the January lockdown has halted our activity at the new site for the time being. We are now back in the old building - providing meals from our front door and delivering to temporary accommodation across the city.
We would like you to help us raise the funds needed for our new kitchen and training area because this is such a key part of what we do. We have already gratefully received donations of dining chairs, tables and catering equipment but we still need to raise £22,500 to complete our new design which – excitingly - includes space for catering training for our members.
By donating you will also be helping us kick-start extra funding from grant-giving bodies in spring and summer 2021 – making sure we open fully as soon as possible. We know it’s a hard time for everyone at the moment but any donation you provide will go a long way to helping others in the city.
And, if we are fortunate enough to meet this first target, any extra funds will then go towards putting in a platform lift – the first stage in making all our new services fully wheelchair accessible - and getting us closer to our overall target as soon as possible.
By donating you will be helping us set up the new Porch building for the future - a vibrant local hub, providing wheelchair accessible...
- lunches & evening meals
- showers & laundry
- advice, support, training
- counselling … uniquely, in Oxford, all under one roof!
What our members say about us … their own words (and hands!)
“When I come into The Porch, I’m never made to feel like I’m homeless.” (member since 2019)
“When I first came to The Porch I was low, but now I feel more confidence. The Porch is like the family I never had.” (member since 2018)
“The Porch has meant survival! I feel fulfilled and have gained knowledge from the older members and their experiences” (member since 2018)
“The Porch means to me “relief” in my moment of need” (member since 2014)
From Jon, Guy, Lorraine, Kizzie, Rachel, Lesley, Alex and the rest of the team at The Porch...
Click here for more about the work of The Porch and our exciting plans for the new building.