A brief history
There are around 9 similar projects around the UK all based on the Bristol Reasons started by Joe Sims in Bristol.
Oxfordshire 500 began donating £500 a month on the 22nd November 2021. Since then we have given to the following listed below:
Be Free Young Carers who had a special Christmas party for 50 young carers.
A local family with small children who had got themselves into difficulties financially and with food/clothes etc.
A family who have a young son seriously ill with cancer. Parents have had to give up work to shield son so are struggling financially.
Help for 4 Afghan refugee families setting up in their own accommodation in Oxfordshire
4 families in need given access to food for 33 weeks through Sofea
Elderly couple who are struggling. She has cancer and he is her carer. Not enough money to eat properly or heat their house.
A single mother with three children. She has fibromyalgia and has had to stop work because of pain and mobility problems. She has been assessed for a disability payment but will not hear the outcome for 4 - 6 weeks.
Two donations this month. Mulberry Bush School who deal with children who have experienced extreme trauma and secondly an individual setting up home with nothing needing white goods and furnishings.
Our July donation has gone to a single mother who is having a hard time at the moment. She suffers from a chronic autoimmune illness and is unable to work. She is waiting for her benefits to come through but she is now behind in her rent and has barely any money to get through the next few weeks.
Two donations in August. One to a single mother living in a flat with two small boys. One of whom has ADHD. She is really struggling at the moment and the boys need new beds. The second donation has gone to someone who has been homeless but has just been given access to some accommodation. He has no recourse to public funds so needs help with furnishings and white goods.
Two donations in September. One to an individual who has worked hard to flee domestic abuse and work his way out of homelessness. He helps at the Gatehouse and never asks for help for himself but he is now falling into debt as his benefit support has been changed and he has to wait several weeks for payment. The other donation went to someone who is a client of Aspire. He worked as a carpenter but sadly now has become ill and is unable to cover his rent so this will tide him over until his benefits arrive.
Two donations in October. One to a CAB client who is a victim of domestic abuse and her ex partner smashed way into her property and caused considerable damage. Has no hoover, winter clothes or a TV. Very short of money. Our other donation went to a family with two small children nominated by Homestart. Mother is waiting for DBS check for a job but they need beds and clothes for the children.
November's donation went to 'Mary' who is caring for a friend's three young children whilst their mother is ill in hospital and their father is nowhere to be seen. She has three children of her own but not enough income to support them all. She has had to pawn some of her belongings for food and rent. She never complains but is very worried about their future.
Two donations in December. The first to a single mother fleeing an abusive relationship and her ex partner broke into her flat and destroyed her possessions. The second to a house in Oxford which cares for young and vulnerable mothers and their babies and pregnant young women who need a roof over their head. The house is in very bad repair.
Two donations in January. A mother who has been left with a 4 month old baby needing help until she can pay her way and secondly a victim of domestic abuse with 4 children under 12. Two of whom have been sexually abused. Needing help in setting up in new accommodation.
Two donations in February. The first to a family whose mother has suffered a brain aneuryrism and her two young children are being looked after by her partner who has had to give up his job and the second to another family where the mother has significant mental health difficulties and a neighbour is looking after her eleven year old daughter. She already has three children so money is very tight.
One donation in March to a single mother who has an autistic and non-verbal child. They are unable to communicate which leads to much frustration. A new communication iPad will help her and her daughter.
Two donations in April. Firstly someone who has had a lot of physical health problems and is homeless but has now been offered sheltered accommodation but needs funds for furniture and household essentials. Secondly a great aunt is caring for her eleven year old great nephew after his mother died from breast cancer at the end of 2022. She already has 3 young children of her own and is struggling to make ends meet. He has an elder sister in London but there is no money for him to go and see her so this money will fund his travel to London for the foreseeable future.
One donation in May to Flexicare which is a local Oxfordshire charity, operating since 1985. It provides respite for families who are otherwise in virtual 'lockdown' looking after severely disabled children. As other services have been progressively cut back Flexicare is an absolute lifeline to the many families with disabled and terminally ill children who depend on it. It mainly relies on donations and was very important in helping a friend of one of our members with her son, Benjamin: “As a family we will never ever forget Flexicare’s invaluable help. Knowing our son Ben was in the safest of hands, we could leave him, to do ordinary things like go out for a meal, or a walk, and once to go to a best friend’s wedding.”
Two donations in June. A family where the mother is struggling with her mental health and managing her finances. They are relying on food banks. Her 13 year old daughter has been diagnosed with leukaemia and her rehabilitation, after an induced coma, will be long and slow. The second donation went to the primary carer of two very small children. She has debilitating dyslexia but has taken on a part time job at the local pub to pay offer her arrears but she is limited in what she can do.
One donation in July went to twin 15 year old boys who were living with their mother but she has some serious drug and alcohol issues and the family were made homeless at the end of last year. The boys are being cared for under a non permanent arrangement with a family but the boys are very sociable and active and have a huge interst in boxing and rugby. This money will support the boys with their sporting intersts and also educational needs.
Two donations in August. Death threats have been received from her late sister’s husband. They were moved into housing in Abingdon in March 2023. They had very few possessions apart from clothing and a fridge. The child has asthma and PTSD and the client has a long term heart condition, joint/mobility problems along with other health issues, which leaves her unable to work and requiring a wheelchair on some occasions. There is crumbling flooring downstairs and only cardboard covering floorboards upstairs, both creating a lot of dust and causing problems for wheelchair use when needed. £500 would be a great help towards carpets. The second donation went to Tandem, a small charity, based in Oxford, run by volunteers that sets up one-to-one befriending partnerships with people who are experiencing periods of mental ill health.
Our donation in September went to Jacob who is 22. He has had a traumatic upbringing where his mother kept him living outside in a tent in her back garden, fed him alcohol at a very young age and treated him like an animal. He is now alcohol free, going to college 3 days a week and doing a construction course whilst completing his Maths and English GCSE's. He is wanting to learn to drive which the £500 would pay for, to enable him to have more opportunities for work out of Oxford.
We have given two donations this month. The first to a family for whom life is desperately difficult. They have a seriously disabled daughter in need of 24 hour care which is totally provided by her mother as father has early onset dementia. The second nominated by Homestart, to a family who are really struggling. They have very little support or furniture. All four of them are sleeping on the floor and the mother has poor mental health.